For Paragon Inks, Relationships and Trust are Paramount
By David Savastano
Now, 25 years later, Paragon Inks is one of the leading UV flexo inks and coatings manufacturers for narrow and mid-web applications in the UK and Ireland, and is fast expanding its international business. The company’s success can be directly attributed to its emphasis not only on quality products and service, but working to the company values and creating relationships with its customers, giving the web printers in today’s market a “choice.”
From the very start, Paragon Inks saw the opportunity to improve service and develop the idea of customer service, integrity, trust and actually providing the customer with what they needed in a business relationship, as well as a high quality, consistent product,” said Amanda Jones, Paragon Inks’ UK and international sales manager. “If there is no trust, how can a company grow its business?”
To ensure development of the relationship with the customer, Paragon Inks puts tremendous efforts into providing consistently high-quality products.Theynot only QC every batch of ink that is made, conducting more than 15 QC checks on each ink, including, for instance, the fact that have a color tolerance – the ink is either right or wrong – but also QC every raw material coming in to their factory to ensure Paragon’s exact standards are maintained though the whole supply chain.
“We send our products out right every time,” Ms. Jones said. “It’s either exact or it doesn’t go out. Our process magenta today will be the exact same five years from now.
“One of the keys for our customers, both national and global, is that we have one manufacturing site, so we can guarantee consistency and quality, and all of our customers’ production sites will get the same product from us,” Ms. Jones added. “Larger ink companies who use many manufacturing sites simply cannot provide this type of product consistency.”
Narrow web UV was, and still is, Paragon’s area of expertise, and when Paragon Inks opened, letterpress was more prominent. The company was also a pioneer in UV optical fiber coatings, giving them a head start into UV flexo.
“Initially we were working on narrow web letterpress, and as UV flexo developed, so did Paragon Inks,” Ms. Jones said. “We were one of the only companies to develop UV optical fiber coatings, which has similar properties to flexo, which allowed us to move into the market of UV flexo inks, giving the industry a very stable and consistent ink due to the unique specifications of manufacture required for the optical fiber coatings. Today, we have one of the leading shares of the UV flexo and letterpress market in the UK and Ireland, with international business accounting for more than 30 percent of our turnover.”
The narrow web industry has evolved in recent years, in terms of web widths and the use of flexible substrates. Paragon Inks has dedicated itself to meet these changes by producing dedicated ink ranges such as the Low Odour Series and the Low Migratory Series, and continues to expand its R&D and customer service, at a time when its competitors are retrenching.
“The narrow web market has changed so much,” Ms. Jones noted. “Now it’s narrow web and mid-web, ranging from labels to shrink sleeves and flexible packaging. We have 37 employees in the UK, and 17 of them are technical, focused completely on UV for the narrow and mid-web market. No one else has technical teams like that. We’re actually expanding while others are cutting back.”
Ultimately, Paragon Inks continues to thrive due to its dedication to earning the trust of its customers and giving them a choice. The company is presently building a brand-new site that will allow Paragon Inks to triple its production capacity and customer services by the end of 2010.
“Relationships are paramount – the majority of our customers have been with us through the duration,” Ms. Jones said. “Sometimes we lose a customer due to a competitor undercutting our price, but we usually get them back pretty fast, as price only counts for so much. They realize the grass isn’t greener there, and that PMS 345 isn’t quite a 345 anymore.
“The company philosophy still carries through,” Ms. Jones concluded. “Our business has grown year on year ever since we opened, and we are constantly driven to improve our consistency, quality and service.A lot of people may think that we are too good to be true, but we have never had a disappointed customer yet.”