Package Printing Converts: Transformations from Commercial Printing

Vista Color executives (from the left) Henry Serrano, Juan Roque and Jess Hernandez inspect a piece.

A press operator keeps an eye on things at Service Litho-Print.

Technicians perform work on Vista Color’s Bobst SPeria 106e diecutter.

Here at Printing Impressions, we managed to find a handful of printers—Graphic Dimensions in Atlanta and New Dimension Labels in Austell GA, Vista Color in Miami, and Service Litho-Print in Oshkosh, WI—who have either added packaging as an ancillary service or have completely abandoned the commercial world in favor of flexible packaging, labels, folding cartons and the like.

“We spoke to our reseller customers and listened to what they were looking to sell,” notes Bill Reid, vice president of marketing for Graphic Dimensions. “We found that many were not selling custom labels because they did not know all of the variables that go into producing labels. They weren’t familiar with the different facestocks, adhesives, laminates and coatings. They wanted to partner with a vendor who could provide technical expertise and reliable service.”

Service became a rally point, as Reid constantly heard stories from customers about lackluster performances from other suppliers, including marathon phone holds, inexperienced CSRs and late shipments. So when Graphic Dimensions decided to roll out New Dimension Labels, it was stocked with label industry veterans throughout the division.

“Creating a new brand helped drive home the message that this brand is dedicated to labels. We are label experts and this is not just a new product offering,” Reid notes.

Niche in Custom Labels

New Dimension Labels has carved a niche with custom prime digital and flexographic labels, servicing the food/beverage, health/beauty, nutraceutical and household products, to name a few. To help bolster the new division, which launched last November, the firm acquired an HP Indigo WS6600 digital press. New Dimension Labels is expected to increase the parent company’s sales by 30 percent in the first year alone, according to Reid.

“We pursued custom labels because the packaging segment of the printing industry is growing,” he notes. “There are opportunities for distributors to participate in that growth segment. For us, planning was the key.”

Similarly, two years ago, Henry Serrano attended an NAPL Top Management Conference with his partner. Serrano, the president of Miami-based folding carton firm Vista Color, had reached a crossroads. A commercial printer since the mid-1990s, Vista Color had acquired an in-house printing business of a pharmaceutical company that produced small literature inserts, adhesive roll labels and folding cartons. By the year 2000, Serrano had divested the labels to concentrate on folding cartons. The commercial work would continue to dwindle and, in 2011, folding cartons completely took over.

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