If, until recently, digital printing was considered the more luxurious choice for packaging of premium products, the last two years have turned it into a valuable component in FMCG brands’ reconsidered high-volume packaging strategy. The post-COVID industry is rapidly shifting towards leaner, faster and more cost-effective supply chains, trying to keep up with increasing demands, paper and labor shortages and growing pressure from consumers for sustainable products. The need for flexibility and fast delivery of merchandise across the globe has created new opportunities for many businesses who are leveraging innovative digital packaging technologies to expand their scope of services and become market leaders. One such business is Vanguard Companies.
Founded in 1975 in Kansas City as a poly bags supplier, Vanguard Companies is today a leading provider of industrial corrugated products, including POP displays, signage, and retail packaging, serving thousands of brands from its multiple sites. In 2018, as part of its operational expansion and in line with its core values of delivering high-quality print and sustainable packaging, Vanguard installed the HP PageWide C500 Press. “Our goal was to provide better solutions to our customers. We wanted to utilize the enhanced print capabilities of the C500 to give our customers the ability to use ink and art to better connect with their customers. The C500 press gives us new abilities with small to larger orders. Our digital offerings allow us to react faster, reduce waste, and provide a better product while streamlining our production flow,” said Jim Beard, Chief Operating Officer, Vanguard Companies.
The majority of Vanguard’s business is in retail display, and the HP PageWide C500 press opened new opportunities for high graphics corrugated packaging. Three years after installing the press, Vanguard successfully utilizes it to offer its customers affordability, flexibility, and speedy time-to-market.
“With the C500’s single-pass thermal inkjet technology, direct-to-board printing and advanced media handling, we have optimized our production floor with the flexibility to print one to thousands of boxes, even with last-minute changes,” said Ed Wonnacott, Director, Business Development, Vanguard. “I’m thrilled to be able to offer my customers the option to print artwork variations and implement high quality graphics at an affordable price. With that, I have the flexibility to ship fast, while cutting production time by at least four days compared to offset. This has had an immense impact on our scope of business and the advantages we can offer.”
Vanguard’s customers benefit from speedy delivery of packaging and display programs in superb quality, with smooth tone transitions, vivid colors and accuracy, all very much needed in the complex POP display jobs performed by Vanguard.
Vanguard used the C500 press to produce end-cap POP displays for Belkin for use in Walmart stores. Belkin wanted an engaging, cost-effective display for its wide assortment of Fast Charge products to boost sales and encourage impulse purchases. It needed to be visually appealing and easy to ship. With a simple design structure and digital printing on the C500 press, Belkin met the display budget. Close to 1400 displays were shipped pre-assembled and were delivered on time to retail locations.
Safety and sustainability are key values in Vanguard’s Companies quality strategy. “One of the major reasons we chose the HP press back in 2018 was its true water-based inks and sustainability advantages. Thanks to the C500 we managed to remove tons of bleached white litho labels and reduce carbon footprint significantly,” said Beard.
Vanguard is just one example of a global trend in which converters worldwide are increasingly turning to digital printing for high-volume production, helping brands optimize their supply chain, sustainability and efficiency, as well as raise customer engagement.