Sizzling Sales and Expansion Prompt Superior Litho to Invest in Another Seven-Color, 57˝ Rapida 145

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What is one of the biggest challenges for printers in today’s market? It is the effort to try to entice talented, enthusiastic and energetic millennials to see potential careers in the graphic arts industry and join their ranks. One of the most successful printers in this endeavor is Superior Lithographics, a Los Angeles-based package printer, that is proud to be lauded by Printing Industries Association of Southern California as having the youngest employee base of their 900 members companies.

“We’ve been able to attract and maintain younger employees for a number of reasons,” says Jeff Ku, VP of operations for Superior. “Our company is very open to change. Unlike many other firms, we pride ourselves on empowering our employees to speak up and make suggestions that we listen to and enact upon. We have a very open environment that fosters people to take pride of ownership in what they are producing. Our employees are very attracted to seeing well-known packaging for big brands in a variety of Fortune 500 firms being produced at our facility and then seeing that package being sold on store shelves. We actively promote from within and our employees see a career ladder. Our jobs are always new and exciting and our employees respond positively to all of the new technology that we invest in.”

One of the latest and fastest presses on the market will soon take center stage at Superior’s 80,000-sq.-ft. facility. In early summer, the 115-employee firm will be showcasing its new seven-color, 57˝ Koenig & Bauer Rapida 145 press. With its facility soon increasing in square footage, management was given a window of opportunity to re-design its operational floor plan and place the new press in a premium position right in front of the customer lounge.

“Our new Rapida 145 will be a main attraction at our facility,” says Ku enthusiastically. “Customers will be able to see their jobs being printed on the spot on this very impressive press. It builds excitement. Rather than hide our production, we’re selling our culture and our diligence to premium printing. Think of a high-end restaurant where customers can watch their meals being prepared. It’s just like that — very interesting and informative to watch.”

Once Superior’s press operators have pushed "start" for its initial press run, all eyes will be mesmerized by the Rapida’s speedy operation and high-quality output. Stoked with Koenig & Bauer’s unique automated features, the quick press will increase capacity at Superior by 40%, estimates Ku.

“Speed, quality, and consistency are our calling cards,” says Ku. “That’s what has propelled our sales to grow by 16% in one year and find ourselves at capacity even with production running 24/7. We’re seeing growth in both of our main sectors; our existing corrugated market remains strong with 70% of our business even as we push further into the folding carton segment, which makes up 30% of our production.”

Catering its folding cartons to a mix of well-known regional retail food vendors, Superior has adapted to the trend toward short orders and a premium on color consistency. An important consideration on the new Rapida is its 100% inspection system, which “can catch errors that an operator can’t catch between press pulls and ensures that all sheets are alike,” explains Ku. The new Rapida 145 is also Superior’s first seven-color press, providing it with an extra unit that opens doors to new products and increases production flexibility.

Superior’s management team evaluated all three leading offset press manufacturers with an extensive vetting process before choosing Koenig & Bauer. “Over the past decade, we’ve found Koenig & Bauer’s service department to be extremely reliable, offer quick response when needed, and be very supportive. We are also impressed with their sales team. They continue to be a solid partner.”

It’s that same mindset that Superior provides to its clientele, in which sales and operational support and service distinguish it from its competition. “We’re not just selling a product but we’re forming long-term partnerships with our packaging clients,” says Ku. “We try to pass along our manufacturing knowledge to our customers to help them make the best design and structural decisions for their corrugated and folding carton projects. We send our operators out to visit our customers and in turn we invite them to tour our facility. We recently gave an unprecedented 40 tours to demonstrate our amazing employees and their passion for continuous improvement.”

Ku notes that Superior’s employees have formed a family atmosphere in which they volunteer along with their family and friends at the LA Food Bank to help support hunger relief in Los Angeles. The team also attends local university career fairs to publicize working in the graphic arts industry, Last year, Superior was recognized for its pro-employee atmosphere by being awarded the Best Workplace in the Americas (BWA) designation, Best of the Best, to recognize its exemplary human resources practices that create an outstanding workplace. Being designated a Best of the Best company demonstrates the significant commitment that Superior Lithographics has made to its employees by investing in their work environment, their personal goals and ambitions, and recognizing that an exceptional workplace also serves the needs of the company. Its founder Doug Rawson financially supports the efforts of Printing Industries of America of Southern California (PIASC) to encourage young qualified people to join the industry. He contributes to PIASC's RAISE Foundation and further offers financial support to cover costs of students and their families to attend the annual celebration of student competitions. Some of his other industry contributions include PrintPAC of California, PrintPowers America and the PIA’s PrintPAC.

“It’s an important part of our success,” says Ku, “to be a part of our community, to encourage young talented people to join our market, and help us to become the most respected printer in the industry.”

Founded in 1987, Superior Lithographics is located in an industrial center outside of Los Angeles in an 80,000 sq ft facility with 115 employees. The firm specializes in large format printing of litho sheets and top sheets for the corrugated box industry as well as printing and converting folding cartons.

Source: Koenig & Bauer

Superior Lithographics Refreshes Its Brand Identity

We’re all really excited to be releasing a new logo and marketing collateral into the wild. After 20 years, it was time update our look to reflect what we’ve transformed into. The new logo plays off of the original press registration target mark and an interpretation of the standard CMYK colors that is our lifeblood. As the company has slowly grown, our teams are squeezing any spare time they have into remodeling the workplace. Please come visit often as things are constantly changing!

Doug Rawson Inducted Into the Ben Franklin Honor Society

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- The Ben Franklin Honor Society formally inducted ten industry leaders at its awards ceremony on Friday, November 9, at the Printing Industries of America Fall Administrative Meetings in Grapevine, Texas.

