The Rise of RFID Technology

In the ever-evolving world of technology, staying ahead of the curve is essential. Over the past decade, RFID technology has significantly entered inventory management and retail operations. Historically, barcodes have been used for fundamental information and RFIDs are now the new kids on the block, offering unparalleled efficiency and data information in the supply chain. The Century Printing and Packaging team understands the importance of embracing this cutting-edge technology and is there to help clients transition into the RFID era.

Walmart, the retail giant, has been at the forefront of RFID adoption. It initially started using RFID technology in the clothing department, requiring all products to be equipped with new RFID tags. Over time, this practice has expanded to other sections, including automotive and electronics. The primary goal here is security and, more notably, ensuring proper inventory management and shelf restocking.

RFID, which stands for Radio Frequency Identification, is a revolutionary technology that provides real-time visibility into inventory levels, making restocking shelves more streamlined and accurate. With RFID, each product or package is equipped with a tag containing an antenna, a transceiver, and a transponder. Employees can quickly scan products with handheld devices or, eventually, through automated systems like robots that constantly take inventory. This instant feedback ensures that items are always in stock, preventing customer frustration and loss of sales.

Implementing RFID technology is a multi-step process. The first step involves determining where the RFID label will be placed on the product. This can be a challenge for liquid products, as RFIDs cannot scan through liquids. Therefore, labels are placed where there is no liquid interference, such as on the handle of a container or bottle.

The second step is to print the label with the correct information, ensuring the antenna matches the data. This precision is critical to ensuring the effectiveness of RFID technology.

Finally, the label is applied to the product during the third step. Care and attention to detail are crucial during this process, as any damage to the label or its components can render it useless. For suppliers sending products to retailers like Walmart, damaged RFID labels can lead to rejection and lost business.

Century Printing and Packaging is well-versed in the nuances of RFID technology. The team has conducted extensive research and gathered valuable insights into its implementation. Ben and Neil are equipped to handle questions concerning the push to RFID labels and deeply understand the potential pitfalls.

Walmart isn’t the only retailer embracing RFID technology. They plan to expand their use of RFID technology to additional departments in February 2024. Other major retailers like Target are expected to follow suit. It’s only a matter of time before most, if not all, big-box retailers require this technology to enhance inventory management and customer satisfaction. The next frontier for RFID technology is the food industry, where its impact will be substantial. Properly managed inventory is crucial in the food sector to prevent shortages and food waste.

As the adoption of RFID technology continues to grow across various industries, Century Printing and Packaging is committed to remaining at the forefront of this technological revolution. Their expertise in RFID implementation and commitment to helping clients adapt to the changing landscape positions Ben and Neil as leaders in the field. It is firmly believed that RFID technology will soon become as ubiquitous as barcodes, and those who embrace it now will thrive in the ever-evolving world of retail and beyond. Don’t be left behind—embrace RFID technology with Century Printing and Packaging, your trusted partner in manufacturing.

Revolutionizing Manufacturing Workflow: Introducing PASS

Effective order management and process transparency are essential for success in today’s fast-paced manufacturing industry. Ben and Neil’s new venture, PASS, offers a cloud-based ERP to help manufacturers streamline their operations, enhance communication, and modernize their workflows. For anyone new to the term, ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning – a software system that can automate, manage, and oversee essential operational procedures for optimal performance.

Manufacturing has always been an intricate web of processes, each stage contributing to the final product. In such an environment, efficient order management, real-time visibility, and streamlined communication are pivotal to balanced success. Many manufacturers have long relied on manual systems like Excel spreadsheets to manage their operations. After recognizing the shortcomings of existing solutions, PASS, Palmetto Advanced Software Systems, was created to fill a crucial niche in the market. Ben and Neil’s extensive 25 years of experience in manufacturing places them in the best position to address these identified issues. Their investment of time and energy in PASS is a testament to their unwavering commitment to filling in the gaps.

PASS originated from a simple yet powerful realization. While evaluating off-the-shelf options for manufacturers, Ben and Neil discovered that none of the existing offerings met their specific needs. Instead of settling for this one-size-fits-all solution, they decided to develop software tailored to their requirements that tackled the same problems that kept coming up time and time again. This experience led to the birth of PASS and a shift to prioritizing transparency, communication, and efficiency in everyday processes.

