In August, Mississauga, Ont., full-service label manufacturer and print agency PRX Print announced it had installed the Mark Andy Digital One, an investment it says will result in 50-percent growth. PRX Print Owner and Co-founder Debbie Gilbert researched a variety of digital label printing technologies and product offerings, and her search led her to the recently launched Mark Andy Digital One hybrid label press.
DG: We began as a brokerage in 2010 and identified a need in the marketplace for a single-source packaging company that could integrate all of the packaging services clients need: Consulting for form and function, concept, design and printing. Using a traditional “push” strategy, we created sales opportunities by looking at packaging we thought could be improved and going to see the clients, rather than just trying to sell labels. We were brokering most print services but adding value by being a packaging consultant [with the goal of] helping customers market their products on the shelf more effectively to increase sales and market share.
Over the last four to five years as the [global] digital market has exploded, demographics and the market for retail products have also changed dramatically. We now have a retail landscape that demands just-in-time products, a demo- graphic with a desire for specialty and ethnic foods, and [trends] such as small-quantity, multiple-version printing and specialty effects, which have all combined to make the perfect storm for digital printing. To answer the demand for fast turnaround times and economical yet high-quality print solutions, last year we decided to look for an in-house label printing solution.
People today are bombarded with special effects in everything they see — whether it’s video games, movies or packaging on the shelf. We’ve even had the advent of virtual reality packaging. Now that consumers are getting used to it and are expecting it, wherever we can add these elements to labels creates a great opportunity-solution for customers. We have a blended desire for short-runs that can [accomplish] that, so flexo isn’t the only solution any longer — new digital presses offer embellishment like cold foils, spot colours and virtual reality.
DG: We take a consultative approach with our clients – looking at everything from the way their product is packaged and labelled, to the way it’s displayed on a shelf or in their tradeshow booth. And we have the expertise to help them increase sales or penetrate new markets through improving their packaging. We also offer solutions that are cost effective for their specific needs
DG: Very — and it really wasn’t a collabora- tive [effort] for a long time. You had designers sitting in one area, print people in another and the marketing department down the hall. Everything has now become one. [The key is] for everyone to work together in an integrated approach. Design isn’t isolated; it is integral to the form and function of the finished product. Having the marketing resource collaborate with designers and a knowledgeable print resource ensures there are no surprises for customers and they get exactly what they need and want. [All parties have] to work together from the start.
DG: I think print will [continue to hold] a big role in packaging, and in our lives in general, going forward. Print is a primary means of communicating a message or a brand.
People can see [a product] online but they still want to feel it and see it on the shelf. [Consumers] are savvier than ever today
— they demand information quickly, and it is important to provide clear and compelling information that conveys benefits to consumers as soon as they pick an item up of the shelf. With just a few seconds to do that, there is no better way to accomplish that than through effectively designed printed packaging.
DG: We’re in rapid growth mode right now and are still exploring the full features of the Mark Andy Digital One. We’re definitely going to focus on digital because we believe there’s so much potential out there and that’s only going to grow. [If you look at] the capabilities of the new digital presses coming to market today, they continue to offer [faster] speed, more and more features, and increased high-quality output – all of this means we can offer customers what they want at a price they can afford.
Canadian print service provider PRX Print has invested in a Mark Andy Digital One hybrid press to bring label printing in house.
The company provides packaging solutions, including printed labels, forms, boxes and shrink sleeves, to customers across a variety of industries. Due to increasing demand, printed labels became a larger part of the company’s product mix, however, as a brokerage, PRX had limited control over the production process and timelines.
Debbie Gilbert, owner, commented, ‘We recognised a need for fast turnaround times and high-quality finished products, and we decided to gain control over this aspect of our business.’
Key features that drew Ms Gilbert to the Digital One were the “pay as you go” no-click-charge structure, its small, eco-friendly footprint with minimal waste, and the toner-based technology which fuses ink right into the label substrate, ensuring maximum print adhesion and durability – ideal for food and beverage labels, a market PRX Print specialises in.
The flexo print station that can be used for embellishments was also seen as a bonus, and the flexibility to print small-run, multiple-version high-quality labels with inline die-cutting was aligned with the company’s goal to penetrate that market opportunity.
‘We looked at other presses on the market and nothing compared to the Digital One in terms of balancing features, cost and quality,’ Ms Gilbert added. ‘The Mark Andy solution meant we didn’t need to make an additional investment in separate die-cutting equipment.’
She continued, ‘A couple of days after training, one of our customers had a truckload of fresh blueberries that had arrived in clamshells without labels. If he didn’t get them labelled within 24 hours, they’d go to waste. Had we still been just a broker, we wouldn’t have been able to help.
‘It was approved and printed within hours and the entire order was delivered the following morning. That was the first job for our Digital One.’
Since installation the company has been able to support many clients with same-day printed samples for new product launches, small batch labels for colour testing and provide same- or next-day custom label design and printing.
In 2018, Ms Gilbert projects business growth to be more than 50% higher over 2017, primarily due to the company’s new in house printing capabilities and customer responsiveness.