The Ben Franklin Honor Society of PIA is comprised of industry leaders who have made lasting contributions to advancing print and graphic communications. Inductees have rendered outstanding and meritorious service to industry associations that promote the advancement of graphic communications.

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Doug Rawson has been with Superior Lithographics for over 25 years and is the Chief Executive Officer. Doug identified a need for high quality, large-format litho labels to address the demands of a new retail concept called Price Club, known today as Costco. The printed packaging was the "silent salesperson" required to sell the product in this warehouse environment. Superior continued to supply the packaging and display industry with litho labels and top sheets, and, in 2006, the folding carton operation was formed when customers expressed a desire for their individual packaging to match their litho-laminated products.

Doug is the Government Affairs/Labor Policy Committee Chairman on the PIA Board of Directors and has served PIA for more than six years. On the local level, he has been a PIA of Southern California (PIASC) board member since 2002 and ultimately was named Chairman of the Board in 2010. He has been a Printing Industry Credit Union board member since 2005. Additionally, Doug was awarded PIASC Executive of the Year in 2011.

Doug financially supports the efforts of PIASC to encourage young people to join the industry. He contributes to PIASC's RAISE Foundation and further offers financial support to cover costs of students and their families to attend the annual celebration of student competitions. Some of his other charitable contributions include PrintPAC of California, Printing Industries of America PrintPAC, University of Synagogue and Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.


For more information about the Ben Franklin Honor Society, please visit www.printing.org/bfhs.

Superior Lithographics Receives First Lithec USA Installation of In-Press Color Scanner

We at Lithec USA are proud to announce our first LithoFlash Inline installation in the United States. The installation was completed just last month for Superior Lithographics, located in Los Angeles, CA.

Superior Lithographics is a 30-year litho-label, top sheet and folding carton manufacturer.  Known for high quality printing, Superior Lithographics is always looking for ways to improve their processes to achieve the best quality and customer satisfaction.  The LithoFlash system will now give them an edge over competition, with consistent color control, reduced make ready time and minimal waste.

They installed a full LithoFlash system on their 64” KBA 162 with UV. The installation went smoothly and the results have been immediate.

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From Left to Right: 
John Woessner, Service Engineer of ServiceAccess; Peter Petrow, Service Engineer of Lithec GMBH; Clyde Tillman, CEO of Access Group; Carlos Camarena, 1st Pressman; Doug Rawson, CEO & Founder; Jeff Ku, VP Operations; Jim Eakin, Print Production Manager; Cuco Urena, 1st Pressman

“I think the biggest evidence of a good product with an easy interface is the fact that every one of our pressmen like the system and have bought in to letting the system control the color.”
- Jim Eakin, Print Production Manager 

“We have already seen substantial savings in paper and time in just our first few weeks of running the system. We will definitely be adding the LithoFlash to our other presses.”
- Jeff Ku, VP Operations 

“The Lithec team was very attentive to our needs and adjusted to our schedule during the installation process. All of our people like the system. It was a good decision for us.”
- Doug Rawson, CEO

Superior Lithographics Named Best of the Best Awardee in Best Workplace in the Americas 2017 Competition

Los Angeles, CA2/13/2018 Superior Lithographics of Los Angeles, CA has been awarded the Best Workplace in the Americas (BWA) designation, Best of the Best, to recognize exemplary human resources practices that create an outstanding workplace. For 17 years, Printing Industries of America’s BWA program has acted as an acknowledgment of printing industry excellence in human resources practices.

Being designated a Best of the Best company demonstrates the significant commitment that Superior Lithographics has made to its employees by investing in their work environment, their personal goals and ambitions, and recognizing that an exceptional workplace also serves the needs of the company.

A panel of respected human relations professionals from the print industry judged entrants against benchmarking categories that promote the most sought-after qualities of today's workforce, including: Communication & Culture, Employee Resources & Benefits, and Work Environment & Safety.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the industry and we are all especially proud of the award’s alignment with our company vision,” said Doug Rawson, CEO.

Michael Makin, president and CEO of Printing Industries of America, agrees. “Companies recognized in the Best Workplace in the Americas program exhibit the highest commitment to success in many ways, but particularly through their employees. Congratulations to Superior Lithographics.”  

For more information about the Best Workplace in the Americas program, contact Adriane Harrison at 412-259-1707, aharrison@printing.org or see www.printing.org/bwa. For more information about Superior Lithographics, contact Megan Simmons at 323-263-8400.

Superior Installs New Folding Carton Quality Inspection System

Superior has partnered with Baumer HHS to upgrade one of its legacy folder-gluers with a variety of inline quality inspection systems including lot code scanning, color scanning, glue detection, and auto rejection.  While the machine has always had barcode detection, these additional sensors allow for more consistent product and reduces the need for reliance on human intervention.  This move effectively equalizes our folding-gluing equipment standards and increases scheduling flexibility in order to meet our customers' quick lead-time expectations.  If you have any questions, please reach out to our team to arrange a tour.

Superior Lithographics Celebrates 30 Years!

This September, we celebrate our 30th year in business and would like to thank all our customers, vendors, team members and their friends and family for supporting us throughout our journey.  As we continue to grow, we look forward to learning from our past, strengthening our current partnerships and exploring new opportunities.  You can read the story of how we started here.

Some of Superior's first equipment at 3055 Bandini Blvd.  Photograph taken 1990.

Some of Superior's first equipment at 3055 Bandini Blvd.  Photograph taken 1990.

Superior Launches New Website!

We are excited to announce a new website to more accurately represent the company, its vision and its people.  As some of you may have noticed, the past five years have resulted in dramatic changes to our corporate philosophy, offerings and the plant itself!  As a result, we are determined to keep you up-to-date with industry happenings and driven to improve what you look for: consistent lead time and consistent quality.  After all, change is the only way to improve, right?