The secret to being more successful five years from now than you are today? Accepting that your company will not, and cannot, be the same.
Initially, the company concentrated on applying coatings for touch-screen activation before switching its focus to a hybrid approach. The company developed a lamination process to become the first in the world to embed Thinfilm NFC OpenSense tags into folding cartons. Earlier this year, the company introduced a new line of medical packaging that married the two technologies. “The touch-screen printing process taught us how to print electronic components and conductives, and that was important,” Lee says. “The NFC side taught us how to marry conventional electronics with printed electronics in a hybrid scenario. Now, with our medical packaging, we’ve put those two concepts together and we actually have packaging that integrates sensors.”
Lee says that through October, the company has produced 50,000 cartons and other structures with integrated NFC tags and the volume is growing rapidly. Being first to market with the technology has cast the company as an innovator with longtime clients, helping to counteract the perception that packaging is a commodity; it has also led to some interesting opportunities they didn’t anticipate. “Now we have customers in different industries altogether who aren’t looking at us for packaging at all,” Lee says. “They want us to print a component they manufacture, and it’s not something we’ve ever thought of before. We used to be a packaging manufacturer: Now we’re an advanced manufacturer that happens to make packaging but can make other things as well.”
Exploring the Third Dimension
Reinvention is old hat to Craig Miller. He was nearing his 50th birthday when he left a career in psychology to found the Las Vegas-based Pictographics during the early days of wide-format digital printing. Diversification and early adoption of new technologies have been key elements of his strategy from the beginning, from bringing electrostatically printed commercial wallcoverings to market (the first to do so, he says) to founding a separate business unit to develop innovative applications for the military and law enforcement agencies.
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