It’s been five years since James Rodden established Rodden Graphics, a labels and packaging consulting business that harnesses his almost unrivalled expertise and experience. Little did he know then, that in just a few years, he would come to represent some of the leading brands in the industry, whilst also dealing with one of the most significant economic and social challenges of our time. But through it all, the Rodden Graphics team has managed to build this consultancy as the ‘go-to’ for labels and packaging manufacturers looking for expert advice and direction. The approach is built on three simple truths … we know machines … we listen to what our clients need … we love to see our clients succeed.
Prior to starting his own company, James Rodden was MD for Gallus Australia. In that time, his work took him across the world whilst amassing an amazing amount of technical information and experience. Upon leaving, Gallus was the number one label press manufacturer in the region.
With that much knowledge and experience – and a passion for the industry – Rodden decided to open his own consultancy and began by representing the world-renowned labels and packaging machinery manufacturer, Prati. “When we launched Rodden Graphics we were initially engaged in machine sales and after-sales support for Prati,” he says. “We now have over 60 Prati installations in the Oceania region. Label and packaging manufacturers have really embraced the company’s high-performance solutions.”
“The Oceania market represented an important element in the global landscape of labelling for us and, back in 2007, we found in James Rodden a connoisseur of the sector,” said Chiara Prati, Sales & Marketing Director, Prati. “Thanks to his long experience in the label and packaging industry, he has been able to support us on-site with his understanding of the different needs and exceed customer expectations.”
“Five years ago, Rodden Graphics was established, and we renewed the trust in James by continuing to work in synergy with him and his daughter Sarah under the new company name. They have been able to translate the inputs of a demanding market into finishing solutions that still represent the flagship of our technology. We thank Rodden Graphics for the successful journey so far, and we look forward to a continued future together with them.”
Rodden’s experience and reputation in the industry would mean that more leading manufacturers would partner with Rodden Graphics; building the consultancy’s range of services and solutions to eventually cover the full gamut of equipment and services that labels and packaging manufacturers would need to create the most efficient production systems possible. Like every other business, Rodden Graphics would face its first major challenge with the impact of COVID-19. Though, for the packaging and labels industry, COVID-19 would also see a mini-economic boom, with a dramatic increase in online shopping.
Where COVID would change Rodden Graphics would be the impact it would have on Sarah Rodden, a communications and marketing specialist, who was working in the events industry during this time. Like many, she would eventually have to look at other roles because of the impact of lockdowns. However, as fate would have it, her father was desperately in need of a marketing and communications professional to help the business deal with the number of clients they had and the agency relationships that were growing.
“The timing of everything that happened did actually work out well,” says Sarah Rodden. “I was able to join at a time where I could move the business onto a digital platform and continue to assist in driving sales and marketing.”
“In addition to Prati, we grew to partner with manufacturers such as Edale highly automated flexo machines for both labels and cartons; the Canon digital UV inkjet LabelStream 4000 in core and hybrid configurations; Codimag for offset printing machines for both labels and cartons; Kocher+Beck TecScreen for screen printing plates; Nanovis for sustainable cleaning equipment and ALT Anilox rollers based on nano technology,” says James Rodden.
“Our main priority in partnering with an agent to represent Edale is to ensure we have the right fit in terms of having the same ethos of providing customers with local support and the highest level of machine automation and quality,” said James Boughton, Managing Director, Edale. “We’ve been in partnership with Rodden Graphics since 2018 and are proud to have them as our official ‘Premium Partner’ covering Australia and New Zealand. They represent our full range of flexographic carton, label and converting presses. It’s a great partnership; we are made for each other, and we look forward to growing and evolving our business with them.”
“We work with labels and packaging manufacturers of all sizes, to help them best determine the perfect solution to their needs and keep them running at optimum performance through after-sales service and support,” says Sarah Rodden. “We help to remove the risk whilst making the process of optimisation faster, more cost-effective, and most importantly, the right decision. With the brands we represent, we can now provide a complete solution for our clients’ needs through an extensive range of services including consultancy, sales, service and support for their machinery.”
To provide the best options for its clients, the Rodden Graphics team looks at all technology options, which is why the company has well and truly embraced digital and hybrid options, including the recent announcement to represent the Canon Labelstream 4000 Series core and hybrid press.
“We were approached by Canon with a view to representing the LabelStream 4000 series press in the Oceania region,” says Sarah Rodden. “We have a lot of clients who see the benefits that a hybrid digital press can deliver, so we were very interested in the idea of representing the LabelStream 4000 series press, as it is the pinnacle of this technology. To date, enquiries for the press solution have been good and the market has shown increasing interest in hybrid digital solutions. In fact, we have just completed an installation at Impact Labels in Brisbane.”
“Recently, Canon acquired Edale, which has great know-how and experience in integrating digital print units into its machine system,” says James Rodden. “This makes a state-of-the-art technical solution for digital hybrid presses.”
With the first five years completed, the plan for Rodden Graphics is to continue to help its customers navigate the challenging road ahead. “With increased interest rates and inflation, we anticipate 2023 to be a challenging year,” says James Rodden. “Increased production costs mean that label and packaging manufacturers will be looking to save wherever they can. This is easiest done through greater automation, smarter production and more efficient technology. There are several major releases planned for 2023 that are designed to do this, optimise production and minimise expense. 2023 will be a year where several producers look to upgrade their capabilities and save on costs.”
“We’ll also be travelling a lot more now that we can visit clients both here and overseas. We are planning to attend the FPLMA meeting in March where Chiara Prati will make a presentation on digital embellishment, and we look forward to attending Labelexpo Brussels in September to meet with our portfolio suppliers and to see their latest innovations for the label industry.”
For Rodden Graphics, the next five years promise to be exciting as they continue to solve problems and develop solutions their clients need. It’s what they love doing, what they are best at.
Sarah and James Rodden are looking forward to the next five years