Where would we be without labels? Whether they’re used for addressing an envelope or posting a parcel, organizing a home or office and even creating safety signs, labels have become a part of everyday life and give a voice to the silent.
Labels have also come a long way in a relatively brief space of time. The first adhesive label was invented by Ray Stanton Avery in 1935, a move that revolutionized the world of merchandising and led Avery to found his own company.
Today, Avery Australia carries on that legacy of innovation, consistently pushing boundaries to craft products that enhance and simplify lives. What began as a game-changer almost 90 years ago has evolved into a global empire that’s left an indelible mark on the world.
Avery’s heritage – a commitment to quality, reliability and customer satisfaction – is well known to Anne Cashman, who leads the company’s success as Managing Director in Australia and New Zealand. Cashman first joined the business in the mid-90s, leaving for a time before rejoining in 2014 and taking on her current role four years later.
Cashman reveals that the industry’s allure for her lies not just in the labels they create, but also in the people who make them, and that her particular passion is in developing her team members into leaders.
“We believe in fostering leaders and celebrating the heroes who make Avery what it is today,” she tells The CEO Magazine.
She sees leadership as a powerful tool that has the power to transform every aspect of the business.
“Leadership to me is about empowering others to reach their full potential, fostering a culture of innovation and making ethical decisions that benefit the organization, its people and the environment,” she says.
It’s an approach to leadership that she has cultivated throughout her time at Avery Products. “If I could change one thing about my job, it would be to have even more time to personally connect with team members and customers,” she says. “Building relationships is at the core of our success, and I’d love to have more time for that.”
When she first joined the company in the 90s, it was an exciting time for the office products industry as it underwent a major transformation. Major players were establishing themselves in the market, including Officeworks, which launched in 1994 based on the Office Depot concept in the United States.
“I was excited by the strategic approach required in this evolving landscape,” she recalls.
From Avery’s perspective, Cashman had qualities that would help drive the company forward, such as adaptability, a customer-focused mindset, strategic thinking and a strong sense of teamwork.
“These qualities were crucial for navigating the rapidly changing dynamics of our industry,” she says.
With the pace of change forever accelerating, these same attributes that initially brought Cashman to Avery are proving just as important to the company now, and they have made the company a trusted partner both for businesses and individuals.
Today, Avery proudly serves a diverse range of customers, including Officeworks, Winc, Complete Office Supplies (COS) and Amazon in the B2B sector, as well as wholesale partners such as General Stationery Supplies and GNS. Avery’s collaborative approach also extends to valued buying group customers such as Office Brands, Office Choice and ASA.
In this digital age, however, it’s no longer enough for a label to simply be sticky. Cashman’s years in the industry have given her the insight to develop new and innovative products and the agility to bring them to market quickly enough to meet its ever-changing needs.
Such additions to Avery’s product portfolio include water-resistant labels, Quick Peel labels with enhanced efficiency and TrueBlock for a polished appearance, while Surefeed technology significantly reduces misalignments and ensures a more reliable printer feed. All are manufactured at the Avery plant at Castle Hill in Sydney’s north-west, and all exemplify Avery’s commitment to a comprehensive labeling solution.
Behind the scenes, Cashman has also implemented several new technologies designed to streamline Avery’s operations, enhance customer experience and improve fulfillment processes.
But she says the achievements she’s most proud of are Avery’s advances on the sustainability front.
Sustainability has been successfully integrated into every aspect of the business, according to Cashman. All local Avery products are manufactured in Australia and are now environmentally friendly as well as FSC-certified, with the company continuously working to reduce its ecological footprint.
Avery also places great emphasis on educating its customers around the responsible disposal of its labels and their backing paper. These are the touches that bring satisfaction to Cashman’s days, while bringing order to our lives.
“What I love most about my job is the opportunity to make a positive impact, both within the organization and in the broader community,” she says.
“It’s so fulfilling to see our team members grow into leaders and to contribute to a sustainable future.”
The label has come a long way since Ray Avery’s day, and much of that journey is thanks to the innovations and ingenuity of the company he started.
“We’ve stuck around for a long time,” Cashman says. “And those in need of quality labels have stuck with us.”