We read a lot of articles and company profiles in the packaging trades that describe companies who are growing their businesses by focusing on a specific niche of the market and developing specialized offerings to serve that niche. I recently interviewed Preston Herrin and Patrick Green of trade printer 4over headquartered in Glendale California who described for me their new offering 4over Packaging. Preston, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Patrick, Director of Product Management walked me through a characteristic of what has made 4over one of the fastest growing printers in the country and, according to Preston, is the largest Trade Printer in North America. This characteristic is not a special material they run on a specially designed finishing line, it is not a special coating they have designed to give special barrier protection, 4over’s “special sauce” is a highly tuned process that standardizes and streamlines every process from order entry through fulfillment.

4over is a pioneer in the on-line printing market serving resellers of print all over North America. Since its founding in 2003 by husband and wife team Zarik Megerdichian and Tina Hartounian, CEO and President respectively, 4over has honed its skills in process automation starting with a highly sophisticated online ordering portal. In that time they have taken a standardization and process automation approach to all facets of their business and have grown to eight locations across the country and still growing. According to Printing Impression Magazine’s 2013 list of leading printers 4over is listed at number 44 with $115 million in annual sales with 705 employees.

In March of this year 4over launched 4over Packaging to address the demand they have seen for high quality, short run cartons and labels. They offer an extensive list of carton and label shapes, layouts and finishes in order quantities as little as 50. Typical orders for cartons are for 500 to 1000 units and are often for as many as 10,000. Typical label orders are for 1000 to 2500 labels with some orders for as many a 15,000. Because many of their customers are printers, print brokers, they can intuit market demand but methodically assess their direction with open channels for customer feedback. High on the list of market demand are specialty coatings and finishes for which they offer an array of options all through 4over Packaging’s on-line ordering portal. Preston stressed that while some of their trade service customers serve end users with small local brands many are providing packaging for high-end Health & Beauty, Gifts & Promotion, and Food & Beverage products.

The company sells much of its packaging materials through commercial printers who are looking to leverage their relationship with existing customers who need packaging as well as brochures and collateral materials. In this way a commercial printer can offer an expanded range of services to their customers without having to invest in the equipment needed to do the work themselves. “In this way a commercial printer can test the waters before making a large equipment investment” says Preston “or not make the major investment at all but continue to offer their customers quality packaging through us.” In addition to commercial printers 4over Packaging’s trade customers include quick printers, designers, marketing services and photographers all who have relationships with end users they can leverage into print sales through 4over and now packaging sales through 4over Packaging.

While much of 4over’s success over the years has been through standardization on everything from process to substrate the company is expanding their product offerings on a regular basis. There will be an increasing number of products offered by 4over Packaging as the company continues the roll out through the year.