Making up the panel was Ryan Redding of WS Packaging Group, Adam Gray of SheetLabels.com and Steve Middleton of Middleton Printing Inc, – three companies of varying sizes and business models, who adopted inkjet assets from three different suppliers.
WS Packaging was an early adopter of Mark Andy Digital Series hybrid printing technology, was one of the beta sites for the machine, and now has multiple Digital Series presses installed. Redding, a multi-site general manager for the company, said that one of the biggest advantages of inkjet is in product mix. “Inkjet really is about understanding your equipment and your customer base,” he said. “It is in figuring out how to maximize the two most important assets you have in your business – your customers and your assets. And with assets, I’m including both, your people and equipment.”
Regarding people, Redding said WS Packaging benefitted from the Digital Series being based on the Mark Andy Performance Series, as both presses are based on the same platform. However, he said, “The ability to learn digital is not predicated on having to know flexo. For some of our digital press operators, it’s their first press operation experience having no previous printing background at all.”
Redding also discussed the development of a digital strategy. “Digital is no longer just a complement to flexo – it now stands alone. It’s no longer a niche. So it’s important develop a strategy based on the technology and what it allows.” This involves researching and knowing your business. He added, "When is comes to adopting digital, it's not the grass is not always greener on the other side; it’s greener where you water it.”
Adam Gray, president and founder of SheetLabels.com, is a label manufacturer whose business is steeped in eCommerce and lots of short run work. The company is an adopter of a Domino N610i UV inkjet press. Gray echoed the sentiment about the importance of collecting data and knowing exactly how digital inkjet technology can help your business. "Determining which inkjet capabilities align with the market segments you serve is a key consideration,” he said. “The most important question we asked ourselves when adding the press was, ‘Who are our customers that will go on this new inkjet asset’.”
A challenge, Gray noted, was in switching certain customers over. He said, “Educating our customer base about inkjet has been a challenge – some have been a little hesitant."
Middleton Printing is a company that transitioned from envelopes and commercial print to all-digital label production, and the company did so with the help of an Epson SurePress L-4033AW. Company president Steve Middleton focused on being adaptable and open to change. Relating a personal story, he highlighted the importance of taking chances and challenging your business, as well as working as a partner with your supplier. “Make digital your friend,” he said.
For more information on Sheet-labels.com, check out Steve Katz's Narrow Web Profile from the April 2016 issue of Label & Narrow Web.