Label & Narrow Web magazine, the premier resource for label professionals and those in the branding and packaging fields chose PLPS for this month’s “Company to Watch.” The piece showcases how we started and where we are going. https://www.labelandnarrowweb.com/issues/2023-10-01/view_features/companies-to-watch-premium-label-packaging-solutions-plps/
Acquisitions of mid-size companies by large groups result in powerhouses with combined technologies in commercial hubs around the world. Conglomerates form to cover markets in strong nations and continental regions, and smaller groups emerge everywhere. Many are powered by private equity, and all compete regardless of size.
PE firms are finance organizations with profit the primary goal. They target industries with health and growth in the short term, possibly long term. One essential to financial goals is experienced leadership on the ground.
Over the past two years, family-funded Dunes Point Capital (DPC) acquired four well-established label and packaging converters in the Northeast US. The small PE company created Premium Label & Packaging Solutions and now has seasoned industry leaders, from within the operations and from outside, honing a dynamic group with high performance in several strong packaging markets.
In 2021 and 2022, Premium Label & Packaging Solutions (PLPS) acquired Overnight Labels, Label Graphics Manufacturing, HP Mile, and Luminer Converting. PLPS now comprises eight plants in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and employs 225 people. Its customers range from small to very large manufacturers with global reach in healthcare, wellness, personal care, and industrial segments.
In the late 1980s, Luminer was launched in southern New Jersey; at the same time Overnight was being built in Long Island, NY, into a regional contender. “They were not really competitors,” says Leslie Gurland, vice president of sales at PLPS. “Overnight was in prime labels and Luminer was mostly pharmaceutical. As time went on both founders were looking to move their businesses to the next stage and found an acquirer in PLPS.”
Over the years, HP Mile in Syracuse, NY, had been busy with acquisitions of its own: Privateer and Label One, both in Old Saybrook, CT. Label Graphics, in Little Falls, NJ, was the most mature company in the group with 44 years in business. Quite a few specialists remain on the ground in all four companies. They are involved in sales, product development and general management of their facilities.
“This is Dunes Point’s first foray into packaging,” Gurland says. “They wanted to be in the beauty, personal care and wellness markets. First they targeted Overnight, which produces high end, sophisticated graphics and labels.” Overnight’s specialties are vitamin supplements, nutraceuticals, sports nutrition, food and beverage, health and beauty, and household products. But the acquirer gained much more as it expanded its reach.
Luminer focuses on the pharmaceutical business and makes extended content labels for clinical trial work and other pharmaceutical applications. HP Mile’s expertise is in pharmaceutical and medical labels, as well as specialty tapes. Label Graphics is known for its range of packaging products, like plough folds, multi-page booklets, peelbacks, tube laminate decorating, and hot stamping.
Yet each knows something about the other shops’ expertise. “Every business PLPS acquired has an overlap, additional expertise that the next company does,” says Gurland. “We are always expanding our breadth and our depth.”
One example is a project with a large customer who wants to move to 100% recyclability, with new materials, new inks, new adhesives. “It’s a huge undertaking,” Gurland adds. “Combining the technical expertise and unique capabilities of each location allows us to bring the same solutions as the bigger players in the industry with the passion and speed to market of a smaller organization. This is what is resonating with our customers.”
“We’re now making stand-up pouches. We have an entire factory doing those,” says Gurland. “It’s a big investment, the kind most people aren’t going to make. We needed a bigger press, so we just took delivery of a new Lombardi, giving us a larger ROI.”
Sales teams from the four companies are now one. Gurland, former executive VP at Lux Global Label and an industry presence for decades, heads a sales force that represents the spectrum of processes, capabilities and enhancements offered by the expanded business.
“The companies that formed PLPS were entrepreneurs, and we are keeping that entrepreneurial spirit,” Gurland says. “We are available 24/7. We have to try harder. It’s in our DNA. Our customers want that.
“Our slogan is ‘Changing the Packaging Paradigm.’ We are branding our group. We’re not just focusing on our bottom line, but also our culture, who we are. It’s about our customers, our people, our community. Our mission is whatever the customer’s need is. We make the customer’s reality.”
PLPS runs 51 presses in a wide variety of print processes. Nilpeter and Mark Andy equipment are dominant, and four HP Indigo digital presses. In addition to the new Lombardi, two older units operate in the Little Falls plant, each 24" wide with a 36" repeat. All are flexo with LED curing.
Rewind equipment is from CEI and Rotoflex, and Karlville has supplied most of the flexible packaging converting machinery to handle seaming, pouching and inspection.
PLPS pays attention to manufacturing protocols. Its Farmingdale, NY, plant has Platinum GMI certification (Graphic Measure International), which ensures that color standards are met at the facility to provide control and uniformity. Plants producing pharmaceutical and OTC labels are ISO certified and cGMP compliant.
This year the company is particularly pleased to have received Safe Quality Food Certification (SQF), also at Farmingdale. SQF will let the company expand its food, beverage, and nutraceutical label work. The certification addresses food safety and quality management in a dozen food related categories, including food package manufacturing and consumer products packaging.
Increasing the value of a business is accomplished by acquisition and organic growth. Some companies focus on one more than the other, but PLPS works on both. “Everybody targets 10% growth per year, but we’d like to see 10% organically,” Gurland notes. “Additional growth comes from acquisition.
“What appealed to me, and a big reason I joined PLPS, is DPC’s commitment not just in increasing the financial value of the group but on making the businesses a better place for their employees. In an age when cost cutting is a given, PLPS improved the health benefits of the employees of three of the companies to match the excellent benefits Luminer was offering.
“DPC doesn’t just state its values, I feel they live them: honesty, humility, curiosity, impact, and team first,” she says. “To work alongside the industry greats – the four founders of Luminer, Overnight Label, HP Mile, and Label Graphics, people I have admired for years – is such an honor and privilege.”