Matthew Hammond, V.P. of Sales & Customer Service at Century Printing & Packaging

What is your title and role at Century?

I’m the Vice President of Sales and Customer service. I oversee a good portion of sales to customers, newspaper, and non-newspaper customers, and I supervise two customer service representatives who handle a majority of our inbound orders for our customers.

How long have you been with the company and how did you get to where you are now?

I’ve been with Century Printing and Packaging since 2013. Previously, I worked at the Greenville News in advertising sales, and my experience with newspaper advertising is what turned me on to Century and initially the newspaper front-page sticky note program. My experience in newspaper advertising allowed me to easily network with newspaper executives and understand their needs and wants. Over the years I have transitioned into other types of customers in the food, beverage, and chemical industries.

Describe your job including the things you are passionate about and the challenges of your role at Century Printing and Packaging.

I have a passion for networking and enjoy working with customers to help solve the challenges that they have with various products. I love it when they call and say, “Matthew, I have a problem that I hope you can help me with regarding my labels.” I love meeting new people and helping them. I have developed so many relationships within and outside the office due to my professional role. I’ve made a lot of friends inside and outside the office. I enjoy going to conferences and meeting folks and working with them to help increase the market share for their particular brand.

Whether unsupported film packaging or adhesive labels, every business segment is different in terms of need. I have to be familiar with their product, the market, their target while having a knowledge of our production capabilities and limitations. I never want to over-promise or under-deliver to our customers. I’ve learned a lot about the various types of substrates we can print on and our customers’ needs with regard to labels and flexible packaging. There have been so many aspects of the production process that I have learned over the years.

What changes have you seen in the company since you started?

Over the years we’ve definitely grown from a manufacturing standpoint as a label supplier reaching different business segments such as beer and beverage (wine and liquor) to the chemical industry while expanding in all of the markets we serve through the years. Internally we have really increased our efficiency in production while continually providing high-quality products at faster rates and sometimes lower costs which have really helped increase our competitiveness in the market.

How important is it for you and production to communicate and work together?

It’s extremely vital! I always consult with Neil, our COO, and Roger our Production Manager when it comes to a new product or client need. I want to make sure we are able and capable of producing the customer’s product efficiently and consistently meeting their requirements in terms of quality and performance. Consistency is key to labels and branding in terms of production. Their brand/product is oftentimes the face of their company, and we don’t want to hinder that in any way. I would rather under-promise and over-deliver to a customer than to under-deliver!

What kinds of trends are you seeing develop in the industry?

A lot of the business segments we work with have been hurt by Covid-19 and others have benefited and even expanded. For example, the beverage and food market has increased as more people were staying at home and there was more need for prepackaged beverages and food at home, and those food packages and beverage cans/bottles need labels. Many chemical companies have also increased business for obvious reasons with the new sanitation protocols. Products like hand sanitizers and cleaning products have boomed, and we have worked with our clients to accommodate their increased needs.

Describe the culture at CP&P and what it’s like to work there

I love working with the folks I work with and look forward to coming into the office every day. I prefer coming into the office to work because of the people, and I can do my job more efficiently on-site. It’s sometimes difficult to work remotely because of the hands-on nature of our industry. We need to see and feel the products. I like to be able to see the products I sell before we actually ship to our customers. We’re hands-on and involved from start to finish. We work closely with production to make sure we are on the same page to produce the highest quality products for our customers. Our production department is on board with that and they have skin in the game as well. The pride our production staff has in the quality of our products is obvious and they are always on board to make changes or improvements as needed. There is such a good relationship between sales and production at Century Printing and Packaging.

I really appreciate the opportunities Century has given me over the years. I enjoy the people I work with. Century Printing is a great company to work for and with.

Tell us about your family and background?

I’m a Greenville native and was raised in Taylors. I love baseball, bowling, and Clemson Football. I was raised in Taylors. I’m a musician and play the piano/keyboard in church. I also enjoy teaching my teenage son to play as well. I graduated from Furman University so there’s a natural rivalry between me and our president, Ben Waldrop who graduated from Wofford. My wife and I enjoy hikes with our son, watching him play baseball, and going to the mountains.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to our quality of work and production. All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.

Requirements for Food & Nutritional Labels Vary

Legal requirements for labels vary from product to product and within product categories. Food-related, nutraceutical, supplements, and vitamin labels have to meet a diverse set of regulations across federal, state, and even international governing and regulatory agencies.

