Large-format Printing -- Many Profit Paths
The Quality Swing
Since there is little money to be made in cutting bait, Doug Rawson—president and CEO of Superior—opted to purchase a Roland 900 XXL. A little more than a year later, a 63˝ KBA Rapida 162a sheetfed press was added. The swing in quality, reduced makeready times and degree of throughput was palpable. The presses were such a game changer that Superior experienced growing pains.
“We terribly underestimated the amount of training and the errors that could occur due to the complexity and speed the sheets were coming out,” Rawson admits. “We underestimated the length of time and the expenses involved. Some people are good drivers at 90 miles an hour, but not at 200 mph. So, we had to make some personnel changes because of it.”
Superior serves the folding carton and litho label market for the corrugated box industry. Oversized posters and store signage are also on Rawson’s menu. Most customers consist of packaging brokers and advertising agencies that resell.
Rawson has been in the audience at various industry association events and cringes whenever he hears the assessment that “packaging is the growth area.” While it may not be shrinking like the general commercial market, Rawson cautions that package printing has its own issues.
“This is not a panacea,” he says. “Those printing packaging are struggling to fill their equipment. We’ve been doing it a long time, and we’re very good at it, but it’s still a battle with people and technology internally. If it were that easy, we’d be doing $280 million a year instead of $18 million.”
In the case of Ultimate Paper Box (UPBX), based in City of Industry, CA, an area that was most under-estimated was in sales growth. Earlier this year, the printer installed a six-color KBA Rapida 162a with coater and double extended delivery. Janak Patel, UPBX president, estimates the company has reaped 25 to 30 percent more business during the span, whereas the expectation was closer to 5 to 10 percent.