Colonial Printing

Location

Colonial Printing is centrally located in Huntsville, Alabama at 1505 The Boardwalk, 35816.

OVERVIEW

Colonial Printing Mailing and Packaging is mid-sized hybrid shop located in Huntsville, AL. The plant supports digital, wide format, commercial, media and recently expanded into packaging.

Equipment includes a 40” 6-color Heidelberg press with in-line AQ coating, Bobst die cutters, multiple folder/gluers. Colonial is the largest packaging printer in the Huntsville area with customers around the country.

Legacy system replaced

Originally targeting media and commercial print, the business had grown tremendously and moved from a 10,000 sq ft warehouse to a 40,000 sq ft facility. At that point, newly appointed president Dale Ford realized the expansion was not complete with a comprehensive MIS software system that included folding carton packaging.

“In 2018, we were primarily a commercial and media printer. Folding carton is now 70% of our business.”

The problem was a decades old estimating system. In addition, a myriad of disparate software pieces linked the workflow together, “I walked into a plant which had no true MIS system: They had an estimating system, but a lot of time was wasted because it was not set up correctly,” Ford explains.

According to Jeff Collins, Production Manager, “We realized we needed to automate the flow from estimating to production. And that automation would save us a lot of money. It takes out those non-value add activities and tasks and just throws them away!

“A lot of the human error is also taken out. No more 20-30 touch points for an operator just to put the accurate information into that job.”

Automation eliminates touches, reduces time

According to Jeff Collins, Production Manager, “We realized we needed to automate the flow from estimating to production. And that automation would save us a lot of money. It takes out those non-value add activities and tasks and just throws them away!

“A lot of the human error is also taken out. No more 20-30 touch points for an operator just to put the accurate information into that job.”

Control and visibility

“HiFlow offers a total picture of the plant in real time with real data and gives us the ability – especially us in operations and manufacturing – of what’s happening on the plant floor at any time. I have all the data i need to assess situations and make decisions. There’s no solution we could find that that does the automation like HiFlow does.”

Collins reflects further: “Having a schedule on a screen that everyone can see – this is my machine, and this is what job i’m running – you can have that high level overview with HiFlow.”

“…whether we’re dealing with die lines,
embellishments, foil spot, UV coating-
all of which go into really awesome
packaging- HiFlow will support it. It
allows us to understand exactly what
we need to do to that folding carton job and it’s extremely simple to
understand.”

Data available instantly

“One of my biggest frustrations was figuring out the WIP.” Ford says. “I was needing to do this all manually, which took a day and a half at the end of every month to get just a guestimate.”

With HiFlow, end of month accounting processes take minutes, is exact and up to the minute.

“I get all the data,” Collins says. “HiFlow offers that total picture of the plant in real time with real data and gives us the ability -especially us in operations and manufacturing – of what’s happening on the plant floor at any time.

Scheduling simplified

“I now have dynamic scheduling! So I no longer have to sit in planning meetings for 30 minutes to figure out how to best plan a job to make sure it meets the customer’s expectation,” Collins elaborates.

“I think it’s going to have a big impact in our shop and our workflow being able to take all those different variables into account. That’s going to add up and make us more efficient.”

“I can plan a job with the click of a button and know exactly when I can turn something around based on the estimate, and with information from inventory, it alerts me about anything that may be wrong.”

What in your opinion stands out in HiFlow's MIS/MES systems?

Collins: The software hits on all those smart factory and Industry 4.0 bullet points. I have all the data i need to assess situations and make decisions. And there’s no solution that we could find that that does the automation like HiFlow does.

Implementation 
experience

“The key to a successful integration of new software is the feeling of not being just a number. The HiFlow team visited our facility and we were introduced to all the people who would build the system.

You know those involved in the project and implementing it by their first names,” says Ford. Collins concurs. “It’s extremely important that you have a team behind the solution that understands your business, understands the pitfalls of integrating something new and transitioning from an old legacy solution to the new solution.

 

“With HiFlow, the people on the team were absolutely phenomenal in the planning and preparation phase. We always knew where we were at in the process and we were always kept on task. There’s a lot of requirements that need to happen to integrate a solution like this and they walked us the wholeway through.”

Collins reflects on Colonial’s implementation experience. “One of the key things that I’ve learned from this integration is how the HiFlow system really fits our specific needs in packaging. We couldn’t find that in any other
solutions.

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Do you have additional questions about implementation? Contact our experts to discover how HiFlow System can help address your company’s challenges.