Danielle Stringer – Creative Designer
Danielle is employed as a Creative Designer at Qualvis, working in the Innovations Studio. She joined the company in March 2017.
What were you doing prior to this role?
I graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a BA(Hons) in Graphic Design, following which
I had a 6-month fixed term contract with the University’s Student Union, producing event posters and looking after their social media etc.
I really enjoyed the packaging element of my degree, so it was a natural fit in many respects. Having involvement in packaging creation from start to finish is really interesting. It is also rewarding to learn more than just the design, such as about print finishes and board types etc.
What do you bring to the role?
I believe that I bring a fresh perspective and an abundance of enthusiasm. With new trends and different market challenges, design is changing all the time.
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know
I competed in the ‘British League’ for table tennis (ping pong!) and made the Uni 1st team.
Greg Robertson – Reprographics Operator
Greg is employed as a Reprographics Operator at Qualvis, working in the Innovations Studio. He joined the company in December 2016 having spent a number of years working in the packaging industry.
What were you doing prior to this role?
I did a short stint working for a travel company within the adverting department prior to starting with Qualvis. Prior to that I spent 4 years working for Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS) (now part of the WestRock group) in Market Harborough. The role was more artwork work focussed than print, providing packaging mainly for the pharmaceutical industry.
Like Multi Packaging Solutions, I liked the fact Qualvis is a family company with family values and a great reputation. I also liked the variety of industries that Qualvis serve and the diversity of the food packaging market, which is a little more interesting than pharmaceutical packaging! The location was also a bonus.
What do you bring to the role?
I think my experience and passion for the packaging industry speaks volumes. I also have some significant experience and knowledge of Esko software systems and the plan is to use this knowledge in developing Qualvis’ software systems moving forward.
In at the sharp end - our interns get to see designs come to life
They recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University having studied for their BA(Hons) in Graphic Design – many congratulations to them on their degree success.
Like many other businesses, we see internships as a vital way to engage with current trends in the packaging market. Its also a great ‘get to know you’ stepping stone for both young graduates and firms alike. Because we’re such a people-focused business, we’re always on the look out for friendly and open team players who are curious and eager to learn.
Rosie, who will be with us for 2-3 weeks, said: “It’s so very different working on the carton side as opposed to just graphic design and it’s really interesting to see design in a finished product. Understanding what can be achieved structurally and the various processes involved has been really beneficial.”
And Bethany, who will be with us for 6 weeks, said: “It’s good to work collaboratively and be part of a team in a proper studio as opposed to being at University. The experience of deadlines, time management and working environment has all been very useful.”
Their roles include research projects, designs, sketches and presentations. Also utilising the latest Roland UV-LED proofer coupled with the CAD plotter to create 3D mock ups and understanding the various finishing options available.
Since they started at Qualvis, both have been getting to grips with a range of projects including the Yankee Candle spring/summer gift range, as well as working alongside structural designers and Repro to create new designs for customers such as Greencore (Co-op food on the go), K.A.O (John Frieda gift sets), Thomas J Fudges and Borders Biscuits. They have also helped generate presentations to aid meetings with both potential and established customers.
It’s great to have them both on board and we wish them well in their future careers.
John started his role as Quality & Health and Safety Manager at Qualvis on 04 January 2016 having spent many years in manufacturing and logistics sectors.
What were you doing prior to this role?
Immediately prior to Qualvis, I was working in quite a corporate, finance related role as a Risk and Compliance Officer. Before that, I was in women’s clothing (!) working for the fashion retailer, White Stuff. Prior to that I ran my own video production company filming and producing training or promotional videos for a variety of clients.
Qualvis ticks all the boxes for me. Although my last few positions have been for larger multi-national companies, I have always enjoyed working in a smaller, family-orientated manufacturing business such as Qualvis much more.
What do you bring to the role?
I have a very wide skillset and have always been keen to get my teeth into anything! Having worked in Quality, Risk & Compliance and Health & Safety Management for many years, I bring a logical, methodical approach to this role.
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know
For a brief time I was ‘The Voice of Dunelm’ and I would often be heard advertising a variety of products in ‘Dunelm Mill’ stores the length and breadth of the country! Well I did say I would get my teeth into anything!
Business Awards - It’s the taking part that counts…
Last week we travelled en masse to the Platinum Suite, Cobden Street in Leicester, to take part in the 2016 Leicester Mercury Business Awards dinner and ceremony. Having reached the final for the top prize – Company of the Year – nerves, it had to be said, were a little frayed. Nevertheless, at a packed out venue, we immersed ourselves in the evening and awaited our fate.
