Van Son, Regional Ink Companies Join Forces

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.04.05

Van Son Holland Ink and more than a dozen regional ink manufacturers are working together to distribute Van Son�s new VS5 ink to the large sheetfed market.

For many years, Van Son Holland Ink, subsidiary of Royal Dutch Printing Ink Van Son, has been involved in the mid- and large sheetfed market. This year, the company is adding further emphasis to that segment with a new distribution strategy including its new VS5 ink.

However, Van Son Holland is entering it through a unique approach. Rather than expanding its own sales force or using a graphic arts distributor network, Van Son has partnered with more than a dozen regional ink companies to sell and service its VS5 ink. Each company has exclusive rights to distribute the Van Son product within its own region.

By doing so, Van Son and the regional companies each reap benefits. Van Son will sell more ink, and regional companies that are well known by local printers are providing the service. For the local ink companies, being associated with Van Son is a plus, as is being able to sell and service more customers.

“Van Son has been selling large sheetfed market around the world, and we are now entering the market in the U.S.,” said Joe Bendowski, Van Son Holland’s president. “Our VS5 ink is an extremely high-quality ink, and the way we are marketing it is unique because it is being sold through other ink companies. These are all high-quality mid-sized ink companies. Van Son has never been a competitor to them, and we have an excellent relationship with all of these companies.
Van Son’s national ad campaign highlights its new VS5 ink and distribution/service network. Below, some of the companies that are distributing VS5 ink.

“These companies rely on ink as their livelihood,” Mr. Bendowski added. “We bring them benefits such as vacuum packaging, exclusivity in selling it in their territory and our expertise in marketing, and we will be able to bring it to Drupa and other major trade shows.”

For Van Son, having these regional ink companies provide sales, mixing, support and relationships with local sheetfed printers is a tremendous benefit.

The genesis of the idea came from Mr. Bendowski and Paul Brouwer, Royal Dutch Printing Ink Van Son’s president. “Paul and I took two two-week trips and were pleased with the positive reception,” Mr. Bendowski said.

Opportunities for Ink Companies
For ink manufacturers, the idea of working with Van Son on the V5S product line is appealing.

To date, Mr. Bendowski said that a number of U.S. ink companies have agreed to distribute and service the Vs5 line in their region. These include:

• A&S Graphic Supplies (Baltimore, MD)
• American Printing Ink (Chattanooga, TN)
• Bakers Ink (Blaine, MN)
• Bay Press (Hayward, CA)
• Chemprint North (Chicago, IL)
• Crawford Printing Ink Company (Denver, CO)
• Florida Ink Manufacturing Company (Tampa, FL)
• Grand Rapids Printing Ink (Grand Rapids, MI)
• Graphic Ink Company (Salt Lake City, UT)
• Keystone Printing Ink (Philadelphia, PA)
• Press Color (Appleton, WI)
• Prestige Printing Ink (Fort Worth, TX)
• Reich Color Corp. (Puerto Rico)
• Seminole Ink & Graphic Supply (Orlando, FL)

Leaders of these ink companies see Vs5 as an opportunity to work withVan Son Ink and expand their own businesses.

“We’re a regional manufacturer, and working with Van Son provides us with additional name recognition,” said Doug Chesley, president of Graphic Ink Systems. “We also feel really good about being aligned with Van Son, as the level of integrity is there and their marketing is second to none. We’re glad to have our name connected with Van Son. All the feedback that we have received from our customers so far has been good.”

“Van Son has been established in North America, and has a good reputation and following,” said John Toigo, vice president of sales and marketing for Grand Rapids Printing Ink. “We just signed up, and already we have one of our customers using VS5. It also allows us to service their current customers as well.”

“We went to a council meeting in October not knowing what to expect, and Van Son was really first class,” said Scott Nessmith, Florida Ink Manufacturers Co. (FIMCO) vice president of sales. “We are opening new doors with VS5. We’re ink guys, and we can service these accounts, which makes it more hectic which we enjoy.

That the product is getting favorable reviews from customers is also a plus.

“VS5 is a very good product,” said Bruce Baker, president of Bakers Ink. “It will stay open for 30 hours, it has good work and turn properties and excellent press stability. It complements our line of products.”

“It’s a really good ink,” Mr. Nessmith said. “My customers are raving about it. They can work and turn with VS5 faster than anything they have tried.”

The combination of Van Son’s reputation, the quality of VS5 and the service of the local ink companies looks like a winning combination.

“It’s an exceptionally good product,” said Jim Stanley, president of American Printing Ink. “Its consistency and quality have been right up to par. It brought us quite a bit of new business. Van Son is extremely market savvy and we have gotten quite a few new accounts because of them. Almost all of the printers we go to have a good impression of Van Son, which makes the VS5 a easy sell.”