A True Passion for Flexible Packaging
Vertically integrated flexible packaging manufacturer ColorMasters offers its insight into the company’s strengths, its fit within the industry, what other companies can learn from them, and what’s around the bend.
Flexible Packaging: What is your corporate strategy? Do you have a motto or saying?
ColorMasters: ColorMasters’ motto is "Your Package, Our Passion." At ColorMasters, our corporate strategy is to build long term strategic relationships with consumer product companies and provide them with unmatched quality, superior service, and responsive support.
FP: What kind of flexible packaging capabilities do you offer to your customers?
ColorMasters: ColorMasters is a fully integrated extruder, printer and converter. We extrude our proprietary 3-layer films on new Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) extrusion lines. We have the equipment and expertise to meet any supported or unsupported shrink bundling application in addition to sealant films, poly bags and versatile IQF blends.
ColorMasters has an in-house graphics department to deliver highest quality and responsiveness. Our 10-color W&H CI flexographic presses can print any customer design with high definition separations and flat-top plating technology. ColorMasters utilizes conventional and expanded color gamut (ECG) printing, depending on customer preference and graphic design. ColorMasters converting capabilities include adhesive lamination, rollstock, INNO-LOK, wicketed and non-wicketed poly bags, and pouches. Features include handles, vents, re-closable zippers, and laser scoring for easy open.
FP: Would you consider your company to be a vertically integrated flexible packaging/converter company?
ColorMasters: ColorMasters became vertically integrated with the installation of fourteen PE resin silos and four W&H extruders in 2013. We got our closing letter for the extrusion facility at
the very end of 2012. Our first extruder was installed and completing test runs before the end of 2012. We now control every aspect of our packaging and the benefits include consistency, proprietary performance blends and improved cost. Printing has always been a core competency at ColorMasters and this discipline has been strengthened with the recent addition of a W&H Novoflex 10-color CI press. Utilizing the latest graphic techniques and printing plates have resulted in consistent quality at high run speeds. With over 20 bag and pouch machines, ColorMasters converts laminated and non-laminated films efficiently to meet specific customer requirements.
FP: In what areas can your company be used as an example to other converters? In what capacity could other converters look to your company as being the standard, or a template, that they could strive to become?
ColorMasters: At ColorMasters, we aim to care for people, package and planet. We are a large utilizer of green power and were named TVA's Green Power Switch Business of the Year: We have made the switch to green power by purchasing a percentage of our power through the TVA Green Power Switch Program, which utilizes wind, solar and bio-gas renewable resources. Through this switch, we are able to save $7.8 million, and 3.8 million pounds of greenhouse gases.
We have also gone green in our packaging applications by providing significant gauge reductions, which results in greater yield and less material per case with no appreciable loss in film performance. Additionally, we provide the option of Post-Consumer Recycled polyethylene in our products where possible. We are also evaluating renewable resin technologies that may provide benefits to our customers.
We believe other companies could benefit from the centralized management model at ColorMasters. Flexible packaging is a dynamic arena. Decisions require informed, expedient action. Our owners are extremely involved and are engaged every day at the office to ensure prompt and responsible decisions are being made in all areas of the company. This approach has resulted in ColorMasters delivering the right solution to the marketplace.
ColorMasters has 4 plants located within a 10 mile radius in Albertville, Alabama, and employ a total of 300. The company’s projected annual sales for 2014 is approximately $80 million.
The people behind the company:
Gus King - Owner
Dennis Hicks - Owner
Ben Fryer - General Manager
Mark Pfeiffer - Sales Director
Anita Crowell - Plant Manager
Jenna King - Sales Account Manager
FP: What do you believe is helping the company to succeed in business? What are you offering that other companies might not be? How is your company unique?
ColorMasters: We attribute a great deal of our success to proactive reinvestment in the latest technology packaging machinery. This commitment, combined with our focus on exceeding our customers’ expectations, is a powerful combination. We believe our breadth of product sets us apart from the competition.
We are a fully integrated extruder, printer and converter offering a “one-stop-shop” to fit all packaging needs.
ColorMasters is unique because of our centralized management structure. We are a private family-owned corporation and have been under the same ownership since inception. This centralized management structure enables ColorMasters to streamline decision making in regard to scheduling, capital investment and negotiations. We develop close partnerships with our customers and keep the lines of communication open which benefit both ColorMasters and our valued partners.
FP: What's your best-selling film or product?
ColorMasters: ColorMasters’ best-selling product is printed rollstock for food applications. The past 2 years have brought explosive growth to our Mastershrink printed shrink film line. The marketplace has responded favorably to our film performance and responsive service. We have invested for long-term success in this market and focus on helping our customers succeed.
FP: Are you planning on rolling out any new products? What are they?
ColorMasters: ColorMasters is excited to launch our side-gusset pouches this year, including a terminated gusset version for maximum shelf appeal. The marketplace has responded favorably to side gusset pouches and the company expects to expand our capacity of side gusset small and large format pouches in the years ahead. We have also recently developed an improved “film over film” shrink film that complements our existing Mastershrink product line. This versatile film is guaranteed not to stick to our plain or printed shrink films when utilized as a master bundling film.
ColorMasters sees tremendous value in our XRite ColorCert process which can be used on all our printed products. This process provides an enhanced method of measuring color match and consistency which can be shared “real time” with our customers. We are installing a commercial scale shrink tunnel to our film development lab that will assist in creation of film blends for our customers’ specific applications.
FP: About your fit within the industry: In which areas can you (or do you want to) improve? What sorts of realistic improvements does the company want to make within the flexible packaging industry?
ColorMasters: As we expand, ColorMasters will continue to focus on the importance of food safety initiatives such as Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and ensuring our plants and policies meet the needs of CPGs. We also expect further growth of films as a sustainable option to paperboard alternatives. ColorMasters will actively pursue opportunities to utilize our products as part of customers’ material reduction effort.
FP: What can we expect to see from your company in the coming year or two?
ColorMasters: You can expect ColorMasters to continue along an aggressive path of expansion and growth in our strategic markets of food, beverage and consumer products. We have two existing expansion projects that will be realized in 2015, for example.
We want to continue introducing value-added solutions for our customers while never losing sight that our people and service model is what makes ColorMasters special.
Office: (256) 878-8880; www.colormastersllc.com