The funny (or not so funny!) thing about business awards is the amount of time the whole process takes – from preparing and submitting the entry itself, to receiving finalist success/failure notification and analysing that, to hosting a visit from the judges/sponsor if shortlisted (we had to), to the evening itself and winning or not – it’s exhausting, consuming and costly (tables at event bash etc)!
For many businesses, vying for awards is very much part of their annual marketing strategy. It has to be said that the PR value and overall clout that a business will get from gaining an award can be highly rewarding. And if played right, the exposure and promotion can have a positive effect on a company’s fortunes going forward.
For those who don’t win – that would be the majority – is it all worth it?
As the awards evening progressed, we eventually emerged as a ‘runner-up’ in our category. We were beaten to the top slot by another packaging company – Clifton Packaging – many congratulations go to them and commiserations to Qualvis.
Disappointed – yes; worth all the work, suspense and cost – yes, yes and yes. The awards process allowed us to pause, take a good look at ourselves and record all the things that we do really well (there are many) – that in itself was a great mind clearing exercise. We also benefitted from being in the spotlight – those businesses in the county who didn’t know of us previously, do now.
Overall it was a really enjoyable evening, great to network and see other businesses doing well, especially Alex’s Wish who won the Not-For-Profit Organisation Award – a fantastic result!
So with our runners-up trophy taking pride of place in reception, we very much look forward to participating in next year’s event!
Wearing hairnets isn’t cool - FACT!
For the second year running, we were once again delighted to host a visit by children from the nearby Rothley Primary School. The YR4 children, all 60 of them, descended on Qualvis ‘en masse’ to find out more about what we do.
Split into their two classes, the children were given a safety talk by Qualvis’ Marcus Short, followed by a brief introduction to printing by Andy Dent, BPIF Cartons Ambassador for Leicestershire. Donning hi-vis waistcoats that had been kindly supplied by local firm Sygnature Workwear and hairnets, both classes then had full tours of the site, including a demonstration in the design department before moving back to the board room for refreshments – a big thank you to healthy snacking brand, BEAR, who generously provided some very welcome YoYo snacks for the children to munch on.
One key feature of the visit was a carton design competition. As part of their design & technology curriculum, each class has to create a carton design as a school project. The winner will have their carton produced by Qualvis as a full mock-up. We will blog about the outcome of this, so please watch this space!
Once again the visit was a great success and the children left knowing a lot more about how cartons are made and printed. Following the visit, we received a much appreciated thank you from a parent:
Please pass on my thanks to Andy Dent for looking after the Rothley Church of England Year 4 class yesterday during their visit, my son was amongst the group.
By all accounts they had a great time and enjoyed Andy’s tour, so much so you might be getting a job application from one of them soon.
‘Question of the day’
Last year we had: “Do you make chocolate here?”
This year, one better: “Do we have to wear a hairnet, because I’ve done my hair this-morning?” HE said!!
In a post visit ‘wash-up’, visit coordinator, Qualvis’ Emma Seville, said: “We really looked forward to welcoming Rothley Primary School back again this year and just like last, the children were an absolute pleasure, a credit to the school and parents. They were very well behaved and understood the need for safety within our working environment.
“As before we were bombarded with lots of interesting questions, such as: “How many sheets of board do we use a day”, “how many cartons do we make a year”, and “where does the waste board go to”.
“We hope they enjoyed their visit as much as we enjoyed having them.”
Company of the Year Finalists - Leicester Mercury Business Awards
We are delighted to say that we have been shortlisted as one of 3 contenders for the highly prized Company of the Year Award in the annual Leicester Mercury Business Awards. As this event is on ‘home turf’, for us it carries a great deal of significance, not least in recognising the positive contribution that Qualvis makes to the local community.
In terms of ‘meeting the requirement’, the Company of the Year Award celebrates the business that has performed outstandingly throughout the year. It aims to recognise a firm that has stood out from the crowd and has developed a strong business presence with proof of particular achievements including strong market share, economic turn-around and innovative approach…..that would be us then!
In particular judges will be: “looking for the business that can be universally admired for their commercial practice and dedication to success”.
We believe that we have submitted a ‘competitive’ entry and, despite being up against strong competition, we are confident that we are in with a shout. As MD Jason Short said in a recent communication to employees: “Well done to everyone within the business. All of your hard work has been recognised and deservedly so. Good luck, but you are already winners to me.”
