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Kevin Karstedt talks Packaging Front-End at drupa 2012

Published on May 18, 2012

Cary is back with part two of her interview with Kevin Karstedt at drupa 2012 talking packaging, this time focusing on the front-end. They also get into 3D visualization and Esko.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi.  I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink and I'm back with Kevin Karstedt, who's CEO of Karstedt Partners.  Welcome.

Kevin Karstedt:  Thank you for having me.

Cary Sherburne:  Drupa 2012.  We talked about the back-end printing and finishing and packaging and today we'd like to talk a little bit more about the all-important front-end, which, you know –

Kevin Karstedt:  You can't do it without.

Cary Sherburne:  Key thing for brand owners is faster time to market, keep my costs in line and make sure the color's right.

Kevin Karstedt:  Right.  You got it.

Cary Sherburne:  So we saw some really interesting announcements here along those lines.  For example, PantoneLIVE, which is the spectral database in the cloud for colors and Esko of course being a leader in the market has a lot of announcements around 3D visualization and color management.  So maybe you can talk a little about that and anything else interesting that you've seen in the front end of the packaging market.

Kevin Karstedt:  PantoneLIVE really fascinates me and I still got to get that – I've talked to the people and I still got to get that full demo of it.  But I've actually worked with them on the front end of developing the concept for it.  And it's a fascinating concept.  It's being driven by a lot of different factors.  The nice thing about this is its driven by package printers.

Cary Sherburne:  Right.

Kevin Karstedt:  They usually kind of push back from this kind of stuff, it's being driven by them.  

Cary Sherburne:  It's going to save them a lot of time and money.

Kevin Karstedt:  It is.  It is.  And it's going to help the brand owner.

Cary Sherburne:  Right.

Kevin Karstedt:  If it can get market acceptance and if we can get everybody on board with it.  The brand owners are clamoring for it.  They need it.  It has to happen.

Cary Sherburne:  And you know as I've talked to some of the other vendors I mean their initial partners are Esko and Sun Chemical, but as I've talked to some of the other vendors are you talking to Pantone about PantoneLIVE, they're all saying, yeah, yeah we want to be part of that, we think it's important.  So I think they'll get some good adoption.

Kevin Karstedt:  I think they will and I think it's once the traction kind of starts that it'll catch on because there's a need for them.

Cary Sherburne:  And then the whole 3D visualization thing.  I mean, there are other solutions besides Esko out there but maybe you can just talk about why that's important.  

Kevin Karstedt:  Well the Esko initiative is important because it fits with everything else.  I mean, people, you don't have to buy anything else.  It's just there.  It's part of it.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  It's part of it.

Kevin Karstedt:  And it all fits together.  You know, I've heard some numbers -- I've heard the Esko folks talking about how high percentage of – I won't use the number they used – but it's an extremely high number of or percentage of packaging around the world is touched by an Esko product.  Now a lot of that is touched in the early stage.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, they have a very high number.

Kevin Karstedt:  Yeah.  Yeah.  Now – we won't get in to all of that.

Cary Sherburne:  We won't go there.

Kevin Karstedt:  But it is.  It is.  It's touched so that the people have the tools, they're part of the suite, and it's a great company to be developing because it fits together.

Cary Sherburne:  And now I find it really interesting that Danaher, who's their parent company, is now also in the process of acquiring X-Rite Pantone.  So they'll be in the same family and that should – they've been working together but that should produce some really interesting dynamics.  

Kevin Karstedt:  If they can synergize that.  

Cary Sherburne:  If they can synergize.

Kevin Karstedt:  I don't know whether that's possible or not and how it's compartmentalized in –

Cary Sherburne:  They're in the same – they're in the product identification.  They're in the same group together with VideoJet and one other company.  So their whole goal is to – not make them the same companies but really…

Kevin Karstedt:  Right, right.

Cary Sherburne:  …cross pollinate.  And the challenge though is X-Rite Pantone is really just now being able to integrate those two companies.  So they got to get that done and then see what happens from there.  

Kevin Karstedt:  It will be a challenge and it will probably happen from the top down.

Cary Sherburne:  Oh, it has to happen from the top down.

Kevin Karstedt:  And try to figure out how that goes but the synergies are there. 

Cary Sherburne:  It's exciting.

Kevin Karstedt:  And it would be – it would really help the industry as a whole – probably them too – but the industry as a whole if it could be done.

Cary Sherburne:  But the bottom line is you know that packaging convertors need to really look at a holistic approach that starts with the design, the concept, the ideation, all the way through to the ink formulation and the production.

Kevin Karstedt:  Well, and the poor packaging convertor has always been the tail of the dog that's been wagging.

Cary Sherburne:  Exactly.

Kevin Karstedt:  And but now they're -- things are --

Cary Sherburne:  They have an opportunity to drive change.

Kevin Karstedt:  Yeah.  Yeah.  They do.

Cary Sherburne:  If they work with the brand owners.

Kevin Karstedt:  Yes, and that's the way it has to happen.  There has to be a trickledown from the brand owners.

Cary Sherburne:  Absolutely.  Great.  Thanks.  

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