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Print Matters - In Conversation with Kerry Wilson

This month we caught up with Kerry Wilson, our Print Services Manager to discuss the dynamic world of printed flexible packaging, how the future is shaping up and how we help our customers around the world get from design concept to finished product. 

Tell us a little about your passion for print. 

I’ve spent 15 years in the printing industry and have been lucky enough to work with international brands and leading retailers to bring a variety of exciting projects to launch. No two days are ever the same and it's such a buzz to deliver projects to meet customer requirements within timelines… however short they may be! It’s very satisfying to be involved in a project from design concept right through to signing off the finished print on press in the knowledge that we’re providing a great product to our customers. The technology available within the industry gives multiple options of getting from A to B – from the highly innovative flexographic to rotogravure and digital solutions. What I love about my role here with KM Packaging is the freedom to find the best print solution for our customers, which encompasses all types of printing methods and can suit long and short run requirements because we are not tied into using one particular print type or press. 

You’ve been with KM Packaging now for nearly three years – how are we doing at keeping ahead of the game? 

We’ve worked extensively with our partners throughout the UK and Europe to create a network of outstanding certified printers, which means we have access to a complete range of advanced, modern technology and can offer a truly comprehensive print service. Plus we can combine this service with perforation solutions including hot needle, laser and macro hole punching. What sets us apart is our innovative supply model meaning we can be very adaptable to meet our customers’ requirements and our technical expertise in flexible film materials and their applications is invaluable. 

From the outset of every project, we’re on hand to advise what’s needed to achieve the best result. My job is very much about making the whole process as seamless as possible for our customers. We manage all the detail – from artwork to print requirements – and keep on track of project timescales. The systems that we’ve put in place ‘behind the scenes’ means that our process is sleek and streamlined and we press pass the finished product. Our customers can be confident that they are in expert hands when it comes to their printed flexible packaging. With our innovative systems, robust supply models and an expert team taking ownership of the process, I believe our service really is hassle-free, letting our customers focus on other aspects of their business. We excel in delivering what our customers want, when they want it. We have a ‘right-first-time’ approach to our print work and we’re committed to exceptional results, to making sure our customers’ printed flexible packaging is an outstanding representation of their brand.

How have KM Packaging been able to streamline the process?

Actively managing the print process is key. Integral to the service we offer is our sophisticated management information system that we have developed with our partner Creation Reprographics. We worked very closely in consultation with our customers to ensure this system delivered the key benefits of expedited speed-to-market, transparency, traceability, control and 24/7 service, which is essential for our customers around the globe. Essentially it means our customers have a personally branded area, which allows them access to 'live' project status updates with all parties involved receiving notifications on any developments, actions or amends. It’s an online portal from which we can manage our workflow and our customers have been very satisfied with the result. 

So, what would you say are the key advantages for our customers to using a bespoke online workflow ? 

Since the new platform has been live, we have reduced total turnaround time significantly with each project managed to meet customer delivery requirements. It gives everyone involved in the print process peace of mind. By automating the entire workflow process, we have been able to eliminate duplications and errors to achieve reductions in time and waste, offering real benefits to ourselves and our customers. With round the clock accessibility, our customers can review, annotate and approve graphics files at any time and from anywhere 24/7. The information is then integrated with other applications, allowing us to collaborate and communicate with all partners in the packaging and printing supply chain.

What does the future look like? 

Three key shifts stand out: digital printing, oven-able packaging and sustainability.

I think we’ll see digital printing starting to become more popular for short runs and particularly on personalised and promotional packaging. This is a great service we can offer our customers.

We’re also seeing a move towards oven-able flexible packaging solutions. We’ve developed our OVEN INK system to meet this market trend. Using oven-safe inks, our customers can provide straight-to-oven packaging that gives consumers convenient and safe ways to cook food without having to handle the raw product. At the same time this gives our customers the opportunity to eliminate any unnecessary packaging and costs out of their process.  Compliance is core to KM Packaging with food safety paramount and our technical team ensure our printed oven-able flexible packaging meets regulatory migration testing.

The demand for sustainable packaging is also driving change alongside the development of a sustainable plastics circular economy. Packaging must meet all manner of environmental credentials - reducing the overall amount of packaging used, protecting and preserving food to minimise food waste as well as ensuring waste can be collected through recycling streams. I think we’ll see solutions manifest in many ways throughout the industry as a whole, across all stakeholders. One example is moving to renewable material sources like pulp and pressed board trays and combining these with compostable or recyclable lidding films. Our existing films enable our customers to move to renewable resource trays. It’s been great to work on new projects such as a new pack format for soft fruit going into major retailers. We combined our K Peel PLUS+ lidding film, printed and perforated, with a pulp tray. The result is excellent retail presentation, product protection and preservation while giving a significant overall reduction in plastic packaging.   

I’m looking forward to an exciting future and the challenges and innovation that sustainability brings to the print process. 

What’s the favourite part of your role at KM Packaging?

Our approach. We work very much collaboratively with our customers, bringing our independent print and technical expertise to the table. We work on such a wide variety of projects across the global food market and that really makes my day-to-day work life very interesting – from the confectionery and snacks sector to frozen, chilled and ambient foods. It’s great to work with customers from concept to the finished project and being there to press pass the end result is very satisfying.  

For over thirty years, KM Packaging has been providing printed flexible packaging to customers around the world. We cater for a broad range of markets and product applications and offer one of the widest range of product specifications on the market today. We pride ourselves in offering a fully bespoke print service to complement our specialist lidding films and flexible packaging solutions.

Get in touch today with KM Packaging to see how we can help you.  

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