Top Companies Report

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.


Rick Clendenning

Key Personnel: Kotaro Morita, chairman; Rick Clendenning, president and CEO; Bryce Kristo, CFO and senior VP, general affairs; John Hrdlick, senior VP COO, operations; Rick Westrom, senior VP, strategic global sourcing/R&D director; Bob Osmundsen, senior VP, general counsel; Jonathan Ellaby, VP, international operations; Charlie Sagert, VP director of sales; Ken Kisner, VP, business development/CTO Digital Division ink technologies; Mark Hill, VP liquid technology/assistant R&D director; Toru Kaneko, VP R&D director offset; Jon Graunke, VP/R&D director – energy curable technologies; Joe Kelly, VP/R&D director – water technologies; Dave Maternowski, VP quality systems; Dan Lombardo, VP of operations, Metal/Energy Curable; Jim Lambert, VP/GM Digital Division; Randy LaCaze, VP/CTO Digital Division electronics & hardware; Dave Waller, VP of rigid packaging sales; David Sambo, VP of offset sales; Bruce Elder, VP of liquid sales; Joe Cichon, VP of manufacturing; Jim Bailen, VP of engineering.


Number of Employees: Approximately 1,100.


Operating Facilities: Fifteen (15) manufacturing locations and approximately 190 in-plant locations throughout North America. Two North American R&D Centers: West Chicago, IL (traditional technologies) and San Leandro, CA (inkjet technologies).


Subsidiaries: INX International U.K., Rochdale, England; INX International France, Bretigny, France; INX Digital Milan, Italy; INX Digital Prague; Parent Company: Sakata INX, Osaka, Japan.


Comments: Despite sales gains in 2011, INX International Ink Company still struggled with margins, as dramatically rising raw material costs impacted the company’s bottom line. As a result, the company prepared for further challenges in 2012, and the resulting improvement was significant.


“After a difficult year in 2011, we had a clear plan and strategy for 2012 to improve our performance,” said Rick Clendenning, president and CEO of INX International Ink Co. “Everyone in the company did their part. We executed the plan and proved successful in meeting and exceeding our goals. We implemented some infrastructure changes during the year to control and reduce costs. It was hard to do but necessary, and we were able to find some relief with much needed price adjustments within our customer base.


“The improvement we experienced in our company’s performance was the result of much hard work by many people, not due to the industry improving,” Mr. Clendenning added. “In some market segments, I think it’s getting worse. Due to the downturn from these segments and customers in the marketplace, there is too much capacity available. That usually leads to bad and aggressive decisions by some in these markets.”


Packaging and digital continue to be INX International Ink’s strongest growth markets.


“Our sales growth came mostly from our packaging divisions,” Mr. Clendenning said. “This includes flexible packaging from our liquid division, and metal and plastic packaging on behalf of our rigid packaging division. The digital unit showed some growth as we continued our Evolve marketing strategy. This involves introducing our traditional customers to digital printing and evolving them into the digital world.”


The European metal decorating ink market has proven to be a strength for INX International Ink, and the company is expanding its operations in Europe, led by Jonathan Ellaby, the company’s vice president of international operations, who himself was the recipient of a major industry award from the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM).


“We broke ground on a new manufacturing facility in England that will be the largest two-piece metal decorating plant outside the U.S.,” Mr. Clendenning noted. “It’s located near our existing plant in Rochdale, just outside Manchester, and we expect it to be ready mid-year. The new facility replaces the current building and will have more capacity. It also will allow us to move more manufacturing of technologies to the European markets directly from England.


“In March 2012 at the NAPIM Convention, Jonathan Ellaby was honored with a 2012 Printing Ink Pioneer Award for 40 years of dedicated service to the industry,” Mr. Clendenning said. “All of his colleagues were proud that Jonathan was recognized in this manner. We look forward to his continued dedication to growing our business internationally.”


While Mr. Clendenning noted that some raw material costs have stabilized, the pricing levels are at or near all-time highs.


“Some raw materials have stabilized, but are doing so at much higher levels than needed or historically,” he added. “Supply issues have eased, but we are watching some specific materials very closely. Our sourcing group under the direction of Rick Westrom is doing a great job securing critical raw materials to supply our customer base. I am cautiously optimistic about supply but not so much about price. We will have to wait and see.”


With all of INX’s preparations heading into 2012, the company is on excellent footing heading into 2013.


“We anticipate a strong year for all our divisions and product lines,” Mr. Clendenning said. “All of the hard work we did in 2012 has put us in better position for a successful year. We have merged our digital resources into one group in order to gain additional synergies, and I’m very excited about the great interest our digital efforts are generating. The opportunities exist, and I’m hopeful of developing some new business as well.”