The timeline for the award, which includes some great publicity, is as follows:
15 March – Sponsors and Finalists Champagne and Canapé Evening at Lumbers Jewellers.
19 March – Finalists announced in 24-page pre-event supplement to appear in the Leicester Mercury on Tuesday 19 April 2016.
21 April – Awards Ceremony at The Platinum Suite, 34 Cobden Street, Leicester – we are attending in force!
26 April – Winners announced in a 16-page post-event supplement to appear in the Leicester Mercury.
Watch out for our next update. Fingers crossed – good luck to us…and of course to the other finalists!
We’ve made the switch to 100% low migration ink!
If you Google ‘low migration inks’, there is a vast amount of information related to the subject. To the uninitiated or the packaging ‘newbie’, there is clearly a connection or better say, risk, between food packaging and ‘contamination’ by ink, but what actually does ‘low migration ink’ mean?
The guidance given states that: ‘A ‘low migration’ ink is an ink designed for use on food packaging that is formulated using selected components which should ensure that migration from the resultant printing ink film will be within accepted migration limits, provided that the packaging structure is suitable, and the packaging ink is applied under Good Manufacturing Practices in accordance with guidance given by the ink supplier for the intended application.’
Clearly, being as we tend to know a great deal more about things in the food supply chain that aren’t good for us, the issue of migrating inks is a big one and one that most packaging companies need to pay heed to, not least to comply with current EU regulations on the subject.
As a business we are delighted to say that through the use of Huber’s low migration ink series, we have fully switched to the use of 100% low migration food safe inks in our production process. The conversion, which went live on 1 Jan 16, took 6 months to complete and involved 1800 spot colours, all coatings, varnishes and metallic inks.
Qualvis’ technical director, Richard Pacey said: “We have always had one press dedicated to low migration inks and a separate low migration ink mixing kitchen. To be pro-active, fully compliant with legislation and give protection to all of the brands that we deal with, we have made the decision to fully switch to the use of low migration inks throughout our production process.”
Good news for us and for our customers.
Download our full Low Migration Ink presentation here.
Hannah started her role as Creative Designer at Qualvis on 04 September 2015 having completed her degree in Graphic Design at NTU.
Why the packaging design industry?
Strangely enough it was my love for comic books and graphic novels that lead me to a career in packaging design. There are similar trends in packaging in that materials and finishes are used to convey a brand’s personality, make products stand out on shelf and attract certain people.
When I started at Qualvis I was very impressed with their work and extensive client base – the range of effects and finishes that Qualvis can provide is amazing. It’s also great to know that they share the same passion and appreciation for the hard work and dedication that goes into the creation of a good piece of packaging and design.
What do you bring to the role?
I’d like to think that I bring a little ‘zest’ to the role. I have always been known as a bit of an ‘out of the box’ thinker and I certainly strive to create something new and exciting that will really engage the customer. Whilst getting to grips with all of the limitations to print production, I am still able to think freely and without restraint, which has resulted in some fun and interesting outcomes.
Any thoughts on design trends, what the future holds?
The industry is very competitive at the moment and it’s proving more and more difficult to make a product stand out on shelf, despite the endless combinations of print finishes and materials available. I believe that digital technology has a great role to play in the next step of commercial design. One of the most exciting briefs I’ve recently worked on was the use of Augmented Reality (AR) for a children’s advent calendar, with the ultimate goal being to renew the value and excitement of opening each door on the run-up to Christmas.
I had fantastic fun designing a ‘Where’s Waldo’ styled scene, full of candy characters dressed in festive clothing and throwing snowballs, which would spring to life and animate on your smartphone or iPad. Currently, the only real boundary between AR and commercial design is the inconvenience of having to download an App for it to function. There is speculation that in the near future this will no longer be an issue and so, open up a new world of possibilities within packaging design.
Qualvis sponsors local junior football team
Amongst the multitude of business sponsorship opportunities out there, branding the strip of the local junior football team has to be one of the better ones. Despite not being readily appreciated by all and sundry – principally because you have to be at a match to see branding on team strips – this type of sponsorship delivers the visual awareness of a brand and builds a feel-good factor thanks to its association with a local team; it also happens to be a good way of supporting a great cause!
