Covid-19 upended the business community and created a great deal of stress, especially for manufacturers of essential items. Part of the pressure fell to packaging converters trying to keep up with material shortages, increased quantities, and lockdowns. While some struggled, others had the infrastructure in place to persevere. That’s why these challenging times call for an additional layer of questions to ask a printer during a pandemic:
Seeing is believing.
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Think of Printers as Partners and Dig Deep to Ensure You Have Chosen Wisely
Pre-pandemic converters may have been chosen because of price, location or perhaps a referral. Brands should assess if a printer can easily pivot to a packaging change, increased quantity or a new product launch brought on by Covid-19. When launching a new product not in a brand’s wheelhouse, it’s important to look the printer to recommend the appropriate stocks, films, adhesives, and coatings. Inexperienced printers may not have the technical expertise to choose the right combinations in order to avoid labels that peel off or ink that runs or smears.
To Ensure Quality and Inventory Levels, Look for Printers with Domestically Sourced Material
COVID-19 caused material shortages for many printers that sourced overseas. Have direct conversations to ensure that the converter is well-stocked with your brand’s packaging materials. If you foresee a potential issue, it’s important to know that the supplier has a plan B that won’t impact the packaging integrity and ship date. Shortages aside, most domestically sourced stock and films are better quality.
Ask How Different Elements of the Printing Process are Handled
Turnaround times for printers that farm out steps like pre-press, proof generation, ink mixing and plate making are typically longer. Overnight Labels produces everything in-house, and are not dependent on other vendors, which saves crucial time. This was especially relevant to clients last spring and summer since the essential products they produced were flying off the shelves.
Look for Printers with an Eye Towards the Future
The current crisis won’t last forever. Smart brands and converters know that innovation gives them a competitive edge. Ask about capabilities in areas of advancements like smart labels and mosaic printing. While sustainable options may not be perfect just yet, savvy printers should also offer a well-rounded portfolio that includes film, ink, and adhesive options. Don’t forget to ask about the sustainability steps they take internally to run the business.
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