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FLEXO Magazine : August 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES General Mills Build Brands With FTA Guidelines By Christian R. Bonawandt Consistency Comes FIRST A s a consumer, chances are you’ve occasionally, if not frequently, purchased General Mills products. As a fl exographic printer, chances are you want, if you don’t, have its business. As the world’s fi fth largest food company with more than 100 leading brands, General Mills produces some of the best known brand names in North America—Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Pillsbury, Green Giant, and many others. With a growing U.S. and international presence, this con- sumer product company (CPC) giant takes pride in the consistency and quality of its packaging. “The packaging is the only thing the consumer sees 100 percent of the time,” said Gail Wong, brand design prepress manager for U.S. retail packaging. “They 68 F LEXO may not see the print ad or TV advertise- ment, and some brands don’t get any ad- ditional marketing support, so we strive to get the package to work hard fi rst.” Wong is part of a forward-thinking group within General Mills’ marketing communications group. The General Mills Brand Design Prepress Organization was established with one core goal—to ensure that all package designs are printable and repeatable. FLEXO FRIENDLY The General Mills Brand Design Prepress Organization includes Wong and seven Prepress Associates with a combined experience of 176 years in the industry, 85 specifi cally in packaging. The team offers guidelines for designers and prepress part- AUGUS T 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g ners based on FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifi cations and Tolerances). “Our role has changed from the typical buyer for production art and color sepa- rations, to key consultant for all other functions within General Mills. We work closely with Photography, Marketing, R&D Packaging, Regulatory, Sourcing, Operations, Design Management, as well as our design, prepress and print suppli- ers. We have a very effi cient workfl ow that allows us to get involved far upstream into the design process, and manage it all the way through to the print results,” said Wong. With an estimated 3,000 packag- ing changes per year, approximately 30 percent of all of General Mills’ SKUs are fl exographically printed. Ken Swanson, BUYER’S BRIEFING
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008