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Baker Labels gain efficiencies with Hybrid software

Over the last 18 months, Brentwood based label manufacturer Baker Labels has transitioned its pre-press studio department to use Hybrid’s software system, including the products Packz, Proofscope and Cloudflow.

As early adopters of digital print, in 2006 Bakers was one of the first companies in the UK to install HP Indigo print technology. Since then it has made continual investment in digital print capabilities, culminating in the current configuration of three HP Indigo WS6900s, an HP Indigo 20000 and two Screen Truepress L350UV +LM inkjet presses. This gives the company a comprehensive digital print solution for anything their customers may require. For conventional printing it has a Nilpeter FB3 flexographic press.

Since moving production to the facility in Brentwood in 2011, the company has seen a rapid expansion, including the addition of its flexible packaging division BakPac in early 2020. The growth created a need for additional processing power at the front end of the operation and was the driving force behind looking at Hybrid as a possible alternative system to help alleviate potential production bottlenecks.

Baker Labels’ technical manager Jamie Godson has worked closely with the team at Hybrid to develop a package that works best. 

‘My initial impression of Hybrid was that it was agile, innovative and was the type of company that would work as a partner rather than just another supplier. The decision to invest in the Hybrid software system was not taken lightly but it was concluded that this was the front end system that would not only help cement our position as one of the top label printers within the UK but also help drive the mantra of ‘continuous improvement’ for the foreseeable future. Due to our trade nature we have to be able to work with every type of artwork imaginable. Not only do we need the capability of processing the different files, we have to be able to do it fast, very fast. Initially the Hybrid software was brought in to increase our processing speed, obviously after that we opened up the full potential of what the products could offer so we developed and continue to develop them exponentially.’

Bakers entered the project having substantial experience of another automotive system that had been used for the previous eight years. The company felt however that more power was needed as it saw supplied artworks becoming more and more complicated and an ever increasing average number of SKUs per job year on year.

Currently the Hybrid software products Packz, Proofscope and Cloudflow are installed within the seven strong pre-press studio, but plans are to have seats established on the shop floor both in labels production and flexible packaging production.

Receiving artwork from all over the UK print industry, Bakers identified that more and more Packz files were being supplied. Although already fully up to speed with the latest Adobe suite offerings, the company acknowledged the advantage that a high end PDF editor would give and have regularly seen instances where Packz has saved large amounts of time in file preparation.

Over the last 18 months a positive, learning relationship has developed between the two companies. Commercial manager at Baker Labels, Jamie Doogan, added: 'The fit between the two companies was right. There are a lot of similarities in our ethics and vision. We needed a partner that was going to understand our business and how we were developing as a company and could ensure we had a system that was future proofed. By working closely together I feel we have achieved this.’

'Successful integration of Hybrid has not only improved speed to press, it has given us another platform which enables us to cover as many bases as possible regarding the files that we receive from our customers. There are many efficiency improvements that we have made, from using Hybrid’s variable data printing solution to simple rules that have been applied to update multiple files in the quickest time possible. I won’t give away all of our secrets but the software, coupled with the support that Hybrid has given, has had a major impact in improving our daily working practices. As technical manager, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with the Hybrid products is an unfinishable project that will always sit in the top three of my to do list,’ concluded technical manager Jamie Godson.

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