Technology-driven international growth
The flexible packaging industry has grown tremendously over the past 10-15 years because consumer demands have changed. Whereas you may only have had few variants of chips to choose from in the grocery store, today we have a broad variety of different flavors and more niche markets, so manufacturers have to adapt to demands and produce custom packaging in smaller quantities and with shorter lead time.
Parag Patel, the Managing Director and CIO at ePac Flexible Packaging explains that the ‘just in time’ concept with need for print on demand and faster turnaround time required ultimate flexibility at ePac in order to run a successful company that could respond to market demands:
“We needed a flexible platform to service our growth and scale quickly. But at the same time, the ERP system had to support a fairly complex production process, because everything for us is custom. Just think about the processes needed to produce a custom package from printing to laminating and pouching all in different sizes with literally hundreds of structures that need to be created on the fly with different attributes like zippers or hang holes etc. We needed something that is very flexible, so while NAV (Business Central) is a good open product, we needed the extra flexibility to adjust and adapt to our changing needs and types of input like structures etc. We need to fully understand the exact costs of producing an item based on customers’ specifications in a quick way. One of the key items for us is to provide a customer with a quick answer of how much something will cost them.”
“We have 23 plants in operation at this point in time, all with a relatively small footprint. There are no traditional servers or data centers. We build everything in the cloud. That gives us advantages in terms of redundancy, overhead, and capital investment”
Parag Patel, Managing Director and CIO, ePac Flexible Packaging
Parag elaborates on the importance of faster turnaround time: “The ‘instant’ nature of things had caused customers and consumers to become very demanding in terms of turnaround time. We have to be able to turn around a complex solution very quickly and then we have to be able to produce it very quickly. We have a great partner in PrintVis and that makes our solution feasible. In our industry, flexible packaging alone in the US is about a 40-billion-dollar industry and is currently growing at about 5.5% CAGR. Some of the things we are doing here at ePac have been done in other commercial applications, including labels, but with the complexity and number of variables inherent in flex pack, we really needed the ability to adapt technology to our business model, not the other way around, and PrintVis helped us do that.”
Why did you choose PrintVis Cloud?
“One of the aspects of the solution we were looking for is that we reduced the burden on infrastructure. We have 23 plants in operation at this point in time, all with a relatively small footprint. There are no traditional servers or data centers. We build everything in the cloud. That gives us advantages in terms of redundancy, overhead, and capital investment. It is critical to us to expand globally with this modern environment in the cloud. So, we needed a stable cloud platform that could be scaled out quickly from one plant to over 20 plants in a matter of 3 years. The companies that embrace it and invest in a modern solution are the ones that succeed in the future.”
ePac was originally founded to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the flexible packaging industry. Today they are partnering with brands of all sizes to help consumer brands achieve better brand presence. ePac opened their first manufacturing facility in Madison, Wisconsin in 2016 and today they have over 20 locations around the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, West Africa, and the Asia Pacific region.
For more information about ePac please visit epacflexibles.com
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