Advantage Label & Packaging Inc. is a long-time force in the label industry. The business, based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, employs 52 individuals and serves a variety of traditional and specialty market segments within the label and packaging industry. With regards to equipment, Advantage is a 100% Mark Andy operation. Its 32,000 square foot facility is home to a Mark Andy Digital Series, Digital One, Performance Series P5 and P7, two 2200 presses, and an 830 workhorse.
Advantage managed short-run and VDP jobs through 2016 with a small-format digital option. As the industry ramped up on lower volumes and increased personalization, capacity and capability of the desktop device fell short in profitably fulfilling market demands.
Because of this, Brad Knoth, CEO, Advantage Label & Packaging, was seeking consistency and reliability to meet digital requirements for micro-, short- and mid-run jobs. Knoth turned to Mark Andy for a solution that would better serve customers and increase margins. Production test results of our digital hybrids coupled with decades of partnership solidified the printer’s decision to purchase not one, but two Mark Andy solutions: a Digital One and Digital Series press.
Advantage runs both flexo and digital hybrid Mark Andy equipment.
The company installed both machines in late 2017, timing nicely to the integration of new workflow management software. The Digital Series was configured specifically for Advantage’s unique needs. Highly configurable, it consists of 5 multi-purpose flexo stations along with 5 Color UV inkjet capability within the digital module. According to Knoth, “The ability to run the press full flexo- we have 5 conventional stations, is really beneficial, especially on shifts that do not have the full art department support that our first shift enjoys. The hybrid capability and team at Mark Andy backing it up was a key differentiator.”
Additionally, the press was built with a turn-bar, corona treater, and a delam/relam unit, largely to support Advantage’s typical label constructions. The company prints back side adhesives and tags at high volume, alongside other unique flexo and tooling work that nicely complements the True Hybrid architecture of the machine.
While the Digital Series tackles complex applications, the Digital One is exceptional for runs under 1,600 feet shares Knoth. He provides “We created an Express Menu which has 2 material options, 6 quantities, with a guaranteed 48-hour lead time for the D1.” The production team manages the semi-gloss paper and BOPP, along with tooling inventory at the press at all times for the streamlined Express Menu. “The Digital One has done a great job of keeping our Digital Series focused on running the big ticket jobs that are best suited for full production.”
“Mark Andy is ‘Best in Class’ for sure, or maybe better to say ‘in a class of their own’ because of their ability to understand, consult and advise across traditional and digital platforms” Knoth provides when speaking to partnership with Mark Andy.
This degree of consultancy, paired with the onboarding of new software allows Advantage to make optimal production decisions with regard to which asset will best meet customer needs affordably. Knoth says “We don’t want to sell flexo, digital toner or digital UV. We want to consistently provide a proposal and solution that meets expectations with the lowest total cost. Our Digital Series and Digital One are integral parts of that value proposition.”
Looking towards the latter part of 2018 and beyond, Advantage Label & Packaging is highly optimistic. As an opportunistic and agile company, the right technology will help them adjust focus to markets and opportunities as they appear in real-time.
Knoth shares “Our digital press investments tee us up for 20% growth in the first year. But more importantly, our primary focus has always been to chase excellence and overjoy the customers – the numbers always seem to flow nicely with that focus.”