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Article | July 31, 2003
Birds Eye Foods' art management pays dividends
This summer, Rochester, NY-based Birds Eye Foods launched several new sauced frozen vegetables (shown) in flexible bags with prepress work executed through an agreement with Vertis, an integrated marketing and advertising solutions firm.
The three-year deal commenced in January.
“In the past prepress for Birds Eye packaging had always been facilitated by our suppliers (converters)” says Mark Kleehammer the company’s packaging procurement manager. “Suppliers have either performed these tasks internally or outsourced them to a third party adding an administrative fee for services provided. We were looking to not only save costs but also to gain greater control of our digital assets including films and digital files. In the past we had little control over the prepress process and had lost control of valuable graphic assets due to the lack of a true archiving system. This made it difficult to transfer business if we wanted to change vendors.
“A centralization of prepress services and the digital asset management system hosted by Vertis will better position Birds Eye Foods as a low-cost producer by reducing total costs and improving productivity” he continues. “Outsourcing these functions to a single source allows Birds Eye associates greater flexibility to focus on core business while retaining control of the process.”
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Vertis coordinates the prepress services and works directly with converters that print Birds Eye’s packaging. “And this goes across several substrates including flexible films cartons and labels” notes Kleehammer.
The program will involve printed packages for all of the Birds Eye brand(s) including Birds Eye Frozen Vegetables and Meals Comstock and Wilderness Pie Fillings Brooks Beans Nalleys Chilis and Stews Bernsteins Salad Dressing as well as for private-label and foodservice/institutional offerings.
The contract involves Vertis’ VisionBank TDW™/Packaging system that helps manage the packaging prepress process including setting up and approving jobs scheduling work tracking progress communicating task assignments proofing online and exchanging asset files.
How will Birds Eye justify the switch to outsourcing its prepress work? “It is eliminating the mark-ups by converters” he says. “But we also know there were soft cost savings due to the elimination of duplicate efforts elimination of mail routings speed to market and the leveraging of prepress business to a sole supplier.
“[Justification] was one of the problems we had early on in trying to pitch this project internally because senior management wanted to know the savings prior to contracting for services with Vertis. It was difficult to arrive at a final number so there were some assumptions made” says Kleehammer. “But we’ve already gained greater control of the process and we also know [we’ve made improvements] in speed-to-market for our products.” —JB
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