Portland, Oregon firm outshines competitors and maintains double-digit growth
KBA North America, a global press manufacturer based in Dallas, Texas, announces that Rose City Printing and Packaging, a general folding carton printer located in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, has purchased a KBA Rapida 105 41-inch six-color sheetfed press with coater. The firm began installation of the press at its new Gresham, Oregon facility in January 2010 and expects the press to start production in March 2010.
“The KBA press is a key ingredient to maintaining our substantial growth and leadership in the market,” says Steve Lobis, Rose City’s co-owner, vice president, and general manager. “It will be the centerpiece of our newly-opened Gresham facility where we will be producing a mix of specialty packaging for the 40-inch market for food and beverage customers.”
The KBA Rapida 105 41-inch six-color press plus coater being installed at Rose City Printing and Packaging features a speed of 18,000 sheets per hour, board package up to 48 point, direct drive technology, fully-automatic non-stop delivery, declutching for all units, universal grippers requiring no adjustments between any substrate thickness, fully-automatic coater plate changing, an eco-friendly rating with internationally-recognized certificate as “emission-tested,” as well as a computer-controlled air setting with memory. It also provides Rose City with a larger sheet size and image area than the older 40-inch press from a different manufacturer, which is being replaced.
Lobis admits that the company sized up other press manufacturers before purchasing a KBA. “But we felt that KBA made the best fit for our packaging production and had the highest reputation in the packaging sector. Their press really stood out above and beyond the rest.”
In addition, Lobis cites the Rapida’s ability to print thicker substrates than other competitive presses, its reputation for durability, its ability to go from paper to board with no manual changes, and its premier local service and fast-growing 40-inch installation base in the Portland region, as further reasons for sealing the deal to partner with KBA.
For most of the past decade, Rose City Printing and Packaging has fulfilled its aggressive growth plans and maintained a steady double-digit sales trajectory that would make most printers envious. “For the last eight years we’ve posted a 15% to 20% sales growth each year,” says Lobis. “But this year will be our most successful year. We will post a 30% to 35% sales growth in 2010.”
What is the secret behind Rose City’s success? “We’ve developed a sterling reputation for service,” he says. “We outshine our competitors in responsiveness, turn-times, and customer service. Our employees have a 30-minute mandate to respond to our customers. That’s what differentiates us from our competition. We provide our employees with training and industry knowledge to allow them to become a resource for our customers. If a customer has a question about their graphics, a typical printer will get back to them in hours or days. Not us. Our philosophy is to provide a smooth, fast response. For example, a customer might send out design requests to ten different printers for a job and the deadline is one to two weeks; we get the design back to them the next day and we’ll have won the job and have it being produced before the other printers even send back their proposals.”
While the new Gresham facility is on track to open in early spring, the 120 employee company is also moving their corporate headquarters to Vancouver, WA and closing down the current 107,000 sq ft operation in NW Portland. The 80,000 sq ft Vancouver facility, which was opened in August 2007, will house the management team as well as two larger KBA 56-inch seven color presses where it will produce printed folding carton packaging for corporate clients in the region, including Starbucks, Continental Mills, and Harry & David.
Rose City was founded in Portland in 1945 as Rose City Paper Products. By the 1960s the company had changed its name to Rose City Paper Box and was operating as a respected local litho printing company. In 1990 the business was moved from several buildings in southeast Portland to one 107,000 sq ft building in northwest Portland. In 1997 the company changed its name to Rose City Printing & Packaging. As the company moved from one century to another, its management team re-invented the organization from a small, local, owner-operated shop to a professionally-managed regional player. A board of directors and a new strong management team was named to guide the company into the future. The leadership team is made up of Steve Lobis (vice president and general manager), Chris Farm (operations), Todd Smith (quality), and Jeff Hall (sales). In 2007 after four consecutive years of record-setting growth, Rose City opened a second facility in Vancouver, Washington, effectively doubling its capacity.