Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS) has its heritage in the healthcare, media, and consumer goods markets, with a proven track record of customer focus, creative ideas, technical innovation, and manufacturing excellence. Recognizing industry trends toward more frequent, smaller-sized orders, MPS has developed a hybrid approach to manufacturing which combines flexographic, digital, offset, and rotary letterpress printing to achieve the desired graphic results for any given project. Success is derived from listening to customer needs and combining talent with capabilities to achieve superior results in print and packaging.
When MPS began building a network of leading print and packaging companies in January 2005, it included a division in Indianapolis, Indiana, formerly known as Hilltop Press. MPS-IN houses a digital, on-demand department known as "EXPRESS." The department name says it all - they specialize in on-demand, fast-turn digital and variable print. Beth Coleman-Valdettaro, Director of Digital Technology at MPS-IN recently provided insight into how DesignMerge has helped them to meet client challenges while expanding their business opportunities.
- What business challenges have you faced in the VDP market?
While the graphic arts industry has been singing the praises of variable data printing for years, few printers have been able to take their customers beyond the basic typographical mail-merge, direct-mail application. Because many customers fail to grasp the concept and value without visuals, MPS was challenged to develop a variable customer offering that could be easily presented and understood by non-data-oriented clients. Using DesignMerge to create interesting variable graphic images in QuarkXpress files helped to sell the concept, employing big-impact messages to a specific customer audience.
One customer had been struggling with the need for customized signage featuring a variety of products and pricing in more than 2000 sales locations. MPS designed a customer-specific solution using the client's data to create consistent artwork templates, variable signage and digital prints, customized down to the location level. The original application in 2004 was designed to do 16 different signs for multiple locations daily. The scenario today includes more than 100 different product signs in various sizes and materials, all customized and shipping to dozens of markets weekly.
- Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?
We chose DesignMerge because it fit our customer's application perfectly. There was a need to interface with QuarkXpress artwork, and be compatible with Xerox DocuColor printers. Much of the graphic content of each sign was photographic or contained design-elements, as well as type. The application had to interface well with the customer-provided data, as well as the Fiery RIP on the digital printing devices. Over the last several years, DesignMerge has retained it's strength and flexibility in an ever changing world of technology offerings. It was, and continues to be, the ideal variable solution for this complex customer application.
- What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?
The success of the display and signage program led to variable sales binders and promotional materials-all customized to the individual location's pricing and product offering. Many products have transitioned from large conventional press runs to print-on-demand orders. Currently, 80% of the digital work printed at MPS-IN is variable.