Montreal-based Aquaflex (then Chromas) manufactured flexographic printing presses for the label and packaging market. The company had not reinvested in new product development so their brand was losing its ability to compete in a technology-driven industry.
Brand credibility was at an all time low and the company was flirting with insolvency. We were asked to help Aquaflex regain its reputation in the industry and get them on the road to recovery.
We realized that one of Aquaflex's presses featured a patented cassette system that allowed jobs to be pre-staged off-press. This significantly reduced down-time and led to higher throughput. We discovered that off-machine changeovers were part of lean manufacturing and realized if we could make lean important in package printing, the Aquaflex press would be the ideal solution.
We contributed “Lean Workflow” articles to trade publications, conducted seminars for printers, and demonstrated how the press supported lean initiatives. Within three months of the campaign launch sales increased.
Early in year two of the campaign, a major trade association conducted a survey of its members who had adopted lean practices and they reported a 40% increase in productivity. Lean had been adopted and Chromas had the best press in the industry to implement it.
In 2004, the company was sold to F. L. Smithe Machinery Co. and we were asked to continue building brand equity. The new owners wanted a 50% increase in sales year over year for three years. We helped them achieve 100% increase in the first year, 98% in the second year and 95% in the third year. In Q4 of 2008 the company reported the greatest sales increase in the shortest period of time in the history of the company.
The brand reclaimed its good reputation and is considered a technology leader in advanced automated servo-driven packaging presses.
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