Simplifying Complex Cylinder Label Changes

Solutions for M&A activity and regulatory compliance updates

As most of our gas consumers recover to 100% productivity again, ‘go-to production’ timelines become more challenging when supplies do not arrive in time before they have already scheduled their production runs. And as gas consumers and manufacturers scale up production again, knowing supplier lead times become much more crucial. Relying on JIT (Just-In-Time) supply chain today is becoming a huge challenge. Late supplier deliveries are starting to impact both time and material allocations and their limited warehouse space among other issues for manufacturers. In turn, affecting their bottom-line.

So how does this relate to Gas Suppliers & Distributors? Because most of these types of vertical markets are gas consumers relating to welding gases, CO2 carbonation, food preservation, and ingredient extraction solutions, etc.

With more expected stop/start demand growth from both the industrial manufacturers and medical gas customers for the next couple of years, the higher the supplier delivery demand will be for most aspects of the compressed gas industry. This includes core gas supplies, accessory parts, plant equipment, and related services. And with higher industrial manufacturing demand, it could mean that gas suppliers and distributors will need to buy more bulk supplies up front to help offset high demand. The point here, is that business processes and operations efficiency become even
more important, no matter the size of the company for both gas suppliers and distributors in this new era.

One way Label Solutions has approached this ‘efficiency’ need to help the gas industry, is by offering our new ProofPRO Artwork Approval Service. ProofPRO is a cloud-based cylinder label artwork approval service that allows the compressed gas industry the ability to streamline complex branding and/or regulatory compliant artwork approvals from multiple remote departments or third party contractors… no matter if they are located at remote offices in North America or around the globe.

Designed for both gas suppliers and distributors, this free service is offered exclusively by Label Solutions to help simplify the overall label approval process, ensure quality control, improve departmental approval accountability, increases fill-plant production efficiency, and reduce label material waste. One important benefit to using ProofPRO is that it allows either one or up to five prioritized label artwork approvers to view, modify, notate, and visually proof each cylinder label from remote locations via web browser link to a password protected portal.

Users can view each artwork file electronically. Including label content, color gamut related to their branding guidelines, and manage OSHA and DOT regulatory compliant related content changes for each industrial and/or medical cylinder label. The same approval process can be applied to larger wide-format signage such as upright bulk tank signage and
fleet signage.

ProofPro Explained Graphic

ProofPRO can archive user notation and comments to ensure accuracy and approver accountability. What is more, notes and approval dates can be retrieved at request for
historical reporting to ProofPRO authorized users.

Another example of a benefit in today’s compressed gas industry includes M&A (Merger & Acquisition) Transitions. If the gas industry continues to consolidate, corporations can begin their rebranding initiatives based on merger or acquisition deadlines prior to (or soon after) their public announcement. This ProofPRO solution can include the ‘acquiring’ company’s marketing team planning their new branding on the ‘purchased’ company’s tanks, cylinders, and bulk tank signage much more efficiently and sometimes even faster if planned correctly.

For example, the M&A project leader can include up to four (4) additional artwork approvers. This can include individuals from the M&A transition team, regulatory compliance departments (industrial or medical), language translation contractor, and/or C-Level marketing management headquartered in Europe.

The efficiency behind this solution is that the project leader can prioritize approvers, auto-send approval reminders to their other approvers to help ensure completing due dates. Also, if newly branded labels need to be tested before a large production run can be scheduled, the project leader will be notified via email that their last approver has completed the artwork approval. The project leader can then contact Label Solutions to get a more accurate lead-time date to schedule future production line testing or go-ahead place their order of the newly branded labels to replace the inventory at the acquired locations.

This not only helps our customers during the label approval process, but it also benefits Label Solutions too because it builds a safety factor between last-minute changes from the customer and our production team… so we do not produce the labels too early. Thus, helping Label Solutions reduce any unnecessary material waste. Since this is a ‘win-win for both Label Solutions and their customers, it is one of the reasons why we do not charge for this service.

