Using the Primefire 106 digital printing system, the Swiss pharmaceutical packaging specialist Rondo AG is extending its just-in-time supply of small delivery quantities down to run sizes of one and jobs with variable data – and by so doing is consolidating its position as a supply chain partner to its customers. They benefit from shorter job throughput times and a reduction in procurement effort of up to 50 percent.
On-demand concepts in the demanding pharmaceutical industry? When it comes to secondary packagings, they are a reflection of what is happening in the market: “The trend is towards ever shorter runs in response to personalized medicine and increasing language and country versions. At the same time, the delivery times for medicines are also becoming shorter,” reports Joachim Hoeltz, CEO of Rondo. Keeping costs low and delivery capacity high within these parameters is a challenge for many pharmaceutical companies. The company has therefore been offering a supply-on-demand service from its plant in Basel since the spring of 2017. The goal: supplying pharmaceutical manufacturers as needed with small batch sizes in consistently high quality with delivery times of less than a week. The added value for customers is greater cost efficiency and responsiveness. At Rondo, automated workflows as well as connecting its own IT-supported workflow to the customers’ ERP system form the basis for lean and flexible supply chain processes.
The new offering has been successfully launched. Rondo produces a large number of individual jobs on demand for an important major customer. The folding cartons in batch sizes of around 100 to 1,000 units are produced by a ten-color Speedmaster XL 105 perfecting press with coating unit using classic offset printing. However, Rondo’s previous solution did not go far enough. That’s why its Speedmaster XL 105 has been joined by a Primefire 106. “Offset printing has its limits when it comes to the personalization and run lengths of just one copy. That’s why we took a serious look at digital printing, tested quite a few systems, and ultimately opted for the Primefire 106,” explains Hans-Peter Süßlack, Business Process Manager at Rondo. As the first industrial digital printing press for packagings in B1 format, the Primefire 106 fits in perfectly with the Speedmaster in 70 x 100 format as well as with Rondo’s business policy, as Süßlack remarks: “We stand for customized developments and for innovations.”
With the Primefire 106, Rondo can now produce pharmaceutical packagings from batch sizes of one cost effectively, and add variable data such as serial numbers to the packaging directly during the printing process. The reliable and trusting partnership with Heidelberg that has grown over many years also played an important role in the decision. In the supply-on-demand production, the Primefire 106 and Speedmaster XL 105 complement each other’s respective strengths: “The Primefire 106 looks after shorter runs and jobs involving variable data, while the Speedmaster XL 105 handles longer runs,” reports Giovanni De Luca, Director of Operations for Switzerland at Rondo. Heidelberg’s extensive expertise ensures identical color quality so that the customer cannot see any difference.
The supply-on-demand service with the two high-performance machines from Heidelberg offers pharmaceutical manufacturers a variety of benefits when it comes to time and costs: the just-in-time delivery of precise quantities enables them to save storage costs, or avoid them entirely. Obsolete packagings never happen. In addition, the close IT integration reduces process costs, particularly in administration. On top of that, Rondo can handle the customer’s incoming goods inspection in compliance with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) regulations on request. Up to 50 percent of the total supply chain costs on the customer side can be saved in this way. In addition, the fast, on-demand supply of packaging materials allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to reduce delivery times for their medicines and in this way gain an edge in product distribution.
However, that’s far from the end of the story for Rondo: a development project to serialize medical product packagings is currently in progress with the Primefire 106 so that the European Falsified Medicines Directive, which will be binding from February 2019, can also be implemented cost effectively inline using digital printing.
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