In the early 1990s, Progressive Ink, led by its president, Jerry Mosley, and Mitch Baker, its vice president and general manager, made tremendous inroads into the packaging industry by combining high quality water-based flexo and gravure inks with strong service and competitive prices.
By 1996, Progressive Ink had sales of $62 million annually, and was growing rapidly when it was acquired by Alper Ink Group to be the core of its ink business. In turn, Alper Ink Group sold its ink operations to Flint Ink in 2000, just after Mr. Mosley had retired.
For Mr. Mosley and Mr. Baker, though, packaging ink was very much in their blood. Mr. Mosley returned to the industry in July 2001 with his new business, The Packaging Ink Company, which is concentrating on water-based inks. Mr. Baker joined The Packaging Ink Company as its president in November.
“We produced our first ink in August,” Mr. Baker said. “The packaging ink market in the only thing we know how to do. What we saw is that there was a reason to be an alternative to the big companies.”
Mr. Mosley and Mr. Baker both have more than 30 years in the ink industry, including more than a dozen years each at Progressive Ink. As a result, they know what it takes to run a successful business. The Packaging Ink Company’s headquarters in Pine Bluff, AR is located in a 110,000 square foot building, and it has been equipped with all new high speed computer-operated dispersion mills.
A company can have new equipment, but without key people it will never flourish. Because of the downturn in the economy, a number of top-flight people have been let go from other ink companies, giving PIC many good people from which to choose.
“We have a lot of contacts, and a lot of good people fell out,” Mr. Baker said. “We’ve been able to attract a lot of good people, including Scott Clark, who is our general manager. We have 60 people already.”
Since its inception, Packaging Ink Company is stressing quality and service, and it has found a receptive audience from its customers.
“The service side of business has been virtually ignored during the past few years, and we’re reversing that trend,” Mr. Baker said. “Strangely enough, there’s less integrity, which is a little short of amazing. The belief of The Packaging Ink Company is that ink used in the packaging industry is not a commodity but is a specialty chemical specifically formulated and serviced to satisfy the unique needs of every customer. We have to really sell and take a non-commodity approach to survive. We want to formulate specifically for our customers.
“The ink business has never been easy,” Mr. Baker concluded. “We’re a young company, but we’re well funded. The customers have welcomed us back, which has really been gratifying. We look forward to being a responsible supplier to the packaging industry in North America.”
With its combination of ink industry experience and commitment to providing excellent service, The Packaging Ink Company is well positioned to be a welcome new supplier for packaging printers in the years to come.