At its core, PASS is committed to simplifying manufacturing operations for small businesses and offering a cost-effective alternative to complex, expensive products designed to fit the masses. PASS addresses the unique challenges faced by manufacturers, such as:

Order Flow Consolidation: Baked into the main dashboard is a centralized view that consolidates the entire order flow. Every stakeholder in the manufacturing process can access real-time information about the status and stage of each work order. This level of transparency fosters better decision-making and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Modernized Workflow: Moving away from cumbersome Excel sheets, PASS provides an updated system that streamlines manufacturing processes without completely overhauling existing company structures. This shift improves efficiency and reduces the risk of errors often associated with manual data entry.

Communication Enhancement: Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful manufacturing operation. PASS promotes seamless communication among team members, suppliers, and customers. Stakeholders can easily collaborate, share information, and stay updated on the progress of orders.

By first understanding the importance of scalability and accessibility in modern manufacturing, Ben and Neil felt confident entering the market by bringing their business idea to life. PASS enables manufacturers to hone in on the power of combining an ERP with the flexibility and convenience of cloud technology. Whether in the office or on the factory floor, PASS ensures that your data is secure, easily accessible, and always up-to-date

PASS was designed with manufacturers that have multiple steps in their processes in mind. So whether you’re a small manufacturer in printing operations or additive manufacturing, PASS can tighten up any processes and fit into your existing technology. In today’s competitive landscape, businesses need an affordable, specialized solution that caters to their unique specifications. PASS understands that need deeply and is working to fulfill it on a new level.

Palmetto Advanced Software Systems is more than just a software company; it is a partner in your manufacturing journey. Ben and Neil’s mission is to empower manufacturers, regardless of their size or industry, with the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly complex world. By keeping transparency and workflow efficiency as the focal point, PASS revolutionizes manufacturing processes, allowing businesses to make the most efficient use of their resources and stay competitive in evolving markets.

Join us in embracing a new era of manufacturing excellence with PASS.

Adapting to the Shift: How Craft Beer Brands are Embracing the Can

The beer industry has seen a significant shift in the past few years when it comes to packaging. As the demand for craft beer continues to rise, so does the need for creative and eye-catching labels that distinguish one brand from the next. Century Printing & Packaging has been keeping an eye on emerging beer label trends and is excited to share its insights into the evolution of craft beer packaging.

There has been an evolution in the way craft beer is packaged and labeled, with the transition from glass bottles to cans becoming increasingly accepted. This change has had a huge impact on beer merchants with whom Century Printing & Packaging has maintained long-standing commitments to serve and champion.

One major factor that has affected the beer industry is the shortage of glass. Coming out of the pandemic, supply chain issues have resulted in many beer brands opting to purchase unprinted cans and add their own labels as needed. This not only offers more flexibility in terms of branding and design, but it also allows breweries to save money by only ordering the exact amount of cans they need at any given time.

Ben and Neil, two veterans in the beer labeling business, have witnessed first-hand the change in the craft beer market over the last ten years. From its beginnings as a niche hobbyist business to its current status as a crowded, mature industry. Traditionally, canned beer has been viewed as lower quality. However, this perception has changed in recent years, thanks in large part to big-name brands now selling their beers in cans. This shift has made it more acceptable, leading to a surge in the popularity of canned beer.

Breweries have embraced cans for their numerous advantages, such as increased portability, durability, and recyclability. Additionally, cans are known for their ability to preserve beer’s quality and taste, making them an attractive choice.

Century Printing & Packaging will be at the 2023 Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville this May 7th-10th, to showcase their commitment to the latest packaging trends. In Booth #1754 a variety of materials and how they look on cans will be on display. Century Printing empowers its clients to stay innovative and emphasizes the importance of packaging in a crowded market. As consumers continue to embrace the movement in the industry, CP&P is passionate about staying ahead of the curve and helping their clients meet the changing demands of the market.

Fortunately, many breweries have risen to the challenge. CP&P partners with breweries all over the US to produce eye-catching designs that stand out on store shelves. Ben and Neil work closely with their clients to ensure their can designs are both functional and visually appealing.

Overall, the rise of canned beer represents an exciting time in the beer world. As more and more breweries turn to cans as their packaging of choice, it will be interesting to see how this trend continues to shape the craft beer market in the years to come. The team at CP&P anticipates that cans will become even more prevalent. Breweries that haven’t already made the switch may find it necessary to stay competitive. With Ben and Neil’s 10+ years of expertise in beer packaging, they are confident they can help breweries make a smooth transition to cans.

