Inland Packaging in La Crosse in Wisconsin, USA is an amazing packing printing company that has grown over the past years. Part of the success is due to the company’s investment in Tilia Labs Phoenix. As Business Analyst & Programmer Willie Spindler explains in this film, the time reduced on setup is maybe more than 50%. When we made the film Phoenix was mainly used for the offset presses in La Crosse (6 Heidelberg XL-machines), but Inland Packaging is soon going to use Phoenix also for their digital presses as well as their flexo-machines.
Visiting printing companies like Inland Packaging is always great but being in La Crosse and see a company working with so many different types of labels and with so many brands shows the diversity of software like Tilia Labs Phoenix and the efficiency you can achieve using brilliant software.
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And when is a label printing company primarily we are working into flexible packaging as well as some shrink in psl business. We do in Lacrosse here, a large amount of cutting sac type packaging. We have several other facilities that we do with flexible packaging as well as psl products. Uh, it’s a family run company. They treat their employees like family. They are very good to us. It’s company that’s grown immensely since I’ve been here. When I started, I think we had two xl presses. I think we’re up to six excel presses. So yeah, it’s a great place to work. We’ve definitely experienced change. I wouldn’t call it crisis, you know, we’ve been planning for this for a number of years. We know our markets were changing and that we have to adapt with them. Some things have changed quicker than what we thought they were gonna some things not so much, but it’s definitely something we’re growing with the times and we’re changing our model to fit what our customers need.
The idea that we’re working with potentially like smaller size print runs, if you will, um, means that we have to be much more agile. You can’t have as many people in as much time being taken to set up something that’s not going to take as long to print. So the idea that we are continually investing in new equipment, new software, new technology is because partially we need to to keep up with the market, but it also really fits in with our, um, corporate structure and our goals as an organization that we want to stay one step ahead of our competitors.
So one of the bottlenecks that we see in that is simply the upfront processes to get it to production. You know, things that work when you’re smaller don’t work when you have y’all bold, triple, quadruple the orders coming through. So the amount of manpower needed to force those through and get to even production can sometimes be daunting as those orders ramp up. Those are challenges that specifically my team has combated, um, along with assistance from several other departments to try to streamline those processes, bring those down so that from order to production, the amount of effort required is as minimal as possible. So before we got tilea labs, it was a very manual process. Um, are, are comboing gang run process involved. Essentially our planner is looking at a set of demand orders and kind of through just tribal knowledge and years of experience picking and choosing what they thought would be the best. We had some calculators built that would do the math for them and if the numbers didn’t look right and they try something else. So it was a very, very manual process and a lot of just guessing until we got to what we wanted.
A couple of our vps were at a trade show several years ago to say about three, four years ago, they ran into actually hybrid solutions. I’ll mention their name here, who had worked with Telia and they mentioned this solution. We brought them in for a demo. Started working with them and realize this was exactly the software we had been looking for. It would answer 80 percent or more of what we needed the software to do and it’s been a great, I’ll say, investment from our end, from beginners
situations. Great. You know our, our planning department specifically saves a huge amount of time with this made for customer orders. Again, it’s hours worth of time that are being saved. We’ve got integration built up front that feeds Phoenix, these demand orders, so there’s no issues with data entry problems. The information’s accurate and it gets in there quickly. Phoenix does a great job, but we’re ratioing knees with minimal, I’ll say interaction from our planning folks, you know there are some manual steps they will have to take, but then we also use the exports that are available from Phoenix to then feed downstream systems. So again, we’re eliminating duplication of data entry and we’re eliminating errors that could potentially happen downstream. That streamlined process has saved huge amounts of time in our planning department. Carrying that over into our prep department. Having a fully imposed layout has cut the amount of time they have to spend in a half, you know, they don’t have to go through and manually impose the artwork into these layouts anymore. They’re basically taking a fully step pdf and, and, and creating plates from. Absolutely. It’s something that we haven’t, we’ve just begun exploration on it, is doing more of these combo jobs on the Flexo and digital worlds. We’re very, very early into that, but it is something we’re absolutely looking into and Phoenix is definitely something we’re considering is how can it help us in those worlds.
Part of our strategy is we want to continue to support those large brands and have the capabilities needed to do that. Um, but again, like I said, we’re seeing a lot of success and, and quite honestly enjoying working with these smaller brands. So bringing in flexographic printing capability and absolutely our digital print capabilities fit right within that, but digital specifically as something that’s very different from our traditional, if you will, business. So the idea that we’ve had to bring in new systems, new technology software, and even, um, change a lot of our processes because they need to be much more agile to keep up with what the demands of a digital print production process are.
So one of the features of Phoenix we use is called the cover sheet and were used that cover sheet to automate some of our finishing functions and help us sort those combo jobs into the right box, help us eliminate those mixed bundles that would happen and were wrong. Label gets into a wrong box. We use that cover sheet for Phoenix is, it actually allows us to embed product information in that Barcode as opposed to just a dummy number. Uh, and so it gives us much more usability out of those verification systems to insure we aren’t making any mistakes and ensure that we are accurate with our customers.
Fantastic. Um, these guys have been super responsive to all of the questions and requests that we’ve had. Being an early adopter obviously means our voice gets heard early and that was part of the reason. One of the things that actually attracted us to it, you know, we had some specific solutions we had in mind in ways we wanted things to work. These guys have been really responsive to all of those types of change requests, adding features as we’ve requested them, and usually within several months, you know, a lot of the bigger guys, you make a feature request and it might be a year if you’re lucky you. We’ve usually seen feature requests within a few months and so it’s been great for that. Absolutely. I think it’s done everything and more that we wanted it to. We’ve been able to cut many, many hours out of our process stream. That upfront process stream. We talked about Devlin investment. I make again.