Label and packaging company looking to add to workforce

A Butler County-based digital print and packaging specialist is looking to grow its workforce.

Innovative Labeling Solutions delivers custom labels, shrink sleeves and flexible packaging to customers across the consumer product industry, including nutraceuticals, craft beer, health and beauty, and household products.

The company launched into the printing business in 1996. It has more than 100 employees, including an external sales team that operates across the country.

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ILS operates a full-service label and packaging company in a 65,000-square-foot facility at 4000 Hamilton Middletown Road in Fairfield Twp.

ILS said it is looking to hire as many as 10 new production operators across our digital print and finishing operations, with plans increase to that number to more than 16 in the near future to meet its anticipated growth needs. Openings include HP digital press operators, die cut operators, rewind operators and shipping/receiving, all of which are primarily on second and third shifts.

We spoke with the ILS team about the hiring challenges it faces and how the company is seeking to grow its staffing. Here’s what they had to say.

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Q: What’s the biggest challenge facing the company and others in the industry and how is the company uniquely positioned to address that challenge?

“We’ve heard it mentioned many times before, but there is a considerable skills gap in U.S. manufacturing. According to Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, over the next decade, almost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled, yet nearly 2 million are expected to go unfilled as a result of the skills gap. Compounding this are some of the perception issues surrounding manufacturing, which is deterring some students from pursuing careers in the field. While finding talent with required skills is no easy task, it’s absolutely vital for us, and companies like us, to keep growing.

ILS is positioning itself in a number of ways to try and overcome some of these challenges. To help build our pipeline of talent, we’re partnering with schools like Butler Tech and engaging students enrolled in programs such as Career Based Intervention, which focuses on creating work-based learning activities for students such as job shadowing, part-time jobs and the like so that they can become aware of all their options and be productive citizens.

Additionally, we also try to emphasize the opportunity employees have to work on meaningful projects. Going to the grocery store takes on a whole new meaning when you get to walk down an aisle and see all your hard work on the finished product at the shelf. We operate in a climate-controlled facility using the industry’s most cutting-edge technology, and advanced manufacturing practices with automated workflows and processes, which we develop alongside some of the largest OEMs. This means our employees really get a hand in improving the design of the technology based on first-hand experience. It’s more than just running a machine, our employees are actively engaged and apply critical thinking every day to solve problems.”

Q: What’s the most prevalent roadblock you encounter when it comes to hiring and what can jobseekers do to remedy that situation?

Be pro-active with your communication. Many hiring managers are busy, especially when trying to fill a number of openings, so they may not always get back to you in a timely manner after an interview. A good, brief follow-up can go a long way. It makes sure you stay top of mind and shows your interest in the position. Similarly, try to be transparent in your communication. If you realize you’re not interested in a position, express that to the hiring manager. They will appreciate your honesty and it can at least leave a door open for the future.

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Q: What’s the vision for the company’s growth, both jobs and otherwise, for the next five years?

A: “We expect to grow by almost double revenue and employment will follow closely. Digital represents a key growth area for the print industry. In 2017, the digital print for packaging market was worth $13.2 billion and is expected to hit $23.2 billion by 2022. It’s also an industry that’s constantly evolving with changing consumer expectations. To keep up with this constant evolution, we need to be as flexible and responsive as the market in which we operate in. We plan to continue as an early adopter of digital print technology, acquiring new capabilities and remaining ahead of the digital printing curve by fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. Moreover, we understand that technology and a state-of-the art facility alone won’t fulfill our vision and long-term growth goals. Team members are the most important assets to ILS and attracting and retaining a strong pipeline of talent will be crucial.”

Q: Some job seekers are concerned about the limits of advancement within a company. To what degree can your employees advance from entry-level roles to be promoted to greater positions within the company?

A: “We have a strong focus on promoting from within. It’s an excellent positive feedback loop, and it improves morale and productivity. Moreover, it’s a great avenue for growing future leaders and talent. We have current employees who started off in entry-level positions or operating machinery that are now in various parts of the business including managerial roles, maintenance, scheduling, pre-press/art, and innovation/engineering.”

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