Probably the ultimate in flexibility of printed film supply and customer response time was achieved during 4 days in early May. This occurred when one of the UK’s market leading bakery brand owners were informed by their supplier “That due to circumstances outside their control no printed film could be delivered to them for at least the next 7-10 days.”
At the time they had on order for delivery no less than 23 SKU printed designs. Therefore the potential problems this caused for the customers’ business were nothing less than catastrophic. As a consequence they rang National Flexible at 11 AM on the Thursday morning indicating that they desperately needed no less than 23 SKU’s delivered by Tuesday of the following week, or they could not deliver to many of their own major customers. Could we help? Their problems were compounded as their production was planned on 6 different factories, located throughout the UK.

The successful delivery of all 23 prints within the allocated period demonstrates just what can be achieved with 100% commitment from all the different parties involved, allied to excellent teamwork, organisation and planning.

Due to existing workload the whole 23 prints had to be condensed into just 72 hours, including Saturday and Sunday. Thus the requirements were

• Artwork submission and approval

• Film slitting and delivery to printers

• Origination and plate making

• Film printing and slitting

• Printed film delivery to 6 different sites

For all 23 designs most of which had to be available over the bank holiday weekend.

The first artwork was submitted to National Flexible, checked, returned and approved by 3:00 PM on Thursday. By which time the first batch of film was slit and on its way for printing. This format was then continued over the next 24 hours with a flow of artwork from the customer, film from National Flexible, plates from Reproflex 3 in Northumberland, plus printing in the UK Midlands.

The whole exercise was now orchestrated personally by George Slack MD of National Flexible who was monitoring progress and directing the various teams of people. Deliveries continued around the clock throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday including meeting deadlines for booking at factories through the night and early hours of the morning.

It was a remarkable achievement by all the companies and individuals concerned and demonstrates the commitment that the many people of our industry have to our customers. It is unlikely that many consumers would have been perturbed if the products involved were not on the supermarkets shelves, but as we all know, the supermarkets would undoubtedly have been reading the “riot act” if deliveries had failed to materialise and they had been “shorted.”

Fortunately catastrophe was averted and only those involved know just how close it came to being a disaster. The brand owner understandably has asked for confidentiality but they gave the highest praise and thanks to all the other parties involved.


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