FASTechnology Group Transforms Ho-Hum Package Labeling Into Marketing Muscle

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Fastechnology Group, A Leading Manufacturer Of Industrial Control Systems, Is Attracting The Interest Of Leading Producers And Retailers Of Consumer Packaged Goods With Its Retail-Ready Personalized Packaging (RRPP) Systems. Developed From Print-On-Demand Processes Used In The Commercial Printing Industry, RRPP Enables The Production And Marketing Of Products Customized To Store-Level Or To Shopper-Level, While Eliminating The Need For Costly Factory Line Changeovers. The New Process Has The Potential To Increase Sales Volume And Shopper Brand Loyalty While Substantially Reducing Material Costs And Waste.

Variable package labeling is becoming an important key to profitability for CPG manufacturers and retailers, letting them zero in on specific customer segments by customizing or personalizing products in ways that will spur purchase.

National retail chain powerhouses are taking a serious look at the marketing and supply chain advantages promised by Retail-Ready Personalized Packaging (RRPP), a new micro-marketing system recently introduced by FASTechnology Group, a manufacturing firm based near St. Louis. Long known in the commercial printing industry for its expertise in turn-key automation for print-on-demand (POD) applications and industrial control systems integration, FASTechnology attracted the attention of food and beverage manufacturers and major retailers at recent tradeshows with its application of POD capabilities to cans of chili and other grocery items personalized to shopper level.

Joe Hattrup, FASTechnology Group founder and president, explains the serious business opportunities behind something like a personalized can of chili.

“Variable package labeling is becoming an important key to profitability for CPG (consumer packaged goods) manufacturers and retailers,” Hattrup says. “Advanced labeling capabilities and intelligent palletization let these companies zero in on specific customer segments by customizing or personalizing products in ways that will spur purchase—what we call Retail-Ready Personalized Packaging. Until now, that’s been almost impossible because the process required expensive production line changeovers, and the companies didn’t have customer databases integrated with their packaging lines. That’s why we’re excited: our print-on-demand RRPP systems not only eliminate those roadblocks, but we engineer them to fit as an overlay onto existing packaging lines. On top of that, route-sequenced palletization greatly simplifies delivery of these RRPP products to the right stores in the right order at lower cost.”

Personalized labeling and marketing are familiar to anyone who subscribes to magazines or catalogs, where one recipient’s copy often differs from another’s, based on demographics and past purchase behavior. With RRPP systems still new to CPG categories, there are as yet no commercial case studies to illustrate the advantages of this state-of-the-art integrated POD system. But Joe Hattrup notes that someone will be first—possibly one of the manufacturers and retailers that have been consulting with FASTechnology Group.

“Imagine that you’re a soft drink company that wants to do charity-focused campaigns,” Hattrup says. “That might mean one campaign that involves a number of local or regional high school sports teams, and a different but related campaign for the NCAA basketball tournaments. You could do the full run of all label versions at the same time on the same packaging line with print-on-demand RRPP.”

“Or if you’re a small dairy products company trying to break into some large retail chains,” Hattrup continues, “RRPP can enable you to deliver tailored ‘green’ messaging to specific shopper segments that are important to those retailers in particular areas of the country. For that matter, a convenience store chain that wants to build its own store brand can use RRPP to micro-target its best customers by integrating a demographically-aimed database into its packaging operations. From snacks to pharmaceuticals, the opportunities are endless.”

Hattrup points out another benefit of print-on-demand RRPP that has piqued the interest of retail giant Walmart: the reduction of costs and waste.

“With Retail-Ready Personalized Packaging, the sales promotions are right on the packaging, so point-of-sale racks aren’t needed. That eliminates display stands or signage, plus the labor normally required for set-up, teardown, and disposal. It adds up to an environmentally friendly waste-reduction payback.”

Hattrup notes that on-package promotional messages have long been around, but that “print-on-demand driven by integration of a variable database with a packaging line enables just-in-time digital secondary label printing on multiple products, and for various promotional campaigns, from the same generic packaging stock.”

“This reduces print overages and labeling material waste,” Hattrup says. “CPG manufacturers no longer need to source or hold large inventories of preprinted stock. And for retailers, Retail-Ready Personalized Packaging promotes ‘store of the community’ opportunities that can strengthen loyalty and drive repeat purchase with local shoppers at minimal cost.”

FASTechnology Group will be a participant at the Walmart Sustainability Conference scheduled in mid-April. The firm continues discussions with national CPG manufacturers and retailers in a number of product categories.

More about FASTechnology Group:
FASTechnology Group engineers and manufactures turn-key industrial control systems to automate plant-floor manufacturing processes. With more than 20 years of success, FASTechnology Group specializes in drive controls, vision inspection, high-integrity product tracking, route-sequenced palletization, and automated route sequencing. The FASTechnology line of controllers, together with its custom-engineered systems, supports applications ranging from the basic to the most complex.

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