Behind the Fun and Games
Press Operator Kurt Bihler checks the color on the packaging for the “Clue—Discover the Secrets” board game being printed on the in-plant’s six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg 102 CD press.
Jim Hare (left), technical manager, and Bill York, senior technical specialist, inspect a proof of the box bottom for the game Pictionary being printed on the in-plant’s Epson Stylus Pro 9900 wide-format printer.
Press Operator Richie Rich runs cards for the game Battleship on the six-color KBA Rapida 162 press.
Operator Terry Varandas gathers instructions for the game Candyland after they have been folded on one of the in-plant’s Baum folders.
Press operators Kurt Bihler (left) and Kurt Bihler stand on the in-plant’s six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg 102 CD press.
It can be argued that the printing and packaging is more essential to the marketing of toys and games than most consumer goods. The company’s marketing division sees product packaging as the consumer’s “first handshake” with a brand when shopping at retail and online. Packaging must quickly communicate brand attributes and product features in the most compelling and engaging way possible.
A little background on Santa’s unofficial U.S. division:
- A lion’s share of East Longmeadow’s work consists of box labels, game board labels and card decks.
- The average print run is 10,000, and the shop is working on driving that figure down.
- A sister plant located in Waterford, Ireland, is about half the size of the 55,000-square-foot printing section in the East Longmeadow facility.
Several years ago, the in-plant printed a good deal of premium trading cards for games such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. According to Brennan, the exacting nature of the card product made it perhaps the most challenging job from a print production standpoint.
“It has a very demanding type of customer, along with the fact that you have to match every print run…from its inception to completion so that, from a game-play standpoint, one card matches up with another.”
East Longmeadow also features a contract manufacturing arm, 360 Degrees Manufacturing Services, that bids on work outside the corporation that involves generating product complementary to the shop’s core competencies. Any work that is bid on—virtually all of which is geographically local—must meet with the parent company’s approval.
“Before this year, we were looking at doing finished product only. We’re now marketing our processes as well, so we can do straight printing for a customer as opposed to only full product,” Brennan notes.
With sustainability such an important part of Hasbro’s corporate mission, the in-plant recently took the extra step of earning certification from the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP). The certification is a key result of Hasbro’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, and shows its commitment to integrating sustainability throughout its manufacturing process (see sidebar).