So…we are delighted to confirm that we are sponsoring the Thurmaston Magpies Under 11 football team in a 12-month deal. The ‘lads’ first wore their newly emblazoned ‘Qualvis’ shirts on 4th Oct against Allexton U11s – which appeared to bring the Magpies some luck!
Look out for some football stars of the future!
A visit by Packaging News
We were delighted to welcome Packaging News’ Content Editor, Tony Corbin and Sales Recruitment and Digital Executive, Natalie Packham, to Qualvis on 14 October. In an ongoing initiative by the publisher, the visit was arranged to help increase their staff’s collective knowledge and awareness of some of the industry’s leading print & packaging companies.
Hosted by Qualvis’ managing director, Jason Short, both Tony and Natalie enjoyed full VIP treatment, which began with a presentation and demonstration of (amongst others) current innovations including the airline in-flight tray and worldwide patented ‘Qualvis Distillery Tube’ by technical director Richard Pacey, before moving on to a full tour of the site and concluding with lunch.
Key areas of interest included the design studio, the impressive operation and both were impressed by the profile of the market leading brands that Qualvis service.
The Qualvis ‘Get Me Out of Here’ Challenge - fund raising targets smashed!
Happily our intrepid adventurers made it through their ‘Get Me Out of Here’ challenge weekend on 26th/27th September 2015, escaping the rigours of Peak District ‘jungles’ and making it safely back to the comforts of Leicestershire.
It has clearly taken them time to recover hence the late posting of this follow-on report!
The big news is that they managed to smash their fund raising targets! For Diabetes UK they raised a total of £581 against a target of £500, and for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, they raised a total of £595 also against a target of £500.
A huge well done to all that took part in the event and a massive thanks to all who sponsored the team.
Final list of participants:
Kirstyn Griffin (who replaced Emilyjo Garside)
All set for Packaging Innovations!
We’re off to Packaging Innovations next week on 16-17 September. Much due (so we’re told) to increasing popularity and the need for additional floor space, the show has a new home at London’s Olympia. You can find us on stand E7.
We have a great stand planned, which not only will be visually striking, it will also give us the perfect opportunity to showcase two new packaging designs. The first (see photo) is an airline in-flight tray, designed to give a premium ‘gift’ feel to the usual ordinary in- flight meal or plastic snack trays. The tray is fully recyclable and printed using low migration inks to ensure food compatibility. Distinctive airline branding opportunities give the ability to use high end finishes.
The other being a one piece flat folding, auto erecting patented carton tube design, known as the ‘Qualvis Distillery Tube’. Providing an optimised supply chain, the ‘Tube’ is designed to be a cost effective competitor to rigid tubes, offering similar levels of strength, with the finishing benefits of folding box board, such as detailed embossing and de-bossing.
If you’re planning to attend the exhibition, please drop by for a chat. We look forward to seeing you there!
The Qualvis ‘Get Me Out of Here’ Challenge
Never one to shrink from a challenge, Qualvis has entered a hardcore team into an outdoor adventure event akin to the popular TV programme ‘I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here’. The event is run by ‘Inspired Outdoors’ – a group of hardy folk who organise corporate activities and team building experiences.
The handpicked Qualvis team will be put through its paces on a range of thrilling outdoor challenges, to win stars and prizes. They will be required to work together and show skill, teamwork and group mentality to succeed….or will they be screaming…..“GET ME OUT OF HERE!” The event takes place over the weekend 26-27 September, somewhere in the Peak District.
The challenges include: water based activities, such as raft building or canoeing; climbing high and steep rock faces; navigating around stunning mountain scenery and other physical and mental challenges along the way including some outdoor based problem solving.
The team will be raising money for two charities:
Scottie’s Little Soldiers – www.justgiving.com/Qualvis
Diabetes UK– www.justgiving.com/Qualvis2
Our intrepid bunch (already hard in training – see photo) are:
Watch out for the next instalment on this adventure via our blog. In the meantime, we wish them all well!
Supplier Innovation Days
We’re holding 2 days of supplier innovation sessions here at Qualvis on 22nd & 23rd July.
The sessions are a great opportunity for people to meet, share ideas and express their creativity to devise, create and implement an innovative product or discover a solution to a problem. It means that we can update on new materials and processes, which in turn allow us to pitch these innovations to our existing and new clients in order to win business and remain competitive.
“Gaining an insight into the latest products that our suppliers offer and any new processes that are available, will help differentiate Qualvis, streamline us and drive efficiencies through our business,” said Technical Director, Richard Pacey. “With sales and customer relations, innovations in varnishes, inks and boards, foiling and post print effects, would be of interest and useful to promote to our customers.”
