Rondo-Pak Combines ‘Packaging Precision and Marketing Agility’
When packagePRINTING last spoke with Victor Dixon, president of Rondo-Pak’s North American operations in June of 2015, he was enthusiastically optimistic about the company’s strength in manufacturing and printing technically advanced pharmaceutical folding cartons that could both protect the product inside and inform patients and users about the drug.
At the time, Rondo-Pak’s North American footprint consisted of two facilities – one in Norristown, Pa., and a second in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dixon told us that the company’s optimism about the company’s growth had led it to consider either opening a new facility in the Philadelphia area or expanding the Norristown plant. Part of Körber’s Medipak Systems network, Rondo-Pak also has sister sites in Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
In the time since, Rondo-Pak has entered a joint venture agreement with Contemporary Graphics Solutions, a printing and packaging business that has supplied regulated marketing materials in the pharmaceutical space, and has followed through on a new facility, merging Rondo-Pak’s North American headquarters with Contemporary Graphics’ assets into a brand new plant in Camden, N.J.
packagePRINTING caught up with Dixon at the recent Pack Expo East in Philadelphia to learn about the merger, the new facility and the outlook for Rondo-Pak’s future.
Dixon explained that the merger with Contemporary Graphics was a perfect fit for both companies, primarily because of the synergies between their shared expertise in offset printing and the similar markets they serve. With Rondo-Pak’s knowledge of folding carton construction, combined with Contemporary Graphics’ ability to produce creative marketing pieces, the joint venture has allowed the company to produce highly functional and informative packaging, all under one roof.
“We call it the precision of packaging coupled with the agility of marketing all from one supplier,” Dixon says. “It allows us to have this value proposition that’s unique in the industry and enabled us to continue with our growth without having to add any brick or mortar in Norristown.”
The merger officially went into effect on January 1, 2016, and the Camden facility has been open since the summer. Dixon explains Rondo-Pak invested $30 million into the company in 2016, which also brought a variety of new equipment on board, including a new Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 press that runs both conventional and UV inks.
Dixon explains that the addition of the new press has allowed Rondo-Pak to increase its decorative capabilities. For example, Rondo-Pak was showcasing a brochure during Pack Expo East that was printed on the Heidelberg and featured a combination of glossy coatings, a matte finish and textured printing. The brochure was stored inside a carton that was also printed on the press.
“The press’ capabilities allow you to provide an entire package,” Dixon says.
The combination of the new merger, new facility and new press, has given Rondo-Pak the ability to focus on what Dixon calls the company’s “Three I’s” – Integration, Innovation and Investment.
He explains that integration stems from how Rondo-Pak is globally integrated with its three North American locations, along with its European locations in the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Additionally, Dixon says Rondo-Pak has been able to integrate packaging design with the physical product. With the integration of machine and materials, and the Körber Medipak Systems companies manufacturing precision packaging and cartoning lines for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, Rondo-Pak is able to view packaging as a complete solution.
“We look at packaging not as components, but as a system and a solution,” Dixon says. “When you design a carton and they’re designing format parts, you can’t do one without the other in order to optimize it.”
Innovation, Dixon says, has occurred across the entire supply chain at Rondo-Pak. He says the company is now able to streamline the entire packaging process, creating prototypes or trial products, all the way through generating packaging for full-scale commercial launches.
“We innovate across the entire supply chain and the entire lifecycle of a pharma product,” Dixon says. “We can take products from clinical packaging all the way to commercial launch to steady state commercialization of a product and it can be the same format, with the same types of components. It gives you a lot of design ability so your presentation in a clinical trial mimics the same features that you’re going to have on a commercial carton.”
The final “I” is “invested,” Dixon says, explaining that the investments happening at Rondo-Pak occur in several facets. First, he says the company is invested in its customers’ success, patient outcomes and improving the therapy process. But, he says the company’s monetary investment over the past year has allowed it to make significant advancements in pharmaceutical packaging.
For example, Dixon explains that as the complexity and expense of drugs increases, the packaging has had to follow suit to adequately protect the drugs and educate the end user. Folding cartons designed for vials, syringes or other complex medical devices require sophisticated structures and Rondo-Pak has been able to adapt to these changing needs of the pharmaceutical market.
With all of the changes at Rondo-Pak, Dixon says the company’s future is bright, particularly due to the combination of Rondo-Pak’s expertise in packaging engineering and structure and Contemporary Graphics’ capabilities in marketing, speed to market and creativity.
“It’s like the science and creativity blended into one,” he says.