Flexo Plate Services

Over time the nature of flexographic printing has become a more refined and precise method of rubber stamping. As it’s evolved, it’s become widely popular in the consumer product and the printing and packaging industries.

Typically, flexographic printing involves a polymer image carrier that is engraved to create the design for the label. These image carriers can include, cylinders, sleeves, and plates to achieve the desired look. The beauty of this type of printing is that it allows for a continuous process with high speeds and maintained accuracy.

However, as the demand for rendering high-resolution images for specific labels has grown, Digital printing has become a great option for smaller-volume jobs that are not required to be repeated over and over again. Currently, Century Packaging & Printing utilizes both digital and flexographic printing to meet customer needs and requirements.

Over the past 25 years of being in the printing industry, CP&P has invested in making its own plates, but with the evolution of the digital press, they no longer need as many plates as they used to. At one point, CP&P was heavily involved in the newspaper business with over 60% of their annual sales coming from this portion of the business. This meant that a large majority of their resources went toward the newspaper market.

One complexity of printing advertising labels for newspapers lies in the fact that they do not often repeat. This process is fundamentally built around a “one and done” thought process and need. After the plate is run once to create the label for the advertiser, it is no longer used again.

As the majority of our society has pivoted digitally to obtain their daily news sources, the number of front pages available for advertising labels has steadily declined. CP&P has adapted to this downturn in demand for advertising labels by pivoting to the food, beverage, and other key markets. They have also leveraged the power of their hybrid press, added in 2022, which has opened up their capacity in plate making.

At this time, CP&P is in a place in their business where they are excited to share the expertise they have accumulated over the last 25 years with other printers in need of a high-quality source of plates. CP&P has put in the time and effort to become distinguished in the plate-making domain.

A significant piece of their success stems from the contract work that was done with Carol Jones– a renowned expert in plate making. Carol worked at Clemson for over 32 years and taught in their graphic communications department. She specialized in Flexography and Electronic Prepress and was devoted to testing and research associated with printing processes and products. Due to their dedication and commitment to putting forth the highest standards, Ben and Neil contracted Carol’s help to strengthen their proficiency in plate making. She came in and standardized their current plate-making process with quality checks to ensure that the quality was not only up to CP&P’s specifications but also held up to high-standard industry specifications. As CP&P’s mastery and aptitude in the world of plate-making grew, they purchased new equipment and established new procedures that would differentiate them from other printers.

Another unique hallmark of CP&P’s plate-making process is that they do not use chemicals. As part of their continued commitment to excellence, CP&P remains clean and environmentally sound with a promise to reduce waste anywhere they can.

The team at CP&P is more than ready to share their knowledge with other printers in the area and will gladly be a resource to anyone who is on the search for a new plate manufacturer. Instead of relying on contracting out to plate-making companies who may not have the same standards as CP&P, Ben and Neil are working diligently on selling their plates to those who are looking for a new plate-making partner.

CP&P ISO Recertification

Century Printing and Packaging has always centered around customer satisfaction and label quality. This high commitment to detail has contributed to the success of their 25 years of business. As part of its commitment to continuous improvement, CP&P has obtained and maintained ISO 901:2015 certification since 2017. The latest audit was completed in January, and their certification was renewed in March. This certification will be effective until 2026, with annual audits to ensure continued compliance.

ISO is an internationally recognized quality management standard. It is a set of quality levels that provide a framework for companies to manage and exceed expectations. ISO standards ensure company products, services, and processes are consistent and cohesive with customer and market needs.

ISO recertification includes stringent audits, detailed procedure run-throughs, and itemized logs. Quality processes follow specific customer service, production, and internal assessment standards. Having ISO auditor approval proves that CP&P can maintain high-level standards and requirements. It puts CP&P on a national playing field with larger companies.

The executive team at CP&P also engages with an independent auditor to ensure the standards are met during the interim of the 3-year ISO 9001 recertifications. These yearly audits are smaller and take about a day.

Ensuring the adoption of exceptional benchmarks allows CP&P to become a better company and improve its internal processes and products. This rigorous audit system can attest that CP&P can meet a well-regarded international standard and compete on any level to meet customer needs.

Because of the importance of a customer-facing product like a label, many clients have stringent quality requirements. Proving that CP&P can maintain the 9001:2015 standard yearly is a minimum baseline requirement before partnering. This focuses on ensuring that CP&P is continuously putting out the best product. Not only does this create long-lasting partnerships, but it also separates CP&P from companies not as serious about quality systems.