A perfect day at the folding carton plant

Its a sunny morning. You arrive at the folding carton plant. No traffic delays on the way – a smooth ride with a fresh Starbucks latte in the car’s cup-holder. For once, nobody was in your favourite parking spot. It promises to be a good day

On the way from the parking lot to your office on the first floor you meet your sales manager. He informs you that the order book is full right up to the end of the year due to the new FDA and EU regulations on food labelling that is due to kick in. Your brand owner customers need to be compliant without jeopardising their retail inventory: this means a lot of job re-designs and re-prints.

Jobs managed more efficiently

Once at your desk you find the monthly report from the Operations Director on top of the pile. You quickly glance through the executive summary and the key message sticks out: customer orders are handled 25 per cent faster compared to last year and the prepress and press departments are handling 45 per cent more jobs at lower cost. Project management overheads have reduced significantly and approval cycles are much better managed, thanks to the Esko WebCenter web based packaging management software that was recently deployed. As a side note – your Operations Director confirms in the report that to achieve this, it took only five days to deploy with zero capital expenditure in IT equipment: it’s a SaaS solution for which we pay a monthly fee and well worth the expense.

Right first time

On your way to the coffee machine you bump into one of your customer sales representatives and you join her for an espresso. You are glad you did – as she reports that, thanks to the new Esko Packaging Preflight tool embedded in Automation Engine, the automated prepress workflow from Esko, 0 per cent errors have slipped through to production in the past month. This is record performance. Typical prepress related errors like barcodes and die-cut lines in overprint are detected and corrected automatically.

More good news

In the monthly report from the Print Department you notice a staggering OEE increase from 35 per cent to 65 per cent. The implementation of Expanded Gamut Printing processes using Esko Equinox was quite an effort. We had to change most of our proofing and press setup and standard operating procedures – but now the press crews are very happy: they no longer need to wash ink all day instead of actually printing. Print and colour quality remain uncompromised. This is a great achievement.

Happy customers

Just before lunch you get a phone call from the brand manager of one of your reference brand owner customers in beauty and healthcare. She has made the effort to call you and confirm that you have just saved her from a £10,500 invoice for studio photography. Your company not only produced the folding cartons for their new cosmetics product in time, but also supplied 3D virtual product shots – computer generated images – for their facebook campaign. This saved them lots of time and money and avoided the need for studio photography. Such phone calls with customers make you feel proud of your business. This success was made possible thanks to the Esko Studio tools and Luxion Keyshot integration.

More time for added-value tasks

On your way from your office to the warehouse you pass the CAD design and prepress department and can’t help noticing the stress-free and smiley faces of your operators. They are finally finding time to create and design that beautiful and innovative package for that important customer. Since the adoption of Esko Automation Engine workflow software all the mundane and repetitive tasks are taken care of. Operators now have more time for expert and added-value tasks in design and prepress. I bet that this new folding carton will be a prize winner at the next ECMA congress.

Waste reduction surprises in postpress

The investment in automation in the digital finishing department is showing great waste savings results, both in terms of material waste savings as well as in operator time allocation to the digital finishing process. The smart setup features, an integration with the prepress workflow system, increases cutting table output up to 20 per cent whilst at the same time generating 25 per cent less waste.

Celebrate success

At the end of a good day in the factory, you decide to invite your CFO for a drink in the bar around the corner before going home. You have a lot to discuss. Your order volumes are up due to increasing the SKU variation of your customers and the regulatory changes enforced upon the brands. Your customers love to work with you – its evident in their feedback and loyalty. Operational profits are up thanks to the recent investments in Esko solutions for packaging management, workflow automation and standardisation. Opex and Working Capital are under control now these systems are implemented – and in a shorter than budgeted timeframe and only requiring a monthly fee. Its time to celebrate.