Profiles

Alain Paquette, together with a silent partner, purchased Artcraft Label three years ago and set out to modernize the Burlington operation, leveraging its experienced team and position as a producer of high-quality pressure-sensitive labels. Founded in 1977, Paquette took over the operation from John and Edna Robinson, who grew Artcraft from a sticker business to an award-winning prime-label manufacturer.

Stepping away from his established career with technology suppliers, Paquette saw huge potential in Artcraft’s strong market position to institute significant operational changes to drive out costs. With his own background in lean manufacturing, investments were made to improve all aspects of the business, from the shop floor to the entire IT system.

Paquette focused heavily in establishing Artcraft’s prepress department, through Esko’s HD Flexo system, including a CDI imager and powerful new imaging software. The move adds more control over Artcraft’s high-quality printing platform housed within a 20,000-square-foot facility. The plant is meticulous in its cleanliness and order and primed for the future, which is likely to include contracting out prepress work, which currently accounts for a very small percentage of Artcraft’s revenue.

What potential did you see in Artcraft?
AP: I realized the market was changing so we came up with a plan to really optimize it… everything top to bottom… all of the software, computers, everything was all redone. We reinvented the whole ERP system. All of our stock is barcoded, for example.

How much cost have you driven out of Artcraft?
AP: We have managed to drop our operating costs substantially by optimizing. Of course, we now have a little less staff... and as a result, we crossed trained a lot of staff to be interchangeable.

How was Artcraft’s print work when you bought it?
AP: The knowledge, the quality, everything was already in top shape. There was really not much work to do there. Those improvements come with time.

What has surprised you most getting into this market?
AP: I saw quality from a manufacturing eye, not from a printer’s eye... there is a lot more that goes into this. [It] was a big eye opener.

Are prime label clients overly demanding?
AP: We search for the ones who are the most particular. It is not just for the margins, but you protect your space a lot better… where not many others can follow.

What is the shape of Canadian flexo?
AP: The funnel comes down very, very fast and we are all sitting at that same size. I call them the single-owner type. There is going to have to be some consolidation at some point, if you want to get efficiencies up. We are at the point where we are starting to eye the market to see who can we work with to create growth.

What are your plans in terms of M&A?
AP: We are looking to acquire… We have set up Artcraft so you can take our installation, especially with what we have done in prepress, and easily double or triple it without that much strain.  

How did you revamp prepress?
AP: We installed Esko Flexo HD. We are noticing with recent demands and SKUs that you really have to push the quality. We do not have offset presses, but you have to get yourself there and basically we are now.

Do you plan on offering prepress services?
AP: We actually do plates for a few other label printers, primarily out of province. With the locals, there is always [a] trust issue, but we are not out to take business.

What applications are you focused on?
AP: We are a good player in specialized high-quality segments. Our focus is local and regional – a 200-kilometer radius.

Beyond prepress, where else have you invested in technology?
AP: In finishing – our flexo can run silk-screen inline, which not many can do in the area. We are present in health and beauty where there are a lot of the requirements to have more than one screen… We found with HD Flexo that we are eliminating some screens now.

Are you planning to invest in digital print?
AP: We have small digital capabilities right now. We call them our helpers. For us, we just really haven’t seen the value. I know there is payback, but the volumes needed to sustain a million-dollar investment is no walk in the park. There are still a lot of limitations in digital technology.

What future goals do you have for Artcraft?
AP: We want to see growth as a good mid-level shop and we are going to get there. It does take time and we are probalby looking at anywhere between a 5- and 10-year window, but right now the architecture is done. We have a team in place that can transfer knowledge and we will start growing from there.

The full Q&A article with Jay Mandarino can be found in PrintAction January 2015

It is hard to argue against stating Jay Mandarino, President and Founder of the C.J. Group of Companies, is the most-visible personality in Canada’s printing industry. By being so engaged in the community, particularly in the hypercompetitive environment of Toronto, he is as much a sounding board for insight as a lightning rod for criticism.

BELLWYCK on September 2 announced the opening of its Center for Innovation & Design at its newest location in Long Island, New York, to introduce emerging packaging applications to clients in the North East. “New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, technology, and art – something we absorb and apply in our innovations to help companies not only grow their business but present their packaging in a luxurious and high-quality manner,” said Greg Keizer, BELLWYCK’s Executive VP, Business Development & Innovation.

An open house was held last week at the 50,000-square-foot Mississauga facility of 4over to celebrate the installation of a 40-inch Komori press. The online-focused trade printer began operating out of its Canadian plant in late 2011.

Ingersoll Paper Box, a folding-carton manufacturer headquartered in Ingersoll, Ontario, held on open house to highlight its new KBA Rapida 106 sheetfed press, among other recent investments.

PointOne Graphics of Etobicoke, Ontario, continues to expand its technological base with a range of new installations like a perfecting Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106, two Suprasetters, a Ricoh Pro C901S, Vivid UV coater and a new MIS.

Jim Colter, Chairman of the Board for Colter & Peterson, has retired from the U.S.-based distribution company after a career that began in 1955. Upon completing high school, Cotler began working for his father’s company, Roy Colter Cutting Services.

Chris Pereira, founder and President of C17 Group Inc., was recognized as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce. He received the award on March 5 during a gala event at the Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts.

The printing plant producing the Beijing Daily newspaper has installed China’s first Goss M-800 web press, which the operation’s parent company plans to leverage to compete in the region’s commercial printing market.



Moveable Inc., which was founded as Moveable Type in 1983 as a small typesetting shop in Toronto, celebrated its 30th anniversary this past October, reflecting on enormous change over the past three decades.



This week marks the 75th anniversary of the first xerographic image created by Chester Carlson. The technology is the basis of toner printing and copying technology.


Van Son Holland Ink Corporation is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year. The company will commemorate the milestone with a new software program and a new logo.

“We are very proud to have recently celebrated our 140th year in business under the original family ownership.  We look forward to continuing this rare story of producing high quality printing ink products into future generations," stated Joseph Bendowski, CEO of Van Son Holland Ink Corporation of America. 

Van Son was founded in 1873 by Philip Van Son and is now led by his great grand-son, Maurits Van Son. In the 140 years since, it has grown from a modest ink-making business to an international name in ink production. The company has offices in the Netherlands, U.S., England, China and Korea.

Chicago-based Schawk celebrated its 60th anniversary by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange last week.
Multi Bookbinding (or Multi-Reliure in French) was founded in Suzanne Ferron in 1988. The company was purchased in 2007 by the partnership of Yvon Sauvageau, Louis Barbibeau and Patrick Paquet (son of Ferron). The company, which resides in a 56,000-square-foot facility, is known for being one of the largest case binderies in the country and also as a large producer of perfect binding, creating more than five million books a year.
 
Below are some photos from the event.
 
 

As thousands of eyes continued to watch the specially installed chimney on the Sistine Chapel’s roof for telltale sign that 115 voting cardinals have decided on their new pope, some of the Vatican’s first official correspondence about this ultimate catholic succession will be printed on a new Meteor DP8700 XL press.

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