Case Study: Collaborating Across the Supply Chain to Make Promotions Work


The Customer

Anyone who’s eaten an ice cream cone on a hot day knows that frozen dairy products are temperature sensitive. This presents challenges to manufacturers and distributors when it comes to labeling these products—labels must be able to adhere to the container in cold conditions, and the application process must happen in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the quality and safety of the product. One of our long-time customers, a prominent food and beverage distributor, was grappling with exactly that when figuring out how to affix promotional booklets to the containers for a particular line of ice cream. So they turned to the experts at PrintFlex Graphics for help. 

The Challenge 

The promotional booklets the customer was working with needed to be applied to the top of the lids of the ice cream containers. However, the cartons after being filled were turned upside down, making it impossible to automatically apply the booklets using their existing method. 

Manually unpacking each carton, applying the label, and repacking the ice cream cartons wasn’t an option because it would put the product at risk of melting—ruining its quality and potentially compromising its safety. Furthermore, even if temperature control wasn’t an issue, speed and application complexity were both important factors so our customers could meet delivery times to the supermarkets they served. That’s when we took on the job of helping our customer figure out a way that the booklets could be applied automatically. 

The Solution

We knew speed, temperature control and operation efficiency were chief concerns, so we went about solving the problem further up the supply chain. In these situations, our ability to lease equipment usually does the trick. We explored the possibility of placing a piece of our equipment in the ice cream manufacturers’ facility to apply the labels during production, but discovered that wasn’t possible. We even checked to see if we could place leased equipment in the carton manufacturer’s facility to apply the labels there, but discovered that the carton lids were pre-fabricated, and that solution wasn’t a viable option.

So, what’s a scrappy team like ours to do? We worked with all the teams involved to have the carton lids shipped to our facility, where we applied the booklets using our equipment, and then shipped them back to the ice cream manufacturer so they could be applied during production. With this solution, the ice cream cartons reached our customer ready for distribution with the promotional material already applied. 

The Result

Automating the promotional booklet application helped our customer ensure they could deliver a quality product safely and on time to the supermarkets they served. This solution helped our customer put their promotional efforts into practice without disrupting the flow of production or throwing a kink in their supply chain. Creative problem solving and our unique ability to lease equipment allow PrintFlex Graphics to bridge the gap between marketing and production to create solutions that make everyone on your team’s jobs easier and more successful.

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