In just 20 years, Guru Labels has become a leading Australian label printer for countless brands from artisan to global. What’s their secret? Founder Nick Lowe believes it’s simple: people.
The family-owned Australian company proves you can put people before profit – and reap the rewards. Founded in 2001 by Nick Lowe, the company has grown to become one of Australia’s most respected label printers – chosen by over 1200 other trade printers. But what tangible ways does this forward-thinking company put people before profit? And how has this mindset contributed to their success?
There are a few clear areas that stand out
1. Being appreciative of each other,
2. Creating a performance-enhancing environment, and
3. Creating a culture of challenging the status quo.
Being appreciative of each other
“When you start with none, you appreciate every one” is Nick Lowe’s motto.
When Nick founded Guru Labels he started from scratch with no clients or staff. “It’s only when you begin with nothing that you realise how important each and every client, job, and staff member is”, says Nick. It was that attitude of appreciation and taking nothing for granted that spurred the business forward.
Nick had worked for large label printing companies before he founded Guru Labels. “Staff and clients were just numbers at the end of the day, and so the passion and commitment wasn’t there. Knowing how I didn’t want my company to be, I lived the values I wanted every member of my team to live from day one. Leaders set the culture for a business, whether they are conscious of it or not. My goal was to create a company mindset that was appreciative, and I demonstrate gratitude everyday”, says Nick.
The entire Guru Labels team cares deeply about their customers and each job they entrust to them. But they also care about each other. The leadership team takes part in workshops aimed at supporting mental health and well-being in the workplace, and Guru team members are encouraged to be philanthropic within the community through donation matching and community service programs.
Nick and his team believe that taking care of your clients starts with taking care of your employees. “Everyone on our team wants to make a contribution, wants to offer solutions and ideas, and is empowered to make everything better. Every interaction is an opportunity to make a difference to each other and our clients. Our customers really notice that commitment”.
Guru’s stellar employee retention rate is testament to the appeal of their culture and values. Guru’s team comprises long-term staff or employees who have joined as a result of growth and retirement. Staff at Guru value their workplace so highly that they stick around to be part of it. Having an experienced, highly engaged team contributes to high customer satisfaction and quality.
Creating a performance-enhancing environment
Most people associate printing companies with messy ink, noise, odour, and unpleasant working conditions. The Guru leadership team knew that for people to be happy at work they had to have a nice environment. The factory was designed from the ground up with input from all employees. Involving the team throughout the build resulted in a pleasant, environmentally friendly workplace where staff are happy and orders efficiently progress through each station.
All aspects of their facility are pristine, spacious, well-ventilated, and bright. The factory is powered by 90 Kw of solar panels, and they have an ethical recycling program in place, reducing their carbon footprint.
“People are amazed by our digital printing equipment. It’s brand new, clean, and quiet compared to other printers. Our employees are here for eight hours a day, so we want them to have a pleasant working environment. You can see, smell, hear and feel the difference.” says Nick.
Creating a culture of challenging the status quo
When Guru Labels first started out in 2001, they had a fresh slate and the opportunity to create a company that would take label printing to the next level. Rather than simply following the status quo and using outdated methods, they took an innovative approach that allowed them to push the boundaries of what was possible with label printing. The company wanted to be the guru in label printing, so they owned that title right from the start.
We started with a clean slate and a vision for excellence
“Starting from scratch gave us the freedom to think creatively about our products and services, and to come up with new ways to better serve our customers. There were no legacy systems, outdated equipment, old premises or bad habits. Our factory, systems, and service standards were all designed from the ground up. We use the most advanced printing technology. While every member of our team was chosen for their expertise and passion” says founder Nick Lowe.
At Guru Labels, there is only one goal in mind: to deliver a world-class label printing service. In the end, though, it’s people who make a successful business. Guru Labels is proof that when you take care of your employees, you unlock the potential to take your business to new heights.
A company’s internal customer service drives its external customer service, but it also fuels innovation and passion, enabling it to excel to new levels. You can learn more about Guru Label’s values and how they live them on the company’s website.