Western Shield Label.

Author:Katz, Steve
Position::Companies to Watch - Company overview
 
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Western Shield Label, located in Rancho Dominguez, CA, USA, is a company well worth watching. Since a change in ownership in 2001, the company's annual sales figures have jumped from $3.25 million to $6.5 million. These figures point to a label company that is clearly making good business decisions.

The origins of Western Shield date to 1970, when a disgruntled label broker decided to buy a press and go into business for himself. During its earlier years, food labels were the primary market for Western Shield's business, along with some labels for various commodities and textiles. In 2001, the investment group Alpine Holdings purchased the company. It was also around this time that Frank Connelly was appointed Western Shield's president, and the company entered a period of terrific growth, which endures today.

Western Shield, in its 17,000 square foot plant, employs 27 people and works two shifts. While maintaining a strong foothold in the food market, the company has found recent success in the health and beauty, beverage and nutraceuticals sectors. "We've branched out by getting into some higher value adds," Connelly says. "We're running a lot more film," Connelly says. We've branched out by getting into some higher value added products, like expanded content labels and some unique coupon constructions."

The company has two Mark Andy presses--an eight color 2200 and a 10 color LP3000 with a screen unit. Two rotary presses, a six and a seven color, round out the arsenal. Post press, the company has five rewinders--three Arpecos and two Mark Andy VSRs. Connelly points to the acquisition of a DuPont Cyrel FAST plate making system two years ago as a beneficial investment. "This system gives us exceptional plate quality with great speed and reliability. In addition, it has allowed us to eliminate approximately $60,000 in chemistry from our process on an annual basis," he says.

While the company has found success in certain niche markets, Western Shield isn't content to rest on its laurels. "We want to diversify into some other markets. We'd like to do more with beverage and security items in particular," Connelly says. "We're also getting into some interesting small...

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