Other examples of how ProofPRO works are listed in the (Figure 1) diagram above. Understanding how this can be used can be extremely beneficial for ProofPRO users. This can be as simple as only one person streamlining their artwork approval or have the capability to invite other departments that are associated to the contents of a more complex cylinder label when necessary.

Compliance Related Artwork

A list of customer advantages using ProofPRO can be found on the diagram. Some of the key advantages include better overall material handling, more consistent supplier deliveries, and can often help minimize Supply Chain late delivery fees. Customers in other industries using ProofPRO continue to find new ways that benefit their production times such as rebranding projects, working with third party marketing firms, and for private labeling applications.


Rob Freeman is the Vice-President of Revenue Operations at Label Solutions Inc., which specializes in producing product labels for the compressed gas industry, industrial manufacturers, food and beverage, health and wellness, and nutraceutical markets. Rob manages Label Solutions’ Marketing, Business Development, and Customer Service departments, as well as their key accounts in North America.

Tea Product Labels & Planning: Tricks of the Trade

I had the opportunity to be one of the speakers at the 2021 World Tea Conference & Expo last month. It was my first time attending the show, and I have to say I was very impressed. Obviously, it was great to be back in Las Vegas around a big crowd again, but this conference certainly had a unique spark to it that I have not seen with other industry trade shows in years.

Attendees were hungry for more business-related information, and they were excited to network with one another once again. In fact, the attendee questions that were asked during my presentation were spot-on given the crazy times we’re all experiencing today.

Being from the label printing industry, I presented “best practices” about planning your product labels for tea producers and their co-manufacturers. The name of the presentation was called “Product Label Planning in the New Era,” in which I discussed some of the most common label issues that I see in the field, and how the label industry typically helps resolve those problems.

At the end of the presentation, I shared a few interesting, new marketing trends and ideas that I have been noticing from several of my beverage label customers related to tea, coffee, craft beer and CBD-infused blends. After my presentation, I opened-up the discussion for questions.

Below are just four of the key areas that I covered in the presentation – and discussed in-depth with attendees – that are worth mentioning:

1. Lead Times and Quality Control – I took a poll of the audience to find out some of their most common problems they were experiencing from their current label suppliers. Their answers: Lead-times and quality control issues seemed to be the major concerns about their labels.

The audience also indicated they are starting to see some supply chain disruption related to their bottles, lids, containers and ingredients, which will sometimes delay their own production times.

If your tea business continually notices increasing lead-times from your label supplier, start preparing for (temperature controlled) warehouse space for your product labels, or you can request to have labels produced in advance from your label supplier and have them shipped that day to help avoid further production delays.

2. Design & Development of Product Labels – Another important topic at World Tea 2021 included understanding how to plan the design and development of your product labels. Most brands know their product label is the “face” of their product at the POS, but typically marketing talent and their production teams do not communicate enough together to design “efficient” labels.

Cost of label material used, speed of production line factors, and planning scalability for future retail growth is often overlooked. It’s important to understand your company’s scalability limits. Meaning, know how your entire production team can adapt to increasing demand without taking excessive financial risk. Try to find your own production “efficiencies” with your label supplier.

3. Maximizing Efficiency – Knowing how to maximize efficiency when reordering your product labels and managing your inventory (no matter how small or large of a business you own or operate) is key. Depending on how strict your branding guidelines are, being flexible enough to slightly adjust your label sizes for your initial SKU order can be a huge cost saver on the long-term. Your ongoing reorders would remain that adjusted size, so you will still have ongoing brand consistency at the POS.

What’s more, as you begin to increase label order quantities, it can greatly affect how your products are produced. Maximizing the width of the label supplier’s printing presses is essential. And having the flexibility to adjust your label size to fit the best production width is a key part of developing a strong relationship with your label supplier.

4. Building a Backup Strategy Around Future Supply Chain Disruptions – Being prepared for supply chain disruption is key in today’s economy. Don’t rely on JIT (Just in Time) delivery, but instead try to allocate at least one to two production runs in your inventory. Also, stay proactive by testing a backup label material during slow production times, so that you aren’t rushed at the time when you are faced with a fast-track delivery deadline. Not testing alternative materials on your production equipment in advance always backfires at the worst times.

