Packaging design management electronically efficient

Midlands Packaging Corp. (Lincoln, NE), manufacturer of folding carton, corrugated, and thermoformed plastic packaging, found a new platform for customer service.

In December ’01 it launched an online packaging design database, WebCenter, provided by Esko-Graphics (Vandalia, OH).

“In the past, it was time-consuming to manage paper and phone communication with customers regarding hundreds of packaging design specifications,” says Brent Lindquist, design and die room manager at Midlands. “Our customers can now log on to the Internet and have instant access to all their critical packaging information at any time of the day or night.”

According to Lindquist, Midlands’ WebCenter acts as a packaging specification-retrieval and -return database. Designs can be e-mailed or downloaded in a variety of electronic formats, including PDF and ArtiosCAD.

American Tool Cos., a maker of hand tools sold through retail outlets, was the first to explore Midlands’ new opportunity to speed up production. “With WebCenter, our packaging department has saved a day or two by going online and instantly retrieving existing diecut specifications to apply new graphics and obtain 3D renderings for customer presentations,” says Kristen Bohlin, merchandising design manager for American Tool, Vernon Hills, IL.

The navigation is quite simple. At www. midlandspkg.com, four American Tool packaging engineers have access to enter the WebCenter by using a unique user ID and password. The main screen includes a search engine neatly arranged by keyword, characteristics by product usage, design attributes, and user fields for specific sample numbers, or diecut specifications.

All packaging designs can be browsed through thumbnail pictures. WebCenter includes information on when a design was approved and by whom so that all users are aware of project status. In the future, American Tool plans to give access to purchasing and quality control members.

“Turnaround time for our customers is of utmost importance. We all benefit from tools that take us to market more efficiently,” says Bohlin.

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