In 1972, Al Backscheider founded BGR with just 12 cases of tape, a suburban basement and the understanding that packaging and shipping companies needed a true partner. In the decades that have followed, the Backscheider family has built upon those same values to become one of the top packaging and shipping-supply distributors in Ohio and the five surrounding states.
BGR is headquartered in Cincinnati, OH and serves the surrounding four states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia. However, the company has a significant presence throughout North America and serves many markets and industries. As a founding member of the Packaging Distributors of America (PDA), BGR offers national coverage through a network of 60 owner-operated packaging distributors located across the US and Canada.
BGR is an Industrial Packaging Supply Distributor with supporting expertise in packaging supply chain consulting. The company serves the manufacturing, wholesale, automotive, food, pharmaceutical, healthcare, and steel and metals markets.
With $100 million in annual revenue and rising – earned from marketing more than 40,000 SKUs and growing, BGR employs 160 people across more than 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space. BGR is extremely nimble and diverse in all of its many facets. On the custom printing side of the business, BGR manufactures product and bar code labels to printed tapes and boxes, while utilizing seven flexographic and digital presses and a full staff of designers. The company also supplies label application equipment.
In addition to printing, BGR provides: supply sourcing – buying direct and passing savings on to customers; stocking programs – leveraging warehouse space across five states to support JIT delivery goals; converting and design – from industrial tape slitting and printing to custom packaging design; packing line automation – the design, installation and service of packaging machinery; flexible delivery – 24/7 support and free delivery using the BGR-owned fleet of trucks on all orders over $250 within the service area; and inventory management – where customers can enjoy a vendor-managed inventory service and product usage reports.
BGR has a long history of growth, and there are no signs of it stopping anytime soon. The latest addition to BGR’s manufacturing capacity is in its new label manufacturing facility, completed in August 2018. The expansion marks a major milestone for the company’s Label Division, which is now in its 15th year.
In 2005, BGR made its initial entry into the label market with the acquisition of Triangle Label. At the time, the label company had only three employees, including the owner. Tom Hagedorn, plant manager for BGR’s Label Printing Division, recalls, “Before the company was bought by BGR, the only major acquisition was a 6-color 10" Mark Andy flexo press. Since the acquisition, we have added an 8-color 13" Nilpeter press, two high-speed Rotoflex rewinders, digital printing equipment from Primera and Screen, and a LasX laser diecutter.”
BGR’s label customers run the gamut, and include retail and automotive brands, as well as several Fortune 500 companies within the tri-state area of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. The company also ships labels to all four corners of the US.
Most recently, coinciding with the opening of the new facility, BGR added a second Screen digital press – a Truepress Jet L350 UV+ model. And for digital finishing, the company has invested in a Grafotronic DCL2, scheduled for delivery later this month.
Scott Kneer is operations manager for BGR’s Label Printing Division and has played a pivotal role in the division’s growth and success in label manufacturing. Since his arrival at the company in 2008, the Label Division alone has grown from three employees to 18. “We’ve grown within ourselves,” Kneer says. “The people we have brought in have had little to no label converting experience. Everyone starts at the ground floor, receives training and works their way up.”
According to Kneer, the initial move to production class digital printing with Screen has played a monumental role in BGR’s Label Division growth, which shows no signs of slowing down – hence the investment in a second Screen Truepress. To put things into perspective, in 2005, the time of the Triangle Label acquisition, label sales were a mere $350,000, Kneer says. “Since going digital, in just a three year period of time, we’ve grown from $2 million to $5 million,” he adds. “Our growth is 100% attributed to digital.”
Kneer emphasizes that BGR chose Screen due to the suppliers’ professionalism and rich history and experience with inkjet, the speed and capabilities of the Truepress, as well as the machine’s reliability. “Partnering with Screen has been such a great experience, so adding the second Truepress was really an easy choice,” he says.
As for the Grafotronic, Kneer is really excited about its arrival. “At its price point – with the 14" web width along with all of its capabilities, there is nothing else like it on the market,” he says.
The DCL2 from Grafotronic is fully modular and servo-driven, with each module designed to reduce downtime to a minimum. The concept behind the finishing machine is for it to be “future safe,” with new modules easily added in only 8-hours. Kneer adds, “This machine is so user-friendly. Another thing we like about Grafotronic is how they engineer their machines by taking input from their customers. We’re going to use it to add foil to our Screen-printed digital labels, and it’ll have semi-rotary diecutting where it runs at 230 fpm in that mode. We’ll also be adding a turret to the Grafotronic as we’re ramping up to run nearly 24/7. We’re also looking to expand and further grow our presence in the flexible packaging market.”
BGR enjoys taking a partnership approach in working with its vendors, allowing peers and even competitors to come into the plant in order to see running equipment. Kneer says that once the Grafotronic is up and running, BGR will host an Open House event, where those interested can come and check out the new machinery. Concludes Kneer, “We do a lot of digital work for flexo houses, and we are happy to demonstrate our capabilities.”