Managing Growing Volumes at Mary Kay Inc.
John Stanfield stands next to the Fuji Luxel T-6000 CTP device.
Outside Mary Kay’s Southwest Branch Distribution Center in Carrollton, Texas, are (from the left): Corale Spence, Ted Snowert, Wanda Ward and Keith Hopson, supervisor of Printing Services.
Press Operator John Wisniewski stands with one of the in-plant’s two 29˝ Heidelberg 72ZP perfectors.
Angel Coss, mailing machine operator, cleans up one of the two Böwe Bell + Howell Mailstar inserters, which can insert up to four pieces in one envelope.
Trish Thomas, bindery operator, runs a job on the in-plant’s newest pharmaceutical folder, the Vijuk SAF 36 six-plate folder.
“IT HIT us like a ton of bricks” recalls Keith Hopson. “We didn’t know it was coming until we were flooded with work.”
The sudden increase in workload came when cosmetics company Mary Kay Inc. shifted the printing and folding of “pharmaceuticals”—the inserts that accompany its skin care and cosmetics products—from outside printing suppliers to the company’s in-plant facility in Carrollton, Texas. Similar to those included with many over-the-counter medications, the inserts provide specific, –detailed product usage instructions. These are included in virtually all Mary Kay products sold in Europe, where multiple languages add complexity to the mix of jobs.
Printing these is a straightforward process on the shop’s two 29˝ Heidelberg presses. But folding them quickly became a bottleneck.
“It doubled or tripled our volume and we couldn’t handle it with our existing folding equipment,” explains Hopson, supervisor of Printing Services, which is located a short drive from Mary Kay’s global headquarters in Addison, Texas. “We were sending about 100,000 pieces a month to an outside shop just to keep up.”
Hopson moved some staff to different jobs and added some overtime to keep pace while waiting for a new Vijuk SAF 36 folder to arrive. Once installed, the new machine dramatically increased in-house capabilities. By eliminating the outside supplier, Hopson saw payback in just two months, while significantly improving efficiency and turnaround in the shop.
That was more than two years ago and today the 14-person shop is constantly busy. Some 50 million pharmaceuticals will be produced in 2010, exceeding the 48 million in 2008. Inserts are printed, folded to a specific size, and shipped to the manufacturing warehouse where they are packaged with the products.
All pharmaceutical printing is done on the two Heidelberg presses, capable of straight and perfecting printing. Plates for each job come from a Fuji Luxel T-6000 computer-to-plate (CTP) system running Screen Trueflow 6.0 in a PDF workflow. In addition, a small A.B.Dick press handles quick printing needs such as labels and business cards, while a Halm Jet Press prints envelopes from baronial sizes up to 10×13˝.