Labels & Packaging: A Big Opportunity


Staff member
Labels & Packaging: A Big Opportunity
By Noel Ward

Most commercial printers these days are looking for ways to expand their businesses. And no wonder! Run lengths and overall demand are continuing to decline, and while most shops have at least some digital printing capability, over capacity remains a concern–because no one likes an idle press. To fill those gaps in press time, a growing number of commercial shops are looking at packaging, the segment of printing that is not only stable, but is expanding with no limits in sight.

But for most commercial shops, adding package printing to your repertoire is not necessarily a simple task. Packaging is a broad market that involves multiple printing technologies, a host of applications and categories, an astonishing array of substrates, new finishing requirements, and has an established army of service providers, most of whom are well aware that commercial shops are looking for entry points into their territory.

That territory starts with the “low-hanging fruit” of packaging–labels and folding cartons. These are the entry points for commercial shops, especially those with digital print engines. While there is a learning curve, it is hardly insurmountable and the upside is gaining new, profitable opportunities that can expand your business and even transform it, making your shop a larger and more influential player.

Over the coming months, we will be examining the opportunities that exist for commercial printers in the packaging space. We’ll talk about the technologies, the types of printing involved, the best applications, and how you can go after new business–some of which may even be with customers you already have.

All of this is important. Package printing is a market poised for growth and there is no reason why any savvy commercial printer can’t take advantage of the potential. But packaging is a different world, so much so that some packaging printers don’t think of themselves as printers at all. Entering the market means acquiring some new skills, using some equipment differently, and having sales conversations with different stakeholders than those for commercial print jobs. But commercial printers have never been shy about taking on new challenges, especially when there is opportunity.

Finally, in the spirit of PrintPlanet, we want this to be interactive. We need to hear your thoughts and get your feedback. If you are already doing some packaging work, we’d love to have you share some of your experiences–both the good and the bad. There is more business out there than any printer can handle and much of it is likely to come from zip codes far away, because that’s the nature of our always-on, networked world. And you can do it, because after all, no one is better at fast-turn, immediate response and on-time delivery than commercial printers.

So stay tuned to what we have coming. And buckle up. It’s going to be a great ride.

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About the author:
Noel Ward is a noted industry authority, writer, frequent conference and event speaker, and a trusted advisor on nearly all aspects of digital printing. His career spans all facets: marketing communications, research, video production, copywriting and marketing strategy services for technology vendors and commercial, direct mail and transactional print providers.

Noel has edited five printing industry magazines–most recently the editor-in-chief of packagePRINTING magazine–and has written hundreds of articles, blogs, white papers, case studies, and produced promotional and training videos for industry leading companies. His primary focus: communicating ways that digital printing can be a driver for business growth, productivity and efficiency.
Initial thoughts for commercial printers: Please don’t ruin this vertical market by creating a “race to the bottom” on price alone. Learn the lessons from general commercial print. The same applies to wide/grand format display graphics and signage, again don’t make the same mistakes again.

Stephen Marsh
I work in labels and packaging. I like the challenge and we are constantly running R&D jobs to see if different techniques will work. My favorite packaging is shrink film, always cool to distort all the art to fit the bottles and see how it turns out once it is shrunk on.
hi anyone there who can solve this for me. when we print on met pet with white, cmyk with drip effects we find the ink peels off. any solutions please


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