As flexible as the many varieties of bags it produces, Bison Bag in Lockport, New York focuses on meeting a full range of customers’ flexible packaging demands. Some of its success comes from understanding and paying attention to the details of mid- and wide-web flexographic printing.
In operation for nearly 50 years, the family-owned company specializes in producing small minimum runs of a full range of custom-printed plastic bags, pouches and rollstock. The company’s expertise in both traditional flexible plastic packaging solutions and custom stand-up pouches provides customers with the comfort level they need, especially in the food industry where Bison is a recognized leader in retail packaging.
This short-run niche, as COO Jim Streicher tells it, meets the needs of many customers, especially in this age of SKU proliferation, test markets, and the growth of localized and store brands. To meet the demands of shorter runs, the company has focused on the details of flexible printing technology, continually evaluating the presses, software and consumables needed to deliver high quality packaging that customers trust.
For example, informed decisions about inexpensive items such as doctor blades and stickleback tapes can make a significant difference in the quality of the bags a company produces. To navigate the many choices, Bison has come to rely on the support it receives from Anderson & Vreeland to keep its presses running and the quality high.
It started with stickyback tape, relates Steve Mead, Flexographic Pressroom Manager.
We thought we were having a problem that could be solved with a different tape but weren’t sure which one to use. Anderson & Vreeland came in and not only looked at what we were doing, but tested tapes from different companies to identify which one would work best for us. They wanted to provide a product that would solve our problem, not just sell us tape.
Taking the process a few steps further, A&V arranged for Bison to test several different stickyback and splicing tapes made by 3M to help the company better understand the options available and see first-hand how tape selection was an integral part of ensuring consistent and reliable flexographic press performance.
In another instance, Bison Bag wasn’t satisfied with the end seals on a new press and turned to Anderson & Vreeland for help. Not long after, with new petroleum-soaked end seals from Provident in place, Bison Bag came to rely on A&V and Provident as its one-stop-shopping resource for doctor blades, end seals, tapes and other consumables.
Work without worry
Our goal is to spend time printing, not worrying about the doctor blades, tapes, anilox cleaners, and other consumables, notes Streicher.
The products we have today might be fine, but there might be something better out there and Anderson Vreeland is always bringing other options to our attention. Because they understand our business they can present new things to us and help see if there is a fit.
Always seeking the best possible choices, Mead says Anderson & Vreeland has often brought in vendors to help all parties gain a better understanding of the company’s needs and any challenges it has. This not only helps identify the most effective solution but can support development of future products.
We’re always willing to look at other options because it’s important to never be complacent, notes Mead.
A & V is always bringing new ideas, new products, and helping us continually improve what we do. They understand that we have to satisfy the needs of our customers and the brand owners. They want us to have the right product, the one that will help our business, not just one that will do the job.
For instance, two recent purchases, a plate demounter and an Ovit plate washer significantly streamlined Bison’s plate cleaning process while also improving staff utilization. Now, the plates can be demounted faster with less chance of damage, then washed faster, more thoroughly and more easily, saving time, labor and materials costs. And a staff member was able to move to a quality assurance role.
With 48 years of history behind it, Bison Bag has seen a full range of suppliers.
One seemed to be doing its best to not get our business, recounts Streicher.
In contrast, the sales and technical people from Anderson & Vreeland always ask questions so they fully understand what we’re trying to do, and they remember what we buy and follow up to make sure a product is working as expected. It makes for a partnership, and that’s very important to us and to our customers.
Good service really makes it easy to partner up with somebody, says Streicher.
Anderson & Vreeland pays attention to us as a customer and we always get what we need right away. Their approach is to provide us with the best tools that will help us do the best we can.