UK-based labels and packaging manufacturer OPM (Labels & Packaging) Group and MIS supplier Tharstern have marked 20 years of partnership. Both companies put their successful relationship down to excellent communication and a shared mission – to invest equally in people and technology.
Both companies have been around since the early 1980s, but they first came together in 2001 when OPM invested in its first MIS technology. Chris Ellison, OPM’s managing director, had a vision to improve efficiency by setting up one of his three production facilities as the administrative center to control the entire group using an MIS system. After an initial assessment, the company decided to use Tharstern’s software.
‘When we first put in our new MIS, we underestimated the commitment required to really get the most out of an MIS solution,’ commented Elison. ‘This meant initially we went for some reporting and organizational quick wins, with training on the go, so we did not make the most of the opportunity to benefit from all the tools available to us.
A few years later, when OPM embarked on a significant upgrade to its IT systems, including hardware, network, and MIS, the company adopted a different approach. Co-owner, Susan Ellison, took charge of the project, creating a training room with a dedicated server to run demo programs. Training groups consisted of one or two people from each department, effectively allowing the business to operate as usual.
‘We definitely learned from our earlier experience,’ commented Charlotte Ellison, commercial director at OPM. ‘We also learned a lot about communication and how important it is to keep a constant line of dialogue open with your MIS supplier.”
OPM Group focuses on continued growth, lean automation, and innovation while offering an individual approach to every customer thanks to investments in technology with the right people. Its latest adventure is a new digital press and digital finishing equipment that will be integrated with MIS-driven workflow.
‘Technology is such an important part of a business these days, and it’s constantly changing, so you have to put the effort in and evolve with it,’ said Charlotte Ellison. ‘It’s essential to develop a good relationship with your MIS provider. You need to have a vision, and you also need to put in place the technological support to achieve that vision.’
OPM is currently running further technology projects, including its recent transition to Tharstern’s Estimate Pro tool, and plans to introduce a web-to-print system for smaller customers.
‘Our business will keep changing and evolving all the time, it has to,’ commented Chris Ellison. ‘When we identify a new opportunity to do that, we know we can rely on Tharstern to help us take advantage of it. Tharstern has helped OPM streamline and automate production and business workﬂows for the last twenty years. Together we have both grown in size and industry knowledge, with each of us assisting the other with development.’
‘The partnership we have with OPM has been fantastic for us too,’ added Keith McMurtrie, CEO of Tharnstern. ‘They’re always happy to give us feedback and let us pick their brains about the intricacies of the converting sector. It is just a fantastic company to work with, and I know that we have people here at Tharstern that have made friends from this partnership, which I think says a lot. I’m definitely looking forward to another 20 years of working with the company.’