Simplot and Riviana benefit from new product packaging approach

Getting products to shelf in half the time for half the cost sounds too good to be true. But design execution agency Task by Kirk has been able to do that by providing clients with an end-to-end service that removes time-consuming and costly process inefficiencies.

Task is a new division of leading print specialist Kirk Group. General manager, John Kapiniaris, said the motivation to start a design execution service was born out of a desire to show brands how packaging could be done better.

Mistakes made throughout the design-to-print process can impact final print quality, with colours that don’t print as expected and inconsistencies across the product range.

“We were constantly seeing artwork files produced by other suppliers with mistakes that could have been anticipated and easily avoided,” Kapiniaris said. “It results in high packaging costs due to expensive agency fees to fix mistakes, subsequent delays getting products on shelf and disappointing packaging quality.”

Inefficiencies in the design-to-print process can also rack up the costs and push out critical deadlines.

“The more suppliers and touchpoints involved in getting a design printed, the greater the chance of costly errors and time-consuming process inefficiencies,” Kapiniaris said.

Simplot Australia, with iconic brands Leggo’s, Birds Eye, John West and Edgell, was an early adopter of Task’s new way of doing things, engaging the business to streamline its design execution process. Task is now responsible for turning Simplot’s package concepts into shelf-ready printed products.

“The process before working with Task was adhoc, with marketers throughout the business engaging their own production suppliers, resulting in high packaging costs and delays,” Simplot Australia creative services manager Paul Fenech said.

“Now we have a streamlined process that results in consistently high-quality printed packaging, lower costs and faster speed to market.”

Providing an end-to-end service is vital in getting products to shelf faster and has huge financial implications given the competitive retail market, with retail shelf space at a premium and the high costs associated with a failure to launch products on time.

Task recently worked with Riviana on the rebranding of its Always Fresh line of products. Artwork was delivered in just two months, halving the time from the previous process and at half the budgeted spend.

Riviana retail strategy manager Georgina Vergunst said she was impressed that Task was able to handle such a difficult brief so quickly, which involved producing colour-accurate, press-ready artwork for international print partners.

“Task helped us navigate the complicated world of design to print,” Vergunst said. “They knew the fastest way to get things done and help us make our deadline. Task made the whole process so much easier and they were able to take care of whatever came up.”

Task’s other clients include PepsiCo, Kimberly-Clark and Cerebos.

Kapiniaris said clients recognised that the Kirk Group’s long history of working closely with printers meant the team was familiar with individual print-press specifications, resulting in high-quality artwork, and time and cost efficiencies.

“We know what will work and what won’t. We know if a particular colour or design is difficult to print from the outset and can advise the client at the start of the new product development process and suggest suitable alternatives to avoid problems or disappointment with the final result,” he said.

“Brands shouldn’t have to compromise on the quality of their packaging. Quite often they don’t know there is a better or smarter way to get products on the shelf faster and at a lower cost.”