In the competitive e-commerce marketplace, manufacturers and retailers are increasingly looking for ways to improve their customers’ experiences. Today, these businesses have found a powerful customer-relations tool in an unlikely place: the package that holds and ships the product. To satisfy this demand for packaging that performs, manufacturers and packaging suppliers are turning to Memjet’s inkjet technology. Using Memjet powered solutions, these businesses can easily create highly customized, customer-centered packaging on demand.
Memjet will host a webinar discussing the positive impact this type of customized packaging has had for a packaging supplier and its manufacturer client. The “Just-in-Time Customized Packaging for Just-in-Time Manufacturing” webinar will take place on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, from 2–3 p.m. (EST) / 11 a.m.–12 p.m. (PST).
Kevin Shimamoto, general manager of wide-format technology at Memjet, says,
“In an e-commerce relationship, the package is often the first physical contact that a customer has with a company. So more then ever, manufacturers need to be sure their packaging goes beyond the plain brown box and provides an experience that delights their customers by including things like images, messages, and order details that are customized directly to the recipient. Packaging that includes this type of customization not only improves the perception of your brand, it also keeps your customers coming back for more business.”
Digital Solutions Enable Customized Packaging
In this new era, manufacturers produce personalized packaging differently from packaging of the past.
Previously, manufacturers relied on intermediaries such as label converters and packaging suppliers, who often used older analog printing machines to supply large quantities of monolithic packaging. These types of presses could not easily accommodate the demand for short runs or more customized packaging and often required the manufacturer to provide long lead times and order large volumes of corrugated boxes.
But today, manufacturers and packaging suppliers are using digital printing solutions to transform the package-production process. Single-pass digital color inkjet solutions — like the ones that Memjet technology powers — print extremely fast, firing millions of drops of ink per second to produce exceptional quality at a low cost.
The printheads remain rigid over the package, so manufacturers and packaging suppliers can flexibly assemble them to create various widths and system speeds, depending on the type of packaging needed. A plain corrugated package has to pass under the fixed printheads only once for them to lay down all the colors and details required.
Whether manufacturers produce their own packages or use an inkjet-equipped packaging supplier, they need to buy only one style of corrugated box and customize it based on the customer, order, buying preferences, season or occasion — whatever will help foster a positive connection with their customers.
Case Study: Customized Packaging Transforms the Business of Package Provider and Its Client
For over 25 years, Innovative Integrated Solutions (IIS) has provided packaging and fulfillment services to companies in western New York and the greater Toronto region. IIS provides a variety of packaging and fulfillment services to a wide range of businesses, including consumer-goods companies, publishers, and manufacturers.
Recently, IIS has seen an increase in demand for e-commerce fulfillment services from clients who have an online presence. This means that when a client’s customer clicks on an order, the service electronically sends the order to IIS, which is then responsible for providing an excellent customer experience, picking the order, packing it and shipping it to the customer.
Serving the Small and Medium-Sized Market Niche
When George Moretti, managing partner at IIS, began working with the company, he identified an opportunity to provide services to a market that others were missing: local small and medium-sized businesses and the specialty segments of large companies.
Moretti said, “This is a growing market, but larger packaging companies just cannot afford to service these smaller accounts because the cost of selling and producing these small jobs is just not profitable for them.”
To capture the opportunity that these small and medium-sized businesses held, IIS did the research to identify the right short-run packaging systems. They found that the Xante Excelagraphix was the best printing solution to meet the needs for short-run, on-demand package printing.
This Memjet powered solution provided a cost-effective way for IIS to integrate its own box-making ability with customized package printing and support the packaging demands of the small and medium-sized businesses it targeted.
A New Packaging Model
“When we saw what the Excelagraphix 4800 could do, we were blown away. To start, the level of quality was excellent. What’s more, this quality can be achieved without printing plates, so it’s much easier and less expensive than other printing options. Finally, the price point was a deciding factor; I get quality, integration and speed all at an affordable price,” said Moretti.
Going Beyond the Plain Brown Box
Prior to buying the Xante Excelagraphix, IIS put its clients’ products in plain brown boxes. But once the company showed its customers how it would look to have their logos and customized images on the box, they were sold.
“We have expanded our business to produce customized packaging for almost every client that we do fulfillment for. We’re putting out a superior package that better represents their product. The logos and images look fantastic, and everybody who sees customized packaging wants it. It’s a tremendous value add that we can offer at a very minimal cost,” said Moretti.
Transforming Packaging for Rochester Midland Corp.
One such customer is Rochester Midland Corp. (RMC). Based in Rochester, New York, RMC manufactures specialty chemicals. Its Facilities Group requires small packaging sizes for a product line that includes approximately 120 SKUs.
To produce these products, RMC runs a lean operation. It schedules production one week in advance so it can keep its inventory low and proactively react to customer demand.
But the packaging process it used to ship these products was anything but lean. It required a great deal of space, time and labor. Moreover, the old packaging process did not serve the RMC brand.
Calvin Osterberg, RMC’s purchasing manager, said, “We used to receive deliveries of over 8,000 plain, corrugated cases. These cases would then need to need to be stored and managed. To label these boxes, we produced and inventoried over 120 different product labels that were housed in five storage locations. These labels were then applied to the boxes by hand before the products were shipped. So, not only was the process taking up a lot of space, it was also time consuming and labor intensive.”
Taking Control of Packaging Production
To reduce the cost and time involved in its packaging production, RMC turned to IIS and its Memjet powered Xante Excelagraphix solution. This move meant that RMC could do away with its cumbersome labeling process and receive high-quality packaging with superior graphics and unlimited customization options.
In this new packaging process, IIS produces the exact quantity of packaging RMC will need for the next five days. IIS customizes this just-in-time packaging by product, so RMC can store it adjacent to the filling lines and integrate it into its operation.