Digital Flexible Packaging and Marketing Misconceptions
Key Speaker at Global Pouch 2017 with HP
CEO FOUNDER- Print Solutions LLC/ Terapaq Corporation- The first full circle plastics packaging company be ready for a revolution 2021
Digital printing for pouches is often associated with ultra fast lead times with some companies even promising 3 days delivery and more commonly 10-15 business days from art approval. In this article, I’m going to review why this is a dangerous marketing tool for cpg companies and a better way for your brand or business to manage packaging buying expectations vs reality.
First of all, the idea of being “fast to market” is a nice idea, it offers the customer the ability to not carry inventory, fill orders as needed and fill rush orders if they come up. In a complex manufacturing process like flexible packaging this is a recipe for disaster!
As a seller of these items the last thing I want to do is have my clients thinking that making pouches is easy and we can just make bags at the push of a button. I’m here to tell you this isn’t even close to reality and I’m certain many of you have already seen that to be true. Making stand up pouches or any flexible packaging requires numerous steps, highly skilled machine operators and very tight control over the processes involved from beginning to end.
The most common printing press for digital flexible packaging in today’s market isn’t a fast machine. Generally it’s running between 45 and 60 feet per minute which in printing is very slow. So why do we seem to associate digital printing with speed to market? Well because in today’s world everyone wants everything tomorrow. Thanks Amazon. Oh and the other part of the why on that is because this machine has very little set up. In traditional printing the press alone can take a half a day to make ready to print, the idea of the digital machine is you load the file and hit a button but this isn’t reality for the operator. Not to mention even if you spent half the day setting up the traditional flexographic machine it still outpaces digital by about 700-1000 feet per minute. So yeah, that’s why companies that run big machines don’t want orders for 10,000 bags in most cases. I mean its a half day of set up for 10 minutes of printing and we’re not even getting into laminating that’s another story I won’t bore you with.
So when you’re ordering bags for your business if someone is promising you an ultra fast lead time just remember, that can only work if every part of the process is perfect and there’s no errors. There’s 4 different manufacturing processes to making pouches and all of them are critical. Remember this too, your supplier already has an out on that because in flexible packaging guaranteed lead times don’t exist. Read the fine print in the terms. They don’t exist.
My company offers a 3-5 week lead time on digital or flexo printing for stand up bags at this point. This is a real and accurate lead time, even if there’s an issue we can hit this. What we don’t want is our customers unable to fill orders based on promises that are very hard to deliver on, we don’t feel this is good for anyone. So we don’t sell speed, we sell reality. Oh and one more tip for packaging buyers, order your bags 6-8 weeks before you need them regardless of the lead time provided from your manufacturer. Give yourself a cushion, carry inventory be ready to fill orders without having to make bags. Don’t buy into the hype and get caught with your pants down so to speak.
Anyway if you want to contact me for any reason my email is [email protected] also you can text me 484-538-3938
Have a great one! Thanks for reading!