By Dana Delgado
It is hard to put a handle on exactly what International Print and Packaging (IPP) does at their ever growing and evolving design and manufacturing plant in Northwest Liberty Hill.
Off handedly, IPP President Bryan Scheible said, “We’re the company that prints stickers.”
That may have been the case when the local plant was formed in 1996 in Georgetown and then when it relocated to Liberty Hill in 2003, but the company, recipient of numerous national printing awards, is now touching an unimaginable number of products that are found in nearly every household.
And yes, they do sell stickers or more commonly referred to as product labels. The IPP President said that between two plants, the company prints about 20,000 labels a week from 800 orders a month that include food, beverage and general consumer products.
“We help our customers sell more product by having them stick out on the shelf with well-designed packaging,” said Scheible. “We deal with general products, flexible packaging, point-of-sale packaging for specialty products and new shrink sleeves.”
The company has a companion plant in Buffalo, New York functioning under the name of Gintzler Graphics, which was formed in 1916, and have six regional sales offices located from McAllen in south Texas to Maine.
The Liberty Hill plant at 951 N. US Highway 183, which Scheible describes as the town’s best kept secret, has been so successful that there are plans to expand the plant and add employees.
“This plant has done a great job,” Scheible said. “We are looking to expand the facility by adding an additional 20,000 – 25,000 square feet. We expect to have the expansion done by this time next year. Could be earlier based on how quickly I can get the sales increased on the digital side. We can have the new phase constructed and open within 90 days.”
To fill the projected 15-18 positions in the plant, the company will conduct a national search and are always looking for motivated people to work in other departments. Scheible said his staff is an “eclectic bunch” with an array of skills depending on the department or division. He said the company needs individuals with high mechanical aptitude for their plant along with “creative spirits” for the graphics side, detailed oriented and organized types for customer service and outgoing, personable people for sales. As a result of the diverse needs, new staff come from a range of fields including the military, the commercial printing industry, and education. But extensive on-site training, emphasized Scheible, is a crucial component for the company’s growth.
Scheible’s family goes back four generations in the printing industry. His start came in his pre-teen years.
“I was 11 or 12 years old when I started working on the presses,” he said. “When I grew up I got into commercial and display advertising but saw the label market growing.”
Now, he oversees the operations of the international company maintaining a keen eye on evolving technology.
“I’m more the engineering type,” he said. His wife, Mary, is the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Scheible said he is particularly excited about the addition of his massive and impressive digital press that he says lowers the financial risk for new products and smaller businesses because of its capabilities. Furthermore, he is anticipating the arrival of a high-tech laser cutting machine, the only one of its kind in North America and says he is always out looking at equipment to get the competitive edge.
“With the digital machinery and laser cutting machine, companies can order smaller quantities because they do not have the plate or tooling costs that are normally associated with conventional printing,” said Scheible. “They get great quality printing on all the normal materials with good adhesives and finishes without all the initial investment. Perfect for start-up companies and test marketing needs where they make considerably more changes on their labels before they decide what they want for the long run.
“It’s a fun industry,” he said. “Every label is different and every product is different.”
One of the company’s newest clients is YETI Coolers, makers of premium ice chests and accessories. IPP was tasked with developing an innovative packaging solution for the launch of their new premium Rambler Tumblers.
According to IPP, YETI had a vision of going to market with an exceptional look to match the quality of their kitchen-grade, stainless steel vacuum-insulated products. However, YETI designers encountered concerns with label and adhesive residue and were faced with the challenge of balancing how to promote their brand and provide product information with minimum ecological impact.
In collaboration with YETI designers, the IPP product engineering team proposed an innovative two-sided wrap-around tag featuring spot adhesive technology and special satin coating for ease of handling overcoming initial challenges.
“With digital being around for roughly 10 years now, our machinery is the newest which allows better printing capabilities and now allows a wider range of materials that can be printed on,” said Scheible. “The laser cutting machine will allow cutting of any shape and size and some new texturizing that has never been done before. By combining our expert craftsmanship, advanced technologies, and strict quality guidelines, we strive to cultivate long-term relationships and consistently provide our customers with innovative label and packaging identification solutions that help our clients sell more product.”