Control Group uses a new management information system to streamline the workflow and documentation required for its pharmaceutical customers.February 2010 by Tom Polischuk
Being a supplier to the pharmaceutical industry is not for the faint of heart. It's a high-stakes, highly regulated industry that requires the utmost in manufacturing discipline and control.
But, as the saying goes, "No pain, no gain." Although the pharmaceutical industry has its unique demands, it's a market that can provide healthy rewards to those suppliers that can meet its high levels of required proficiency.
One company that has been successful as a pharmaceutical label supplier is Norwood, N.J.-based Control Group (www.controlgroupusa.com). This company cut its teeth in pharmaceuticals in 1971 as Control Pharmaceutical Label. Back then, it provided offset-printed inserts and labels to both commercial and pharmaceutical customers.
According to Jim Imburgia, director of operations, Control Group was formed specifically as a pharmaceutical label printer in 1987. "We dealt with all major pharma companies delivering both cut labels and inserts," he recalls. "After a while, our customers started switching to roll labels. At the time this was something that we were not able to do, so instead of losing our customers we decided to invest and educate ourselves to be able to satisfy our customers' needs."
Imburgia says the company's response to these challenges formed the essence of its corporate culture. "This ability to adapt has been our philosophy ever since. It has become our signature, and we have been able to use it to grow our business and differentiate ourselves from other converters. It enabled us to meet our customers' requirements as they started to venture into the health and beauty packaging segments, along with other segments of the marketplace," he notes.
One outgrowth of Control Group's early evolution was investing in flexographic printing capabilities to support its customers' desires for roll labels. Its early focus was on labels using paper stocks, but in 2000, it added the ability to run flexible packaging materials. According to Imburgia, this not only helped the company increase its pharmaceutical business, but also opened up other opportunities, especially in cosmetics.
Today, Control Group is supplying a number of demanding markets, including health and beauty, cosmetics, and nutraceuticals, along with other consumer markets. It provides both flexo and gravure printed labels and flexible packaging using presses from Aquaflex (www.aquaflex.com, now part of PCMC) and Nilpeter (www.nilpeter.com).
This diversity in highly demanding markets has paid dividends during the recent economic downturn. Imburgia reports that the company has seen growth in virtually all its market segments. "It helps that we have a loyal customer base," he says.