PRX Print (Mississauga, Ontario), a leading Canadian label converter founded in 2010, has been providing full-service packaging solutions to customers across virtually all industries. It carved out its niche as a print broker offering clients “one-stop packaging shopping” including printed labels, forms, boxes and shrink sleeves. It also provides marketing services such as graphic design, packaging consulting and support services – such as tradeshow and product rollout programs to support branding strategies. Due to increasing demands, printed labels became a much larger part of its product mix, and the company was experiencing aggressive growth in demand for cost-effective, short-run digital labels with fast turnaround times. Trends toward “just-in-time” ordering, small-quantity, multiple-version printing, coupled with often-changing label regulations and the need to contain costs, were key factors in driving this growth. As a brokerage, PRX Print had limited control over the production process and timelines, illustrating an opportunity to leverage these trends with the ability to offer extremely fast label printing turnaround times. To maximize profitability and increase customer satisfaction, owner Debbie Gilbert began the search in early 2017 for an in-house, leading-edge label printing solution that would empower her team to meet the stringent demands of her customers. “We recognized a need for fast turnaround times and high-quality finished products, and we decided to gain control over this aspect of our business,” she added.
Gilbert researched a variety of digital label printing technologies and products, and her search led her to the recently launched Mark Andy Digital One Hybrid Label Press. Within a short time (the press was up and running in February of 2017), it was clear that this press would be the key to fulfilling her needs for an entry-level digital machine to produce high-quality, affordable prime labels for PRX Print’s growing client base. Key features that drew Gilbert to the Digital One were the “pay-as-you-go” no-click-charge structure, its small eco-friendly footprint with minimal waste, its toner-based technology, and its all-in-one (printing and die-cutting) functionality. In contrast to inkjet digital presses, the Digital One’s dry toner technology fuses ink right into the label substrate, ensuring maximum print adhesion and durability. Gilbert knew this was particularly important for food and beverage labels, a market that PRX Print specializes in.
Additionally, the hybrid feature means the Digital One has a flexo print station that can be used for embellishments such as cold foil, spot colours, varnishes and lamination. Finally, the flexibility of the Digital One to print small-run, multiple-version high-quality labels with inline die-cutting was perfectly aligned with PRX Print’s core goal to penetrate that specific market. “We looked at other presses on the market and nothing compared to the Digital One in terms of balancing features, cost and quality,” she said. “The Mark Andy solution meant we didn’t need to make an additional investment in separate die-cutting equipment. I also knew the Mark Andy reputation in the printing industry was exemplary.” When their Digital One was delivered, she and her team received training at their facility in Mississauga, Ontario. One week later, they received an urgent request from one of their long-time customers in the fresh produce industry. Sound familiar?
“A couple of days after training, one of our customers called us in a panic,” she recalled. “He had a truckload of fresh blueberries that had arrived in clamshells without labels. If he didn’t get them labeled within 24 hours, they’d go to waste. Had we been still just a broker, we wouldn’t have been able to help him. But I told my customer that yes, we can do it! Our in-house graphic designer came up with a design based on a photo the customer provided. It was approved and printed within hours, and the entire order was delivered the following morning. That was the first job for our Digital One. Could I have done that before? No! It’s been very empowering to assist customers like this ever since. I still have the first two blueberry labels that came off our press framed on my desk as a reminder.”
Since that success, PRX Print has been able to support many clients with same-day printed samples for new product launches, small batch labels for colour testing, and provide same-day or next-day custom label design and printing on an ongoing basis. Bottom line: The company was already experiencing aggressive growth in sales and profits prior to acquiring its Digital One, growing by over 45% in 2016 and over 25% in 2017. But in 2018, Gilbert projects business growth at more than 50% over 2017, primarily due to their new in-house printing capabilities and customer responsiveness. She already has her eye on additional opportunities to expand the label manufacturing side of her company. PRX Print also plans to tap into its label embellishment features such as decorative cold foils and spot varnishes – and she sees advanced, inline decoration as another avenue for revenue growth in 2019.