PRX Print is a unique label converter – founded in 2010, this Canadian company has been providing full-service packaging products to customers across virtually all industries.
They carved their niche as a print broker offering clients ‘one stop packaging shopping’ – printed labels, forms, boxes and shrink sleeves. Additionally, they provide marketing agency-type services such as graphic design, packaging consulting and support services such as trade show and product rollout programs to support branding strategies.
Due to increasing demands, printed labels became a larger part of the PRX Print 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, illuminating an opportunity to leverage these trends with the ability to offer extremely fast label printing turnaround times. To maximize profitability and increase customer satisfaction, Debbie Gilbert, the owner of PRX Print, began the search in early 2017 for an in-house, label printing machine that would meet the demands of her customers.
Gilbert said, ‘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 researched a variety of digital label printing technologies and product offerings, and her search led her to the recently launched Mark Andy Digital One hybrid label press.
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, the toner-based technology and its all-in-one (printing and die cutting) functionality.
The Digital One’s dry toner technology fuses ink into the label substrate, ensuring maximum print adhesion and durability. Gilbert knew this was key for food and beverage labels, a market 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 colors, varnishes and laminations. Finally, the flexibility of the Digital One to print small-run, multiple-version labels with inline die cutting was perfectly aligned with PRX Print’s core goal to penetrate that market opportunity.
Gilbert said, ‘We looked at other presses on the market and nothing compared to the Digital One in terms of balancing features, cost and quality. 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, Gilbert 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.
Gilbert explains: ‘A couple of days after training, one of our customers called us in a panic. He had a truckload of fresh blueberries that had arrived in clamshells without labels. If he didn’t get them labelled 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, “We can do it.” Our in-house graphic designer came up with a design based on a photo the customer provided, and 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.’
The company was already experiencing aggressive growth in sales and profits prior to acquiring their Digital One, growing by over 45 percent in 2016 and over 25 percent in 2017. But in 2018, Gilbert projects their business growth at more than 50 percent over 2017, primarily due to their new in-house printing capabilities and customer responsiveness.