Top-shelf tags and labels

Ask the Experts - Tags and Labels

Kristi Huffman, senior vice president of horticulture, explains how WestRock’s RockLine Label applicators bridge the gap between tag manufacturing, precision labeling and barcode readability.

April 20, 2020

Greenhouse Management: What makes WestRock an expert on tags and labels?

Kristi Huffman: Our start as The John Henry Company brings a long history of horticulture expertise. We love to say that our legacy is 108 years young, and we now couple that legacy with the new footprint and scale of WestRock. Being a part of a true leader in the global print and packaging industry has been fantastic — it’s made our horticulture group that much stronger. Plant tags have always been a key part of our business, however, labeling is also a core competency of WestRock, and we continuously supply more and more labels to the industry. In North America, we have five tag facilities producing tags, and nine label facilities producing labels.

GM: What’s the latest with tags and labels in the industry?

KH: Tags and labels are becoming a critical piece in the supply chain. Whether it be an affixed tag or a label, these products are now holding all information in one, including NIST, barcode, price point and plant care so it can be used in all facets, from the greenhouse to the end consumer.

With that being said, the labor involved with application is increasing, so many companies are looking to automate their facilities to reduce labor costs and also to provide precision labeling of pots. WestRock’s new series of RockLine™ Label applicators, provide exactly this, an automated labeling system that provides precision labeling, increased production speeds and outstanding retail presentation.

GM: What are WestRock’s efforts in the industry around sustainability?

KH: The marketplace and greenhouse conditions make fully sustainable products a challenge. However, WestRock is a large fiber-based company, heavily researching ways to reduce or eliminate plastic usage along with reducing carbon footprint. We’ve introduced a new Half Pallet Merchandiser that provides a sustainable alternative to one-way wood and metal shippers. These displays are cost-effective, labor reducing, corrugated displays that offer superb retail presentation with a water-resistant coating that last up to four weeks.

GM: Where do you see tags and labels going in the future?

KH: As mentioned, tags and labels are continuously holding more and more information for use throughout the supply chain. The consumer experience will continue to expand to provide a broader digital experience and interaction with the product, associated products and the overall brand.