Package printing, in general, follows the same success path as general commercial work. After all, the clients of both disciplines require high quality and prompt turnaround at a competitive price point.
“It’s not as difficult as it looks, but it takes some key ingredients to make a good recipe,” Kornbau says. “You have to do it better, cheaper and faster. There are a lot of things internally that you can do to lower your costs, like sheeting and making your own dies.”
The Garvey Group, Niles, IL, ventured into large-format printing in the 2004-2005 time frame. From the beginning, President Ed Garvey brought in experienced package printing professionals with production and sales knowledge, but it wasn’t just to provide a smoother startup.
“One of the biggest slams against us early on was that we didn’t come from that world,” Garvey recalls. “I didn’t have credibility among the buyers. Competitors were going to our customers and saying, ‘What do they know about package printing? They’re commercial printers.’ That quickly melts away, though, when you put an experienced team together.”
That trust, however, can slip away in a hurry. Garvey points out that with large-format sheets costing in the $5 to $8 range, you need to be comfortable, and competent, in your material handling abilities. And, when multiple vendors are involved, potential headaches can transform from minor to migraine.
Garvey recalls a situation in which a third set of hands ruined the work done by his firm.
“We printed an attractive job that was going into a lot of stores. It went from us to a diecutting shop, then a laminator. Unfortunately, the laminator did something wrong and the piece essentially de-laminated.
“The customer had to go through the entire supply chain, and we went through the chain trying to figure it out. Did we use the right coatings? Did the diecutter have the right scores? Did the laminator have the right pressure and the right laminant? The liability for that is exponential...it doesn’t take many orders to go south for you to have a major problem.”