Due to increasing demands, printed labels became a larger part of the PRX Print product mix, and the company was experiencing aggressive growth in demand for cost-effective, short-run digital labels with fast turnaround times. Trends toward “just in time” ordering, small-quantity, multiple-version printing, coupled with often-changing label regulations and the need to contain costs, were key factors in driving this growth.
To maximize profitability and increase customer satisfaction, Debbie Gilbert, owner of PRX Print, began the search in early 2017 for an in-house, leading-edge label printing solution that would empower her team to meet the stringent demands of her customers. Gilbert notes, “We recognized a need for fast turnaround times and high-quality finished products, and we decided to gain control over this aspect of our business.”
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.
Key features that drew Gilbert to the Digital One were the “pay as you go” no-click-charge structure, its small, eco-friendly footprint with minimal waste, the toner-based technology and its all-in-one (printing and diecutting) functionality. In contrast to digital inkjet presses, the Digital One’s dry toner technology fuses ink right into the label substrate, ensuring maximum print adhesion and durability. Gilbert knew this was key for food and beverage labels, a market in which PRX Print specializes.
Additionally, the hybrid feature means the Digital One has a flexo print station that can be used for embellishments such as cold foil, spot colors, varnishes and laminations. Finally, the flexibility of the Digital One to print small-run, multiple-version high-quality labels with inline diecutting was perfectly aligned with PRX Print’s core goal to penetrate that market opportunity. Gilbert notes, “We looked at other presses on the market and nothing compared to the Digital One in terms of balancing features, cost and quality. The Mark Andy solution meant we didn’t need to make an additional investment in separate diecutting equipment. I also knew the Mark Andy reputation in the printing industry was exemplary.”
When their Digital One was delivered, Debbie and her team received training at the PRX facility in Mississauga, Ontario. One week later, they received an urgent request from one of their long-time customers in the fresh produce industry:
“A couple of days after training, one of our customers called us in a panic. He had a truckload of fresh blueberries that had arrived in clamshells without labels. If he didn’t get them labeled within 24 hours, they’d go to waste. Had we been still just a broker, we wouldn’t have been able to help him. But I told my customer, 'We can do it.' Our in-house graphic designer came up with a design based on a photo the customer provided, and 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. Could I have done that before? No. It’s been very empowering to assist customers like this ever since. I still have the first two blueberry labels that came off our press framed on my desk as a reminder.”
The company was already experiencing aggressive growth in sales and profits prior to acquiring its Digital One, growing by over 45% in 2016 and over 25% in 2017. But in 2018, Gilbert projects their business growth at more than 50% over 2017, primarily due to their new in-house printing capabilities and customer responsiveness.
Gilbert already has her eye on additional opportunities to expand the label manufacturing side of her company. PRX Print plans to tap into the Digital One’s label embellishment features, such as decorative cold foils and spot varnishes, and she sees advanced, inline decoration as an avenue for revenue growth, with the potential addition of a new production-level digital asset in 2019.
Bridgette Bridges, digital product advisor, Mark Andy, worked with Gilbert and her team on their journey to bring label production in house.
“Debbie and her team at PRX Print left no rock unturned as they evaluated the Digital One as their first press," says Bridges. "She and I also spoke at length prior to the delivery of their machine, as she was fervent in her quest to gather as much data, training and information as possible to best prepare her to transition from brokering to in-house label converting. Ultimately, Debbie is a great example of what being a business owner is all about. She knows her stuff, and her success with the Digital One as an entry-level print solution proves that. I am excited to see what’s next for them and to work together in the future.”