Another key point during the presentation was about a new innovation that label suppliers have recently started using called online artwork approval systems. This browser-based technology has been around for several years, where you receive an email link to click-to-view and approve your label artwork via a web browser.

And now recent developments are allowing label printing companies to offer a lot more value-added services behind the product labels they produce. For example, the company I represent, Label Solutions Inc., released its new customized ProofPRO artwork approval system to accommodate for either a simple one-person approval process, or to allow the primary approver to easily request additional individuals to be part of the approval process for different areas of the label – such as branding guidelines, regulatory compliance, language translation, etc. This new format can be used for more complex product label designs, rebranding multiple product SKUs at the same time, and/or to expedite M&A (Merger & Acquisition) transition between two company brands.

These online artwork approval systems are also ideal for tea producers when they have the need to quickly expand into new retail territories and/or scale up their private label business as they work with their own customers’ branding guidelines. What’s more, these artwork approval systems can be applied to larger wide-format signage such as retail promotional signage, tradeshow banners, food truck signage, and fleet signage.

Rob Freeman is the vice president of revenue operations at Label Solutions, Inc., where they specialize in producing product labels for various industries, including the food and beverage, health and wellness and nutraceutical markets, among others. Freeman manages Label Solutions’ marketing, business development and customer service departments, as well as their key accounts in North America. With over 20+ years of proven success in consultative sales, channel management, and technical writing for various industries, Freeman offers leadership experience to help guide manufacturers, marketing firms and businesses to develop creative “solution-based” strategies that help accelerate sales and improve brand loyalty. Label Solutions, Inc. is a certified WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) based in Missouri. To learn more about the company, visit

Label Solutions Recaps the World Tea Expo 2021

Questex hosted the World Tea Conference + Expo, the world’s leading specialty tea event, in Las Vegas from June 28 to 30, and the show was a HUGE success!

Rob Freeman, our very own vice president of revenue operations, was honored to give a presentation about tricks of the trade for tea product labels and planning for stakeholders in the tea industry.

The event was co-located with Nightclub & Bar Show [which is evolving to Bar & Restaurant Expo], and the combined events attracted more than 8,700 attendees. Programs ranged from in-depth educational sessions and workshops to tastings and new product demonstrations for the tea industry. Everyone took advantage of many networking opportunities over the three-day event.

Related Post: Get the Right Labels to Show Off Your Tea Products

Thank You, Questex!

Questex, a major bar and restaurant industry group, welcomed tea enthusiasts and tea industry stakeholders from all over the world to Las Vegas.

Tim McLucas, vice president of Bar & Restaurant Group, Questex, said, “We’re delighted that we were able to gather and welcome the global tea industry to Las Vegas after a challenging year. It was exciting to see the tea community reunite face-to-face. Their eagerness for being back to business – and their enthusiasm for seeing industry friends and colleagues – was profound. We look forward to evolving the World Tea Conference + Expo for next year’s event, where there will be more unique opportunities and experiences to engage, interact and conduct business. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s program a resounding success.”

Our Reaction to Such a Wonderful Event

Rob Freeman, vice president of revenue operations at Label Solutions, Inc., an attendee and speaker, noted, “There was a lot of excitement at the World Tea Conference + Expo this year. What a fantastic event! Business owners and suppliers alike were there to do some serious networking. I was impressed with the audience’s high-caliber questions that were asked during my presentation. Given the latest trends, the tea Industry still has the potential for serious future growth. I definitely want to be part of this show next year.”

Related Post: Label Solutions Is Heading to the World Tea Expo! See Us There!

Label Solutions Looks Forward to Serving You!

Label Solutions is proud to serve the tea industry. Do you need labels for your tea packaging? We can help you with beautiful labels that exemplify your brand while adhering properly to meet your exact specifications. Contact Label Solutions or call 1.800.299.9200 for more information.

