Native Zimbabwean applies decades of printing experience, expertise to enhance industry-leading model
Operations managers who know and have worked in all areas of their chosen industry typically are the best performers. Add to that experience gained by working on multiple continents. Meet Zimbabwe southern Africa native Vic Jubber, newly-appointed Operations Manager for Denver-based Lightning Labels—who’s done it all from printing press operations and sales to entrepreneurship in countries that are worlds apart geographically and culturally.
His 32 years of experience started in Zimbabwe’s printing industry, where he operated printing presses, gained sales experience and expertise, and ultimately climbed into management ranks. “My wife and I started a business competing against major companies in Zimbabwe. We were contemplating retirement at the ripe old age of 55, when political instability caused us to re-evaluate priorities. We decided in 2002 to pack up everything, and bring our daughters aged 12 and 14 to the US, truly the land of opportunity. We started life all over again,” notes Jubber.
Apart from the huge learning experience around new processes and culture, there were climate issues. “We traveled from Zimbabwe in December, where it was 110 degrees to St. Paul, Minnesota, where it was minus 23 degrees,” recalls Jubber. “We thought we had made a humongous mistake.”
Just a few weeks later, the family visited friends in San Diego, and wound up staying for a decade. They decided to revive their early retirement dream, and bought a “mom and pop” printing operation in 2006. Ninety percent of their work was for the real estate industry, and when the bottom fell out of the economy in 2008, it affected the Jubbers the same way. The business failed.
Hunting for jobs, the couple discovered that qualifications and certifications from Zimbabwe were far less valuable than demonstrating ability. That meant starting as a press operator for a digital, offset and wide-format banner company in Colorado Springs, and eventually moving up the chain to lead foreman, manager, director of operations, and president.
Ultimately, the lure of the Denver metroplex brought Jubber to Lightning Labels in November 2017. His life experience, drawing heavily on growing up Zimbabwean, has reinforced Jubber’s drive to maximize opportunity in his adopted land of opportunity.
“If you’re willing to engage and do things right, you can achieve dreams and goals. That’s what I’m doing here—putting into place standard operating procedures and efficiency-driving ideas derived from LEAN manufacturing principles. It requires team participation, involvement initiative, and buy-in of people to create efficiency-enhancing standards and then implementing them,” Jubber points out.
He adds, “While it’s all KPI-driven and objectively quantified, the real heart of the program is the heart of the people. As they take ownership of more productive workflows and processes, they drive better performance from the front door through shipping—minimizing duplication and equipping themselves in their areas of influence to be as ‘LEAN’ as possible—cutting waste of both materials and productivity, and shortening timespans and touchpoints. The adage, ‘measure twice, cut once’ really comes into play here.”
While a more engaged and enthusiastic workforce is the immediate reward, customers are the ultimate beneficiaries. Jubber says, “We promise a quality product turned around in 48 to 72 hours, almost impossible in this industry. Yet, we deliver on our commitment day in and day out. Our customers deserve to see us keep that commitment standard, with a reliable quality product time after time after time. We’ve got to make sure that what we talk truly lines up with what we walk.”
The ultimate test used by the workforce harkens back to the simplicity and sincerity of less technology-driven times. Notes Jubber, “Employees ask themselves if they would spend their money with Lightning Labels, using tests of timeliness, quality, reliability, flexibility, and affordable pricing. Our people need to pass those tests every time, from prepress, digital production to finishing through to shipping.”
About Lightning Labels: Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes. From small orders for individuals to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill custom label and sticker projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround for every customer's labeling needs. Uses for Lightning Labels' custom product labels and custom stickers include food packaging and organic food labels, wine and beverage labels, bath and body labels, and nutraceutical products, such as vitamins, essentials oils, and herbal remedies, as well as event stickers, adhesive window stickers and more. Lightning Labels strongly supports the development of environmentally friendly printing materials and carries EarthFirst PLA, a new kind of green label material made from corn instead of petroleum. While operating as a high-tech printer, Lightning Labels prides itself on its personalized customer service. Lightning Labels provides one-stop shopping for all of your custom label needs. For more information and to place orders online, visit LightningLabels.com. For the latest in packaging news and labeling promotional offers, find Lightning Labels on Twitter (@LightningLabels), Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.