These regulations are constantly changing and move very fast within their respective product categories and industries. Manufacturers need the input of industry label experts in regard to label requirements. Label and font sizes, print size, placement of various ingredient statements, values, any governmental statements, seals, barcodes, and more can be required for each specific product. Most label printing and packaging companies do not provide this kind of expertise on staff. While their expertise is to produce the highest quality of labels that stick and perform meeting governmental label or ingredient regulations is the responsibility of the manufacturer.

Many companies have fallen prey to less than ethical label printing vendors who do not have the expertise in label requirements. It is not uncommon to fail a label inspection because the manufacturer did not do their due diligence in having an industry standards expert sign off on the final proof. Suddenly their printing costs have doubled which could have been avoided.

The bottom line for manufacturers is to make sure you have expert consultation and legal approval for label size, content, requirements, etc., so you can entrust your printing and packaging to experts in label production and printing. Companies can also be subject to fines for failure to comply with the label specifications for a particular product. Some retailers impose huge penalties and fines, or the loss of business altogether for companies that fail to comply with label legal requirements.

In South Carolina your product could be governed by SCDHEC, the Department of Agriculture, the FDA, FTC, or other regulatory agencies both state and federal. Label sizing is impacted by a lot of these regulations. This is why manufacturers need to consult experts and their label printing companies in concert to ensure compliance and to manage overall costs.

Beer and distilled spirit labels must be approved by the Federal Tax and Trade Bureau before they are printed. Alcohol labels have some of the most strict federal and state requirements. You don’t want to get caught with a great product and attractive label that fails to measure up to the legal requirements.

At Century Printing & Packaging we have been printing labels that stick, but have great eye appeal and consistently tell your brand story. We are experienced at working in concert with our customers and their label experts on these specialized labels. Printing labels and packaging is our expertise, and will be glad to work with your designated expert to ensure the label and packaging meet the regulatory standards.

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing and Packaging, Inc.
Greer, SC 29651

Century Printing & Packaging Team Members

Alesia Robinson has been working in the finishing department at Century Printing and Packaging for 12 years. This single-mother of triplets and four children takes her role seriously and is proud to be part of the Century team.

Alesia is a Rewinder which is like a quality or assurance inspector. “I really put my heart into what I do and I want a product to be as close to perfect as it can be before it leaves my station.”

Her work is tedious and detailed, “Usually my work centers around smaller, tedious orders where it requires to slit and put the roll together. Sometimes my work consists of replacing labels that are imperfect. Other times it’s a very tedious order like the digital press specializing in smaller orders that require the same diligence as a big order on the bigger presses. Everything regardless of order size must be done to customer specifications and so we treat every order the same.”

What do you enjoy the most about your work Alesia? “I enjoy finding flaws even the slightest and replacing the labels or splicing to take the bad out and keep the good.”

What do you like about working at Century Printing and Packaging? “I like the small, family atmosphere company, it’s not too big, steady work, something that especially in the last year going through not knowing what the future holds has been quite a blessing to have this job and to feel safe. I know I make a contribution to the overall quality of the company’s production.”

You’ve been in the printing and packaging business for 12 years now, what changes have you see during these years? “I’ve seen the quality of work improve, the amount of orders triple if not more through the roof, returning customers, new customers, and we’re growing. It’s exciting to see something grow that you’ve been a part of. We are a small business but we’ve learned how to utilize our space and maximize for our customers to get the work done. We’ve added an additional canteen, restrooms and just to see it grow from where we were when I started has been a pleasure to be a part of it.”

What would you say has been the best part of these 12 years? “Our quality of work has definitely increased, everyone is on the same page now. Our goal to produce quality labels is like a finely oiled machine that works well. There is a production flow that took time to create but throughout the years with the rearrangement of equipment, defined roles, and measurable targets it flows so freely now.”

When you are out in public and see your work how does it make you feel? “You know the other day my brother and I were at Spinx and I pointed to something we had done and told him that was our company. He was surprised. We do a splendid job and it’s really something to see the quality of work alongside another company and to know that we provide quality goods and services to our customers.”

Alesia is a single mother from Greer, with four children. She has raised triplets 22-years old and another child, 26. She enjoys drawing with pencil and reading mystery novels when she is not working. Asked to describe herself she says, “I am reserved, quiet, honest, and I enjoy being an inspector. I’m quite proud of my work. I.take my job and work very seriously and want to do my best, I give it 100% every day that’s my goal.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to our quality of work and production. All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.