How Product Diversification Benefits Printers and Brands
In a competitive industry, print service providers are constantly seeking ways to expand their sales opportunities and grow their customer base. As they explore new printed products to add to their repertoire, it has become clear in recent years that unlike print segments threatened by digitization, packaging represents a growing segment with opportunities to serve the individual needs of various brands.
On Thursday, May 16, packagePRINTING and Printing Impressions hosted a webinar sponsored by HP, featuring two printers who have been able to expand their packaging capabilities and increase their sales. The webinar, titled “Diversification: Packaging Opportunities to Grow Your Bottom Line,” also featured a brand representative who has been able to benefit from the advantages that digital package printing provides.
To open the conversation, Rob Daniels, president of Smyrna, Ga.-based Quality Tape & Label, shared how and why his company, which initially specialized in label printing, has added shrink sleeve and flexible packaging capabilities. Additionally, Daniels detailed the decision to move to a workflow almost entirely driven by digital printing with various HP Indigo digital presses.
Daniels explained that about five years ago, Quality Tape & Label’s entire product mix consisted of labels. But when customers began to inquire about shrink sleeves, the company took its first steps in exploring the viability of this segment to meet the demand. Using the HP Indigo platform already in place at the company, Quality Tape & Label acquired a roll of shrink film and started test printing on it.
After a period of time during which cutting and seaming was outsourced, Daniels said Quality Tape & Label invested in the additional converting equipment to bring these tasks in house, and has since seen shrink sleeve grow to become 37% of the company’s business.
“In about a year’s time, we moved from outsourcing shrink sleeves to being able to manufacture everything in house,” he said.
While the addition of flexible packaging has been more recent for Quality Tape & Label, Daniels said the transition happened in a similar fashion. After experiencing an uptick in customer requests for sachets and pouches, the company began to experiment with flexible packaging material, eventually investing in an HP Indigo 20000 to meet the demand. Now, Daniels said flexible packaging makes up 16% of Quality Tape & Label’s business and is on the rise.
One of Quality Tape & Label’s customers that has benefited from the company’s ability to digitally print shrink sleeves and flexible packaging is Finaflex, a dietary supplement and healthy lifestyle brand, also located in the Atlanta area. Bryan Krause, a co-founder of Finaflex, joined the webinar to share how his company benefited from Quality Tape & Label’s diverse product offerings and digital printing capabilities.
Krause explained that he and Daniels initially connected when Finaflex took part in a rebranding initiative in 2018, which included a decision to move from pressure-sensitive labels to shrink sleeves and pouches. Additionally, from a visual perspective, the plan for the new branding included the use of rainbow holographic effects and fine graphics on a white background.
“Digitally, they can produce these colors and hold these lines with the premium white,” Krause said. “I just have a beautiful product and I couldn’t be happier.”
To round out the panel, Chip Hilleary, executive VP of West-Camp, shared how his company’s history of product diversification has now extended into the label segment, its first foray into packaging. West-Camp, which has locations in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, is extensively experienced in the wide-format graphics and commercial printing segments. However, about a year ago, it added label printing to its capabilities, installing an HP Indigo WS6800 Digital Press.
Hilleary said that the main driver behind the diversification of West-Camp’s product offerings also stemmed largely from its customer’s needs. Specifically, Hilleary explained that customers in the retail and CPG markets have high expectations for the print products they utilize in their marketing campaigns. Being able to provide high-quality labels to complement the other printed collateral allows West-Camp to provide an increased level of value.
“When we were trying to get into the packaging side of the business, we still had those standards and expectations from a quality aspect,” he said. “[Customers] were asking us to do more things and be more diverse for their campaigns. So it made sense for us to take that next step on the packaging side to add one more value to what they do on the marketing and campaign aspect.”
To check out the full webinar, “Diversification: Packaging Opportunities to Grow Your Bottom Line,” register here.