Partnership idea will get pushed to new ranges, “highlighting potentialities of shut collaboration between converters and types”
Partnerships between converters and types matter in right this moment’s fast-changing, dynamic packaging business. Many companies make such collaborations an enormous a part of their technique, however few have taken the partnership idea to the extent discovered at Colombian versatile packaging converter Litoplas. Add in its intricate strategy to Expanded Colour Gamut (ECG) flexo printing, which, in line with the corporate’s Chief Buyer Officer, Luis Mora “has solely been doable to implement efficiently with FLEXCEL NX Plates,” and also you’ve bought an award-winning enterprise technique.
Based in 1967, meals packaging varieties the majority of manufacturing at its manufacturing plant within the northern metropolis of Barranquilla (a second plant will open in Guatemala in 2023). The Litoplas web site describes the corporate’s mission as “delivering distinctive options via the design, improvement and manufacture of versatile packaging”, and its imaginative and prescient as turning into manufacturers’ “first-choice associate for versatile packaging worth.”
The partnership between Litoplas and its prospects was one of many issues that caught the eye of the judging panel on the Miraclon-sponsored World Flexo Innovation Awards, the place Litoplas gained a Silver Award for achievement in two classes: Gravure-to-Flexo Conversion and effectivity in Print Manufacturing Workflow. The judges famous that Litoplas’s entries — all of which had been examples of ECG printing produced with FLEXCEL NX Plates — “highlighted what may be achieved when converter and model work carefully collectively.”
‘Solely FLEXCEL NX Expertise makes ECG doable’
Litoplas first added ECG printing to the toolbox in 2015. “We had seen ECG at drupa, and at first sight it appeared magical due to the effectivity and capability advantages it supplied – to each converters and types – particularly as there was a necessity for shorter turnaround occasions in addition to a rise in SKUs. Nonetheless, it additionally appeared utopian, as a result of at first the all-important statistical course of management was lacking. Anybody might purchase a machine, the inks existed, however with out strict course of management you couldn’t reap the productiveness advantages. For us, that was a essential shortcoming, which wasn’t rectified till FLEXCEL NX Expertise got here on the scene.”
By the point Litoplas invested in a FLEXCEL NX System in 2017, he recollects, “we understood what we wanted to make ECG work, and the flat-top dot made all of the distinction. Our earlier expertise was suffering from pinholes and voids that produced poor knowledge for course of management. The flat-top dots delivered the exact, predictable and constant coloration. With out that, wonderful ECG printing is inconceivable.”
There are different methods wherein FLEXCEL NX Plates allow ECG to point out its potential, says Luis. “We will print extra vivid colours with out utilizing extra ink, which provides to the on-shelf affect at a aggressive value. And the flat-top dots don’t put on, they keep secure in the course of the run so we cease the press much less for changes.”
Tightly embedded partnerships
Luis Mora’s title as Litoplas’s Chief Buyer Officer testifies to how tightly the corporate has embedded partnership with prospects on the coronary heart of the enterprise. To make sure this, Litoplas has formalized the idea into two fashions — a ‘Partnership Mannequin’ designed to ‘construct belief via collaboration’, and a ‘Packaging for Worth Mannequin’ that goals to construct worth via expertise.
The fashions are the results of a lot cautious thought and evaluation, as Luis Mora explains: “We’re a really technology-focused firm, and the thought of making use of expertise to create worth is essential to us. However we acknowledge that it’s important that our shoppers belief us to offer the extent of expertise and help that’s proper for them.” He goes on to elucidate how the Packaging for Worth Mannequin achieves this. “The mannequin has 4 ‘Ranges’ — 1 via 4 — to which prospects are allotted relying on which of the applied sciences in our toolbox finest match their necessities. The upper the Stage, the extra of our applied sciences the shopper can name on.”
A serious advantage of this strategy, he continues, is “it prevents us overpromising and underdelivering, as a result of if that occurs it damages belief. Take ECG for example: we solely supply it to prospects on Stage 3, as a result of they’ve the best degree of technical experience.”
The ’Partnership Mannequin’, in the meantime, enhances this strategy by reimagining how Litoplas’s individuals work with their prospects’ inner employees. “Companies right this moment are too advanced for a one-to-one relationship alone, so now our construction encourages fluent conversations between all our individuals engaged on the account and the corresponding contact on the buyer. On this manner, each dialog between the 2 corporations is top of the range, which builds belief.”
Persistence, onerous work and belief drives ECG adoption
As with all radical new expertise, persuading prospects to implement ECG printing requires endurance, onerous work and belief between converter and model. The rationale why Litoplas solely offers ECG to Stage Three prospects turns into clear when Luis describes the negotiations concerned in planning a typical gravure-to-flexo conversion. “There are occasions when for FLEXCEL NX Expertise and ECG to play to their strengths, the shopper may want to alter the design barely. For instance, we advocate printing small typefaces in a single coloration to keep away from any chance of misregister. Or, the pastels enabled by FLEXCEL NX Plates are an enormous profit manufacturers can play on. A mature dialog like that doesn’t occur the primary time you speak. But when we’re speaking after profitable the shopper’s belief, it’s a special matter.”
The execution of the profitable entry, Cordillera Darkish Chocolate packaging produced for Compañía Nacional de Goodies, is a major instance of the Litoplas partnership technique in motion, and of the corporate’s revolutionary strategy to promoting expertise. The fee was a direct results of a ‘Packaging Academy’ Litoplas organized to point out the shopper what ECG is about — as Luis places it, “to point out the professionals and cons, and the way finest we might reproduce their paintings.
“We requested the design workforce to present us a extremely difficult job, and so they did. It was a premium-quality chocolate product, at present in cardboard packaging however which they wished to change to versatile packaging. The colour of the chocolate on the packaging needed to precisely match the product itself, and since for a interval each types of packaging could be aspect by aspect on the cabinets, it was important there was no distinction in coloration between the cardboard and the versatile packaging. In addition they wished to get the product to market as shortly as doable and produce a comparatively small amount.”
Litoplas met the necessities in each manner, utilizing inexperienced, orange and violet in ECG to render vivid, dense colours that the shopper appreciated, and exactly matching the background coloration. In a radical strategy to paint measurement, to match the colour of the chocolate Litoplas went as far as to unfold actual chocolate on a sheet of Pantone white paper and measure the colour utilizing the colour measurement system.
Bettering typical expertise
As Litoplas prepares to broaden into Guatemala subsequent 12 months, ECG printing will proceed to be central to the corporate’s providing — a lot in order that one of many three new presses in Guatemala will probably be a custom-built Bobst machine devoted to 100% ECG manufacturing. “As for the way large a share of manufacturing ECG can attain,” says Luis, “emigrate prospects to ECG we have to construct an ECG expertise that’s higher than typical expertise. We imagine we’re busy doing that.”
He provides that Miraclon have supplied wonderful help thus far, and he expects this to proceed sooner or later. “We actually worth their help to boost print capabilities and press efficiency. With the in-country technical help right here in Colombia, any points have been solved promptly – one factor Miraclon has is adaptive capability, backed up by persistence. We couldn’t have been as profitable as we’ve got been with out our partnership with Miraclon.”