Left to right: Aaron Chap, Bruno Lemay (behind), Farida Belarbia, Annick Garcin and Shawn Desmarchais (President).
If there is one word that sums up everything Produlith does, it would be speed. It is difficult to boil down everything the company does to such an extent; its extensive service offering includes packaging manufacturing, printed prototyping, labelmaking, flexo and offset printing, die-cutting, gluing, a full pre-press service, and an impressive suite of graphic and structural design services for the pharma, food, beverage, health and beauty, and commercial sectors.
But everything about Produlith, from its rapid growth into a powerhouse of the Canadian packaging sector to its enviable turnaround time for jobs, is focused on an impressive level of speed that never compromises the quality of its products.
This could be a symptom of its location; while it has flitted around the Quebecois suburbs several times during its four-decade history, it has never strayed too far away from Montreal. Currently located in Boucherville, on the opposite side of the St Lawrence River to Canada’s leading technological city, Produlith has quickly grown from a small printing house into what president Shawn Desmarchais describes as a one-stop shop for all things print and paper-based packaging.
“We can provide folding cartons, labels, and flexible packaging, while also guiding clients through the graphic design and structural design process,” Desmarchais explains. “We control all our production and services under one roof.”
He has been president since 2006, when he took over from his father and company founder, Paul. The company was founded as Produlith Enterprises in 1981, with a small site in the city of Longueuil. Its rapid growth meant it moved to larger sites twice within the next ten years. Following Desmarchais’ appointment as president, the company’s ambitions grew further as it expanded into wider aspects of the packaging industry.
So, what is the secret to Produlith’s continued success in a number of highly competitive categories? “The heart of the company relies on the quality department that ensures all jobs are properly run to our customers’ standards,” Desmarchais says. “We tend to target mid to large corporations who value high standards of production. These clients have specific quality standards that our quality department must deliver on.”
This versatile, customer-led business model would not be effective without technology in place to support it. It means that Produlith needs to be able to trust its suppliers to deliver a solution that ticks all its boxes, while providing a genuine upgrade in production speed and capacity.
When the time came for the company to boost its capacity further, it decided to acquire a new folder-gluer and die-cutter at the same time – a sizable investment. True to form, what could have been a painstaking process was handled very quickly – in large part because Desmarchais already had confidence in where to look.
“BOBST was the only provider we looked at,” he confesses. “We were looking for reliable equipment at the cutting edge and due to the reliability, service, and reputation of its equipment, Bobst checked all our boxes.”
The relationship between Produlith and Bobst goes back many years. “Our relationship has always been very special to us. We are always treated so nicely,” he adds. “My wife and I were even invited to visit Bobst HQ in Lausanne a few years ago, and we were received with such class. The Bobst team is incredible and is always there to help. The equipment is just as reliable and is high-tech. When we realized we needed new machinery, we contacted our representative Rob McGillis, Sales Manager at Bobst North America, to open discussions and talk about the different options available to serve our needs.”
Commitment to quality
Those needs were ultimately met with two new solutions; Bobst NOVACUT 106 ER die-cutter and VISIONFOLD 80 folder-gluer. “Purchasing two big machines in the same year has been challenging,” admits Desmarchais, “but we knew the features of both would be very much worth it.”
The Produlith team was given a crash course in both machines to ensure operators were familiar with the controls and capabilities of the new equipment. As a result, the company that has grown accustomed to speed is now going faster than ever.
The new machines also offer more than a simple speed boost – they unlock all-new possibilities for Produlith to exploit. “We will be installing an automated vacuum to the Novacut to increase recycling while dividing different cartons automatically,” explains Desmarchais. “This is a great sustainability initiative we can work on, made possible because of Bobst.”
In an industry where growth can be slow and precarious, Produlith is a shining example of what is possible with drive, ambition, and a commitment to quality.