Six of our suppliers have kindly agreed to participate over the 2 days and will be presenting to relevant Qualvis teams in 60 min slots.
Special delivery: Fish and Chip treat to say thanks
On Friday 19th June our shareholders and directors decided that the hard-working folk here at Qualvis deserved a treat. To show their appreciation, they arranged for a fish and chip van to provide lunch for everyone. It is without doubt that this was a great idea and well received by all – it’s a strong will that can resist the allure of the fish and chip van!
The traditional fayre of cod and chips were on offer, as well as other firm favourites like fishcake, sausage, baked beans and not forgetting curry sauce. The busy cooks served up a total of 70 portions of chips to happy Qualvis employees, who relaxed under the gazebo to eat and chat together. The management team joined in the fun and found it was the perfect opportunity to share some informal time with their teams. We don’t know if it was pre-ordered, but the rain even stayed away!
There’s been great feedback from everyone who joined in the event, including requests for an ice-cream van next time. From those poor souls (soles…see what we did there?) who missed the event, there have been requests for another date for the diary soon, while the pained exclamations of “but when will it be back??” echo round our corridors.
Qualvis’ MD, Jason Short, firmly believes in showing appreciation for the continued hard work of our employees and said: “For such a great team of people it was our pleasure. We’re looking forward to the weather improving and getting an ice cream van round for you all.” So it looks like there’s one wish that may come true…and fingers crossed for the good weather.
New starters at Qualvis!
Welcome to Kim Griffin, Customer Relations
Kim was previously at Benson Box, employed as a customer services executive.
The role involved reacting to new business enquiries mainly from their website, sending out samples and pushing leads across to estimators to develop further.
Her role at Qualvis is very similar in that she is following-up leads, looking at generating new business opportunities, seeing where Qualvis can improve its service offering, obtaining new quotes and liaising with the estimators.
In her spare time Kim plays golf and is the Lady Captain at her local club, playing off a handicap of 12.
…and also to Wayne Spencer, Ink Lab
Wayne says that he very much looks forward to the new challenges presented by ink management at Qualvis, ensuring that ink issues are dealt with efficiently and that the presses are functioning well.
In his spare time Wayne is a qualified rugby union referee, having been refereeing for 10 years.
He is looking forward to the Rugby World Cup this year and is an avid Leicester Tigers supporter…of course!
"Do you make chocolate here?” Sadly not…!
Being used to throwing open the doors to our production site every so often and showing interested parties what we are capable of, we had the pleasure of looking after some small VIPs recently in the shape of 48 year 4 pupils from nearby Rothley Primary School.
The children had been tasked with designing and producing their own cereal carton as part of their design & technology project; now before you say: “we didn’t get a chance to do that at school…”, the visit was made possible by enterprising assistant headteacher, Colin Shaw, who called us to see whether a visit would be possible. Clearly we were delighted to host the children and, under the direction of Qualvis’ Emma Seville, the day was planned.
On 20 May the children arrived at our Thurmaston site and excitedly began their ‘learning experience’. The day, which was called ‘An Introduction to the World of Packaging’, began in the Qualvis boardroom where the children were kitted out with protective clothing, including hair nets and hi-vis jackets, ready for a factory tour.
Split into two groups and led by Emma Seville and Andy Dent, BPIF Cartons Ambassador for Leicestershire, the children met the design team to understand how cartons are created, followed by visits to the ink department, pre-press, printing presses, cut and crease operation and the finishing department. Thousands of questions later, 48 tired but happy children departed the factory, leaving an equally exhausted Qualvis management team to clear up and reflect on the rewarding day.
“It was terrific to see the younger children so excited about their visit to the factory,” said assistant headteacher, Colin Shaw. “It has encouraged the children to build their own templates and understand the whole process in designing and making packaging. The visit was a real insight into real learning.”
Following the visit, Qualvis has since formed a partnership with the school and will be welcoming children to Qualvis annually. One key feature of future visits will be a carton design competition, where the winner will have their carton produced by Qualvis as part of the design & technology curriculum.
Qualvis’ MD, Jason Short said: “The day was very successful all round. We are committed to playing a positive role in the community within which we operate, an integral part of which is helping to promote our industry for future generations. One of the best ways to achieve this is by opening up our factory doors. We’re all looking forward to working with the school on future projects.”