K-1 Packaging Group’s ‘Game-Changing’ Investment Delivers Brand Benefits
K-1 Packaging Group covers all the bases. Progressive, diverse, sustainable. Certified and standardized. Based in the LA metro area, K-1 has maintained a leading role as one of the west coast’s most well-equipped, full-service package printing companies for most of its 30 years.
Mike Tsai, K-1 president and co-founder, says that the recent acquisition of a B1 format Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press has been game-changing. Purchased in 2020 with an immediate need to relieve K-1’s high volume of 5000-and-under short run work, with a close second the growing requirement for a sophisticated variable solution; Tsai says the Landa press gives K-1 the ability to deliver state-of-the-art products while reducing the load on its existing equipment. K-1 now offers a wider range of services, from basic folding carton packaging through to complex litholam boxes and 1 to 1 variable, data-driven options.
Tsai is equally happy to talk about K-1’s dedication to offering its products and services in the context of its commitment to ethics and social accountability, and the people-first priorities this approach cultivates.
So, while it may be tempting to introduce customers to the most cutting-edge options, not everyone is a candidate, every time. “Our own success has always been tied, directly, to helping our customers grow their businesses responsibly,” Tsai says. “Sometimes that means achieving a basic goal. Projects that make the biggest difference are sometimes smaller and simpler… and can be especially gratifying.”
Case in point: P&J Trading is a fragrance developer, manufacturer and distributor that has been a K-1 customer for 6 years. P&J produces 20+ different scents, and K-1 fulfills the company’s printing needs a few times every year. While the total number of packages produced can be large, the individual quantities (for each of the 20 scents) are relatively low. [Editor’s Note: Click here to see a video about the packaging for P&J Trading’s Nature collection of fragrance oils. Digitally Printed Carton Brings Elegance, Productivity Boost (packagingimpressions.com)]
Running the P&J jobs on offset — before the Landa press came in — meant sacrificing individual branding of each scent in order to keep the job cost-effective. “If we were to do this multi- scent project on a conventional press, thousands of sheets would have been wasted for the numerous SKUs – which would have been both economically and environmentally unwise,” Tsai says. The solution was to print generic cartons and affix labels with scent-specific information.
It didn’t do justice to a complex, premium grade product line that emphasizes beauty and individual preferences. That's why P&J was one of the first customers Tsai called after K-1 purchased the Landa S10.
“They were excited. They still are,” Tsai says. “Giving a customer the opportunity to brand its products individually, without the huge expense of offset, was a boon for everyone. Now it’s a quality package; an elegant solution, made possible because of the Landa S10’s capabilities.
“Multiply that by all the short and medium-run customers we have…,” he adds. “Some don’t want anything more than faster turnaround, but many want other options such as personalization, security or anti-counterfeiting. Now they can have it.
“There’s also a whole crop of young companies that want to use bigger patches of special colors as their branding becomes more sophisticated,” Tsai says. “We can do this much more cost-effectively on the S10, because it will print 96% of those colors. The S10 essentially eliminates the need for special inks or mixing.”
And then there are the benefits all of K-1’s customers are starting to enjoy, regardless of how their own jobs are being produced. To begin with, moving so much work off K-1’s three offset presses and on to the S10 relaxes the load on all of production. Now everyone, including K-1’s offset customers, are experiencing markedly faster turnaround times.
“In addition, by giving us this additional capacity and more efficient production, the Landa press is also giving us more time, and we’re using much of it to consult with our customers,” Tsai says. “It works out perfectly, since we now have such a wider array of strategic solutions, they can start taking advantage of.”
Helene Smith has served the printing and graphic arts community for more than a quarter of a century. Her marketing and PR strategic counsel company HSPR has international reach in the publishing, imaging, and office technologies sectors. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Smith uses her vast access and historical knowledge of the printing industry to help companies understand and execute messaging that leverages the cross-section where product benefits and customer needs meet to create synergistic win-wins.