The program, Sun Chemical Next Generation Customer, is designed to help form relationships with future business partners, customers, co-suppliers and possibly even employees.
The idea of the program started through a partnership with the Phoenix Challenge Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the growth of the flexographic printing process in the educational system throughout North America. The Phoenix Challenge was created to develop a competition between flexography students at a variety of different colleges and high schools throughout the US that teach prepress, platemaking, printing skills and basic theory.
The college competition begins every year during the Flexographic Technical Association’s INFO*FLEX show. Students from each of the schools are given an assignment that includes finding a customer, understanding their marketing and sales goals, developing a package or label to help sell the product, and printing the final package and/or label.
Sun Chemical’s Next Generation Customer program helps students in the Phoenix Challenge by sending experts who give advice and teach all aspects of the ink business in the printing process from color matching on different substrates to how to incorporate special effect coatings.
This past school year, Sun Chemical piloted its Next Generation Customer program at Central Piedmont Community College, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. After assessing the needs of the college, Sun Chemical donated its SunMatch computer software to help the students achieve success in the Phoenix Challenge. SunMatch helps students more accurately achieve the right brand color on a variety of substrates and understand how to achieve colors through scientific numbers.
Throughout the school year, Sun Chemical experts came to the college to teach and give hands-on experience to help students understand every aspect of the ink business in the flexographic printing process.
During the 2016 FTA INFO*FLEX show, students from Central Piedmont Community College presented their rebranded labels for the start-up Triple Whammy Sauces and won awards for the best execution and best design categories of the Phoenix Challenge.
‘We’re so grateful for all that Sun Chemical has done to help make our students successful in our flexography program,’ said Kathy Rummage, executive director of communications at Central Piedmont Community College. ‘Seeing our students achieve success in the Phoenix Challenge and learning the skills they need to flourish in their future careers has always been our goal.’
Charles Murray, president of North American inks at Sun Chemical said, ‘The Phoenix Challenge is a great way for Sun Chemical to help train our future customers in the flexo industry with the tools they need to understand the color process and science that goes into ink. The experience gives students a realistic interaction with professionals in the industry. We’re grateful to Central Piedmont Community College for the opportunity to interact with these students and it is our hope to build on our experience here and expand our Next Generation Customer program to other colleges with flexographic programs.’
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