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Boutwell Owens turns packaging into a marketing channel with next gen digital printing and cutting.

It's the 10th inning. There's a rain delay and it's past midnight. Nobody knows who will win the final game of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Boutwell's HP Indigo 30000 is ready. According to Bill Hodges, VP of Sales & Marketing, “We had a contract with Titleist to produce their World Series Commemorative foil, golf ball packaging immediately after series end. Electronic files for both teams were in the queue of the HP Indigo 30000 for the packaging. All we had to do was choose which file to send to the press. Not one dime of inventory had to be tossed. And while the whole country buzzed about the end of the Curse of the Billy Goat, Titleist boxes were printed that very morning as the world awoke to the news. First off production from an introductory short run was available that afternoon for a project that experienced numerous repeats and solid performance in the market.”


Boutwell Owens is redefining what is possible in package production with digital print.
The factors leading to Boutwell Owens' decision to embark on next generation digital printing have to do with brand owners who want personalization and a more proactive approach to the management of numerous SKU's with very dynamic demand profiles. Says Hodges, “We were seeing SKU proliferation and eroding SKU volumes as well as declining lead times—a result of the pressure for product introductions and shorter product lifecycles. We all know that the desired consumer experience puts a big focus on brand differentiation. But, until now, digital printing was just utilized for smaller runs. Technology like the HP Indigo 30000 lets us version easily and achieve offset printing quality at competitive speeds, and with personalization that is truly groundbreaking. Boutwell's HP Indigo 30000 is one of a kind in North America with a double TRESU coater integrated into the press design. Variable data, variable imaging, and Mosaic printing are all changing the game and allowing brands to tell their story. And the print quality is amazing.”
         With marketing migrating towards the point of sale, clients are attracted to the type of customized and intricate variable cutting that only a technology like Highcon's can provide.
There is also growing need to produce conventional folding cartons and cards in lower volumes, ever more frequently in a demanding timeline. Says Hodges, “The adaptability of both printing and cutting platforms has changed the game for us and our clients, as we work to tell their story.”
         In addition to the HP Indigo 30000 and Highcon Euclid II Plus, and most recently, the Highcon Beam, Boutwell had another key partner in their digital collaboration. Adds Hodges, “The HP Indigo 30000, with its In Line Priming capability, facilitated Boutwell's use of its house SBS stock, International Paper's Everest, supplied by our partner Veritiv, to manufacture the majority of our digital folding cartons. The reliability and dependability of Everest made digitally ready by the ILP has helped us service our digital clients. We also run an endless variety of virgin and recycled stocks”

With the HP Indigo 30000 and Highcon technology, Boutwell Owens creates a new paradigm—democratization.
We've seen the impressive marketing campaigns of global leaders like Coca-Cola's “Share a Coke”, Bud Light's music festival packaging. Until now, this kind of personalization was the exclusive choice of big CPGs. Boutwell Owens now makes this versioning available to smaller brands. Think about all the regional players, like craft beers, locally sourced energy drinks and small personal care brands that can now achieve the same level of sophistication and personalization as Coke. Says Shelagh Hammer, Marketing Manager at Highcon, “We are truly moving into a world where every consumer can get a package that speaks directly to them—in their language, with a nod to their culture and deference to their personal style. We're seeing packaging become it's own marketing channel. People even share images of it across social media. We can do seasonal packaging changes, using sleeves to enhance existing packaging mid market, to promote and move products without the need to move them into secondary market channels. This gives brands exciting options to adjust their marketing strategy mid year without rethinking the entire packaging platform.”

How does the marriage of these technologies deliver business advantages?
According to Hodges, “The speed of digital printing is great, but if you get stuck at the finishing stage, you've got a bottleneck and you can't keep up with your production requirements. By marrying the HP Indigo 30000 to Highcon's technology, Boutwell changed all that. It's a new frontier; we had the courage to purchase and integrate these systems into our DNA, and we've become evangelists for the new technology.”
             Other advantages are numerous. According to Oana Manolache, Marketing Manager for HP,“Brands can do focused campaigns in smaller, segmented channels and create eye catching 'Outrageously Cool' products. You can be more nimble in terms of supply chain support, order just what you need, and save money on warehousing. The combination of the HP Indigo 30000 and the Highcon technology enable a breathtaking new adaptability of print and cutting and creasing. Brands can tell a more intimate, personal story. Plus rapid response allows you to lead the market, like the Titleist story.”

Digital cutting and creasing adds a whole new dimension to consumer packaging.
In addition to the benefits of this new, high volume digital print quality, the Highcon technology adds dimension and personality. Says Hodges, “As a packaging converter and designer, Boutwell could only go halfway doing just digital printing.”The same metrics that drive economies in print follow suit in cutting and creasing. So adding the Highcon Euclid II Plus and then the Highcon Beam was essential. In fact creative embellishment is gaining in terms of market expectation. Before the Highcon technology, short run cutting and creasing was limited by tooling constraints. The design options in digital cutting and creasing are almost limitless, creating a new paradigm. And the equipment excels when running short run folding cartons as well, getting clients to market in shorter minimum runs and in shorter lead-times. A new unfolding application is the creation of customized sleeves to wrap existing packaged product to add seasonality and holiday promotional opportunities, without changing the basic packaging footprint.

Market dynamics are moving toward mass customization.
In the future, personalization will be the norm for companies big and small. “Folding cartons today in just North America,” says Hodges, “exceed $8 billion in revenues. And small independents make up 20 percent of that market. We see a $400 million increase in revenue for digital in the North American market by 2020. More units will be deployed and folding cartons will be used in new applications and in new markets where they didn't make sense before. Digital packaging and the humanizing enhancements it enables will become more a requirement rather than an option. Brands that opt out risk losing market share.”

Boutwell Owens—a tradition of innovation.
Since the turn of the century when Boutwell Owens launched a package for the Victrola needle, the company has been committed to disruptive technologies. CEO Ward McLaughlin says, “We have always stayed on the bleeding edge. We can replace time-consuming manual processes for prototyping and samples, as well as cost-effectively accommodate runs as short as one and as many as a million. Since it's all digital, variable data is built in for etching and cutouts. The bottom line is that we can do things everyone has been told you couldn't do.”

See how next generation packaging works. Visit Boutwell Owens at EastPack and Luxe Pack.
In addition to celebrating their 130th anniversary in 2017, Boutwell is showcasing their new digital technology suite at leading tradeshows during May and June. Says Hodges, “We are thrilled to be in the company of such forward thinkers as HP and Highcon. We believe in this spirit of risk taking and democratization that we're a part of, and can't wait to see the creativity it unleashes in our clients.”