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FLEXO Magazine : September 2011
Industry Indicators Cutting Costs on Film, Paper Banding Consumables Label Printers Look to second source suppliers to Fill Needs By Magdi Bichay In the printing industry, automatic and self-standing band- ing machines are often utilized by cut-and-stack label printers to bundle flat or folded printed material for pack- aging and transport. Unfortunately, such materials are often available only from sources that hold a virtual monopoly on pricing. This adds to the cost of the consumable and can put the printer at the mercy of delays in delivery. As a result, many cut-and-stack label printers are looking to wean themselves off a single source supplier in favor of a U.S. second source supplier to reduce costs, freight and delivery time. With a qualified domestic supplier, printers can get the same quality of banding film or paper at a lower price without being locked into a single source. Since this is an item that must be continually ordered, savings go directly to the bottom line. Companies that manufacture self-standing and automatic banding machines, such as Wexler and Felins ATS U.S . 2000, Blumer Bandall, PB 110, Akebono, Adolf Mohr, Polar, Heidel- berg and others, are almost exclusively located in Europe. Related U.S . entities typically have the rights to sell the equip- ment domestically. When the equipment is first purchased, it will arrive with the first shipment of the banding material and re-ordering information. There’s frequently been just one choice provided by the manufacturer for these supplies, which has ensured little price competition. Because of limitations in choice, manu- facturers are positioned to dictate recommendations for the required product and who to deal with. Since most OEMs of banding film and paper supplies pro- duce these materials overseas, this has increased required lead-time. It can also put label production schedules at risk, should the manufacturer-controlled supplies ever be delayed or disrupted. Complicating matters, most traditional packaging material distributors don’t have the knowledge or converting capabili- ties to provide these films or paper, so they don’t offer them. Only a rare combination of a paper and film distributor and converter is qualified to enter this market. The result is little to no true competition, which can mean that alternative sources that could reduce cost are not even sought out. Opening the market to qualified competition in the U.S. has many benefits for cut-and-stack label printers. Unlike overseas suppliers, which can take weeks of lead- time to restock banding supplies, including production and shipping, a domestic source can ship standard stock the same day and most special stock within a few days. Savings on domestic vs. international freight is also considerable. n About the Author: Magdi Bichay is general manager of specialty sales and marketing at Pacific Packaging Products Inc. , a film and paper manufacturer, distributor and converter based in Wilmington, MA. He can be reached at: 800-777 - 0300, ext. 2350; or firstname.lastname@example.org. BROADER CHOICES • Reduce freight and delivery times. • Domestic sources ship same day. • Qualified competition has many benefits. Paper and film rolls are slit down to meet banding machine manufacturers’ specifications. www.flexography.org sePteMBer 2011 FLEXO 45