Challenges faced by label buyers in today’s market

According to independent research commissioned by Piroto in 2021, label buyers are facing a complex set of challenges in their working lives that reach far beyond Covid and Brexit.

A series of anonymous, in-depth interviews with technical managers, operations managers and buyers across various industry sectors sought to identify the issues that keep them up at night.

Wide job role remit

Typically, those surveyed told our researcher that they are dealing with a very wide portfolio of responsibilities. Whilst they are clearly extremely knowledgeable about their own operations, they claim not to be experts in labelling.

Operations managers agreed that they rely on support from Piroto to provide the best possible labelling solution for the job in hand.

Dealing with multiple product lines and suppliers

Most respondents told us that they are responsible for managing multiple suppliers across categories such as labels & tags, packaging, safety equipment, machinery and much more. In any one month, our customers may deal with 50-100 different suppliers, in addition to all their other responsibilities.

One respondent summed it up when they said,

‘I deal with multiple suppliers and I’m not an expert in labelling. I rely on my suppliers and their expertise in their field to support me’.

Time poor

A common theme across all job titles and industry sectors is lack of time. Respondents therefore seek to save time and improve efficiency wherever possible. They value working in partnership, especially where suppliers take ownership of some key processes such as stock control.

Good communication, on the customers’ terms, is also seen as an important part of the customer/supplier relationships.

Cost control

It isn’t surprising to find that controlling costs is a challenge facing most of our customers, regardless of industry sector. Even before the widespread rise in raw material and energy prices in 2021, cost control was an important objective.

Customers stressed that they are rarely simply looking for the most competitive price, and told us that their number one priority is to source labels that were right for the job.

One customer commented that,

‘We were working to reduce our costs and Piroto proactively made suggestions to help us bring costs down’.

Space and storage limitations

A number of respondents said that balancing stocks of vital operational labels, with the costs/space to store large quantities of stock, can be tricky. This was particularly challenging during 2020 and 2021 when the supply chain was in turmoil due to Covid.

It’s clear that all sectors we surveyed, from food manufacturing to pharmaceuticals, are grappling with similar issues. Whilst most customers’ primary objective is to keep their operations running efficiently, they have an enormous number of, sometimes conflicting, factors to manage to meet that objective.

We are keen to learn if you agree with our findings, or if you have any other key challenges that keep you awake at night. Contact Andy at to share your views.

You can also read what our customers think about how well Piroto is supporting them to meet their everyday challenges