Shrink Sleeves Deadline: Solving a Time-to-Market Problem

The Challenge

LUX Global Label was asked to help one of its largest customers meet a tight deadline with shrink sleeves due to the customer’s incumbent supplier running into supply constraints.

As a personal care company, Edgewell is home to some of the biggest brands in the industry including Edge, Schick, Banana Boat, and Hawaiian Tropics. A customer since 2019, Edgewell grew to become the third-largest customer for LUX Global Label due to its need for high-quality pressure sensitive labels, extended content labels (ECLs), and shrink sleeves.

In late September 2021, Edgewell contacted LUX to produce shrink sleeves needed by Oct. 27 in order for Edgewell to meet a retailer delivery date. Edgewell’s incumbent supplier couldn’t deliver. The task was further complicated by the fact that Edgewell did not have material or heat-activated adhesive specified for the needed product. Also impacting potential solutions was the estimated 16-week lead time for shrink sleeve material due to supply chain issues.

Edgewell was facing a hard shrink sleeves deadline and did not have the material or heat-activated adhesive spec for the product.

The Solution

LUX Global Label relied on collaborative engagement to get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible. Engagement between the LUX and Edgewell technical teams, the LUX sales team, and the Edgewell procurement team relied on multiple communication sessions per week. The solution was quickly outlined into three main components, all of which needed to be completed and ready to ship in a five-week window:

  1. Reverse engineer the sleeving material used by the previous sup plier to find out what it was and find an alternative
  2. Design and develop the right kind of heat-activated adhesive to apply to the material
  3. Engineer a manufacturing solution to avoid production issues

The first step was to conduct extensive internal testing on the material, ink, and heat-activated adhesive compatibility. The previous supplier had a material in place, but not specs for the material. This material needed to be tested to identify those specs and then LUX needed to develop an alternative that performed at the same level.

Edgewell was battling quality issues in addition to supply concerns. It was seeking a shrink sleeve material with a similar shrink curve to the material used for other product lines to add consistency to the overall process and cut down on change-over time on production lines. Opening a second source of supply for shrink sleeve material was important as well.

Once the material was identified, the proper heat-activated adhesive was tested for compatibility and implemented. An appropriate coefficient of friction was essential as the dry adhesive (that would be later heat activated) needed to be low enough to avoid production issues.

Finally, LUX Global Label worked with Edgewell to specifically pattern the application of the adhesive in such a way that it would not interfere with mechanical elements in application. Edgewell used wheels and rollers to force down labels onto the product container. The adhesive was applied to avoid interacting with these elements and thus avoid jams or breakdowns in the assembly process.

LUX Global Label tapped into its inventory management programs to get access to the needed materials in order to complete the project — despite the supply chain challenges of the time — and meet the shrink sleeves deadline.

The Result

Thanks to the collaborative effort of all involved and substantial internal testing, LUX Global Label sent trial samples to Edgewell by Oct. 8 for an initial application trial. The labels were approved.

Production labels were delivered to Edgewell on Oct. 27, and the LUX technical team was on-site for a production run on Oct. 28. With only five weeks to deliver a commercialized product, LUX Global Label enabled Edgewell to deliver to the retailer on schedule.

This is just one example of our organization-wide commitment to finding label solutions for our customers in personal care and other industries, while also finding opportunities to reduce operating costs and enhance production. Edgewell has developed into the third-largest customer for LUX Global Label — in just three years — with nearly 300 SKUs in place. Faced with a demanding situation, Edgewell relied on LUX’s expertise, sense of urgency, and collaborative effort to get the job done.

If your organization is staring down a shrink sleeves deadline or similar challenge, our team is ready to support your success.

Connect with us today to learn more about our capabilities.