Concurrent with the recent installation of its second Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105, Copac, Inc., a global packaging firm headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., is intently focused on growth.
Founded in 1970, Copac was a small carton manufacturer and label producer with around 70 employees before CEO Jerry Lux took the reins in March 2009 and accelerated the pace of growth. Today, the company’s North American operation provides packaging services to domestic and global customers in the tobacco, healthcare, consumer products, home fragrance, and food and beverage markets, focusing on high-end folding cartons, labels, inserts and hang tags.
Copac’s sheetfed offset capability represents a growing percentage of its overall volume, thanks to its twin Speedmaster XL 105s, which print up to six colors with the ability to reproduce the most demanding graphics. Flexo and rotary letterpress capabilities include up to eight colors with in-line coating, diecutting and embossing. The company’s digital presses offer 7-color printing with high image resolution on a variety of substrates.
Of the Speedmaster XL 105, Lux said, “The capacity of output, the reliability of the machine, and the quality that comes off the press at 18,000 (sph) is unmatched by anything else on the market.” Adding a second Speedmaster XL 105 gives Copac substantial open capacity and redundancy—“All the better,” Lux continued, “to accommodate the company’s plan for continued growth.”
“With the proliferation of SKUs and fast-changing market requirements, customers need a packaging vendor that can control cost without running up inventory,” said Alan Parnell, Copac President. “The fast makereadies and efficiency of the Speedmaster XL 105 technology fits that bill perfectly.”
Lux expects Copac’s quality control to improve even further when the company links both of its high-performance XL presses to the completely redesigned generation of the Prinect Image Control spectral measurement system early next year.
Global Presence, Customer Focus
Copac has additional operations in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia, and most recently built and equipped a new manufacturing plant in the Dominican Republic that features an all-Heidelberg workflow. The new facility complements Copac’s existing Central American operations and provides a cost-effective, single-source printing and converting solution for package production needs in the region.
Summarizing Copac’s activities over the past three years, Lux said, “We expanded into a building across the street. We relocated and reconfigured our sheetfed operation. We reinvigorated the company culture. We bought our second Speedmaster XL 105, along with additional folding, gluing and labeling equipment. And for the past year-and-a-half we’ve done all this while building a new plant in the Dominican Republic. With ‘Phase One’ behind us, we’ve turned our attention to applying new ideas and state-of-the-art capabilities to our existing customer base and the markets we serve, as well as to reaching a broader audience for our products and services.”
Copac’s primary competitive advantage is its relentless focus on the customer. “Many larger public companies tend to concentrate on driving assets and delivering short-term earnings, losing touch with their customers in the process,” said Tom McRae, Vice President, Marketing. “We felt there was an under-served market niche waiting to be filled by a smaller, privately owned company nimble enough to offer a strong set of core capabilities while innovating and expanding the range of products and services it provides.”
One Need Drives Another
Already a major producer of digital labels, Copac’s growth strategy centers on maintaining its core strength in sheetfed offset production while expanding its digital carton business. In addition to the Speedmaster XL 105, Copac recently added a new digital press to its arsenal.
“A lot of people are doing digital labels, but not a lot of people have an effective system for doing digital cartons,” said McRae. “We’re excited about the opportunity, not just to sell digital cartons, but also because it will drive business throughout our other processes. Customers who need digital cartons are also going to need offset cartons.”
Copac regards its digital and sheetfed presses as complementary technologies, Lux added. “One of the limitations of digital is that it has a very small footprint. Beyond quantity, a lot of cartons just won’t fit on our digital presses. Our base technology is sheetfed offset, and we complement that with flexo and digital. We certainly intend and expect to be using all three processes for many of our customers.”
“Credibility in the Marketplace”
With its two Speedmaster XL 105s and a close relationship with Heidelberg, Copac is well positioned to capture additional offset business.
“The partnership we have with Heidelberg is really terrific and gives Copac credibility in the marketplace,” Lux said. “We bought technology that is unquestionably the best, and that gives us the highest level of performance and efficiency. It allows us to meet the market demand for lower cost and less inventory. That’s what customers are looking for. In a struggling economy, the fact that we’re buying equipment and investing sends a positive message to our customers and the broader market. Packaging buyers who are looking for more from their vendors are going to seek out companies like Copac that are on a clear path to growth.”