If you would like, you can download Rob Freeman’s presentation to the World Tea Expo here [Add the presentation here.] He discusses product label planning in the new era. It’s a free copy of the Label Presentation at WTE 2021.

We look forward to attending the World Tea Expo March 21 to 23, 2022, in Las Vegas! See you there!

What Is IWDC? Why Is Label Solutions a Member of This Organization?

Label Solutions is a proud member of the Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative (IWDC). Why do we value this relationship? We explain in today’s blog.

History of the IWDC

Back in 1948, two enterprising individuals sent letters to 40 independent welding distributors on the West Coast. A total of 15 companies joined the Independent Welding Distributors Association (I.W.D.A.) in 1948 in Nevada as a way to control costs and make their work more effective and able to compete with larger companies with more resources.

What Is the IWDC?

Members support the IWDC for purchasing and marketing. The idea here is that buying in bulk leads to lower costs for independent welders in the United States. This allows our members to compete with larger companies and chains that have greater purchasing power. Label Solutions fully supports this initiative, as we value relationships with welders of any size who need compressed gas cylinder labels.

The IWDC has more than 800 members with $2.9 billion worth of retail sales. The organization fosters over 180 vendor agreements so independent welders can buy the supplies they need at lower costs.

Warehouse Program

One beauty of IWDC is the warehouse program. The organization owns two distribution centers from which members can buy items they need, whether your company needs compressed gas cylinders and gases or welding wire and new torches.

Where Label Solutions Comes In

Label Solutions specializes in compressed gas cylinder labels. We are proud to work with IWDC members that manufacture these cylinders to give them the best prices possible while maintaining quality. We have proprietary labels, like our Tag on a Roll or Clean-Peel systems, that make managing your cylinders easier while complying with federal regulations. We also pride ourselves on having valuable relationships with fellow IWDC vendors and members.

Label Solutions Can Help IWDC Members 

Do you need quality, compliant labels for your compressed gas cylinders? We offer competitive pricing on compressed gas cylinder labels for IWDC members and can produce labels as needed to fit your requirements. Need fast turnaround times? We can expedite printing, too.  Contact Label Solutions online or call toll-free 1-800-299-9200 to partner with us for your next production run.

Did You Enjoy IWDC This Year? Label Solutions Recaps the Trade Show

Did you see Label Solutions at IWDC 2021 this year? Kathy and Amanda met a lot of you at Booth 34 (right in between John Tillman and Sonoco). Label Solutions recaps the 2021 version of the IWDC Sales and Purchasing show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at this magic-themed convention.

Opening Reception

The opening reception was fantastic at the lovely MGM Grand. We mingled with the best of the best of the IWDC world! We were proud to join 25 other vendors on the show floor the next day. Thank you to all of the sponsors for such a lovely evening.

Workshops & Presentations

In addition to meeting everyone, the workshops and presentations were outstanding. 

The IWDC warehouse program continues to be a vital part of the welding industry. We got to hear exactly what’s coming next and how we can help your warehousing needs with time-sensitive label solutions.

We also got to see some new products from ESAB and Weldmark that could be revolutionizing automated plasma systems for decades to come. 

The independent owners talked about the pressing issues of their day, including how to move forward after the COVID-19 pandemic eases.

Magical Time

It was always fun to run into Alex Ramon, who was walking through the show and performing some of his signature sleight-of-hand tricks. He’s just as great up close and in person as he is on stage! Thank you for your ability to work a crowd!

Building Relationships

The most important aspect of the IWDC Sales & Purchasing convention centers on the relationships we made at the show. We value each and every one of you, and we’ll deliver on your compressed gas cylinders labels as best as we can.

How Can Label Solutions Help You?

Label Solutions is a proud member of IWDC, and we take pride in our innovative compressed gas cylinder labels that comply with federal regulations and help your welding company. We showcased our Tags on a Roll labels at IWDC 2021 this year!

Need more information? Contact Label Solutions today, and we’ll get back to you!