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New Folder Helps Lead In-plant to Banner Year

February 2009 By Chris Bauer
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When cosmetics giant Mary Kay Inc. departed from the trend of producing products overseas, Keith Hopson, supervisor of Mary Kay Printing Services, in Carrollton, Texas, had to move fast. The company’s decision to make its products in the U.S. included the printing and finishing of leaflets and inserts. 

“Our world kind of got turned upside-down in August of 2007,” Hopson recalls. “We struggled for about four months trying to keep up with the orders.”

Business increased by about 35 percent for the in-plant’s 16 employees. Hopson knew it was time to beef up capacity in the shop’s bindery. So in December 2007, he brought in a third Vijuk folder to handle the workload. 

The bindery is now home to three Vijuk folders: one SAF35 with three fold plates and two SAF36s, each outfitted with four fold plates. The in-plant handles Mary Kay’s printing needs with a pair of two-color, 29? Heidelberg presses; an ABDick 375 with a T-head; and a two-color Halm Jet press. The shop also handles the mailing needs of the company with four Böwe Bell + Howell inserters, one Videojet ink-jet machine and a hand assembly area. 

“We were sending so much work out that to purchase that third folder paid for itself in a month and a half,” Hopson reports. It also has allowed the shop to insource pharmaceutical folding jobs from local commercial printers. The folders are used to do pharmaceutical inserts 99 percent of the time.

A separate in-house creative department does the design work for Mary Kay’s products. The look of the jobs is consistent, Hopson notes—usually one-over-one pieces with either black or gray ink. The size of the instructional materials has increased over the years because the company has added instructions in more languages. 

Hopson points to the in-plant employees’ familiarity with the Vijuk equipment and the reliability of the products as reasons he made the decision to add another SAF36 to the equipment mix. The shop also refurbished its 20-year-old SAF35 when it brought in the new machine.

“It can only fold three times, but many of our pieces only need two or three folds,” Hopson explains. “We run that older folder just as much as we run the newer one.”

 

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