Top Companies Report

3 INX International Ink Co.


3 INX International Ink Co.
150 N. Martingale, Suite 700
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (630) 382-1800
Fax: (847) 969-9758

Sales: $335 million.

Major Products: A full line of ink and coatings solutions technology for packaging, commercial and digital print applications, including metal decorating, flexographic, gravure, web offset, lamination, corrugated, sheetfed, digital and UV/EB inks and coatings.

Key Personnel: Kotaro Morita, chairman; Rick Clendenning, president and CEO; Bryce Kristo, CFO, senior VP, general affairs; Yuichi Kataura, CTO, senior VP, product development; George Polasik, senior VP, offset operations; John Hrdlick, senior VP COO, operations; Rick Westrom, senior VP, strategic global sourcing; Bob Osmundsen, senior VP, general counsel; Joseph Cichon, VP, manufacturing technology; Ken Kisner, president, INX Digital International; Dave Waller, VP, sales director of rigid packaging; Jonathan Ellaby, VP, international operations; Dave Maternowski, VP quality systems; Dan Lombardo, VP of operations, metal/energy curable; Jim Lambert, VP and GM, Digital Division; Randy LaCaze, VP and CTO, Digital Division.

Number of Employees: Approximately 1,150.

Operating Facilities: Approximately 20 locations and 190 in-plants throughout North America. Subsidiaries: INX International U.K., Rochdale, England; INX International France, Bretigny, France. Sister company: INX Digital, San Leandro, CA; INX Digital Milan; INX Digital Prague; Parent company: Sakata INX, Osaka, Japan.

Comments: INX International Ink Co. enjoyed an excellent year in 2011, with growth coming across all product lines, although higher raw material prices impacted the bottom line.

“Last year was very good, as we experienced one of our best years for sales growth,” said Rick Clendenning, president and CEO. “Each of our divisions grew, which is very encouraging to see, with our packaging-related sales growing more than our commercial side. There has been improvement in the segments we serve on the consumer packaging side. Our liquid packaging products division experienced the most growth. Sales of our energy curable products continue to rise, too, and our international sales also have experienced gains. However, the commercial printers are still struggling as the competition is fierce and the market continues to shrink.

“That said, our sales growth did not help us meet our bottom line goals because of the continued and unprecedented raw materials price increases throughout the year,” Mr. Clendenning added. “We struggled every month because of the raw material pricing.”

Packaging and inkjet are areas of strength for the ink industry, and INX has created a strong portfolio of successful products in these segments.

“Our high technology products in packaging continue to do very well in the marketplace and drive our growth,” Mr. Clendenning said. “Our digital business is very exciting right now. It continues to grow through our EVOLVE strategy as we educate more of our traditional print customers about inkjet and how it can supplement and enhance their own customer offerings.”

Mr. Clendenning noted that INX’s Edwardsville, KS operation received an important honor during the past year.

“Our manufacturing facility in Edwardsville, KS received an award for TPM Excellence and was the first ink company outside Japan to receive the award,” Mr. Clendenning said. “Chris Tucker, our general manager in Edwardsville, travelled to Japan to accept it. We’re very proud of the management team and their colleagues in Edwardsville for achieving this prestigious manufacturing level.And our Digital division is a very dynamic group, too. They are developing some very interesting hardware solutions for our traditional markets.”

Mr. Clendenning said that raw materials costs and supply issues remain the number one concern for INX International Ink.

“We have not seen much relief at all,” he said. “There are some indications things may stabilize in some areas, but there is no indication when raw material prices will start to drop this year.

“There are some materials in very tight supply conditions that we have to monitor and be careful of, but our sourcing group is doing an excellent job in keeping us supplied in every area,” Mr. Clendenning added. “It continues to be a challenging situation and will remain so for some time, but we will keep collaborating within our company worldwide.”

Mr. Clendenning noted that Rick Westrom, INX’s senior vice president of strategic global sourcing, received a major honor last year from the Chicago Printing Ink Production Club (CPIPC).

“From a personnel standpoint, Rick Westrom, our senior vice president of strategic global sourcing, was honored by the CPIPC last December as its ‘Ink Person of the Year,’” Mr. Clendenning noted.
The company also made significant personnel and operational moves as well during the past year.

“We added a highly respected and well known person in our industry when Michael Brice joined the INX management team in late 2011,” Mr. Clendenning reported. “Michael serves as our director of business development. In 2012, we will break ground soon for our new state-of-the-art manufacturing center in England, which is close to our original site outside Manchester. When this site is completed, INX will be moving from our current facility and adding more product lines to our offerings.”

Mr. Clendenning said he is optimistic about the coming year, particularly on the digital side, although raw material and freight costs remain a major concern.

“I am optimistic about this year,” Mr. Clendenning said. “The only big question marks are raw material and freight costs.Due to the volatility and uncertainty of these areas, we have no other choice but to pass along more price increases. Combined with cost reductions we made to our company’s infrastructure in 2011, we should start to see more improvement as 2012 progresses. We are planning to grow in each area by using our technologies and customer service to drive that growth.

“I am very excited about the electronics of our Digital Division and the ink chemistries of INX Digital International,” Mr. Clendenning concluded. “The two continue to collaborate on many opportunities with our EVOLVE Advanced Digital Solutions. Our traditional customers will benefit from using the technology they develop.”