Utah PaperBox

Utah PaperBox Builds for Future with Innovative Partners like Fujifilm



“With this powerful inkjet solution, we are helping our clients grow their business. It’s a billboard message our clients are printing on their packages, not just a plain brown box.” — Mike Salazar, VP of Operations, Utah PaperBox


The Utah PaperBox company has a rich and successful history. Dating back to 1914, the company’s strong core values have always focused on exceeding expectations, being a valuable resource for its customers and providing an employee-centric working environment. Growing in stature over the years, Utah PaperBox provides its customers support and guidance in the packaging sector, including rigid boxes and litho-laminating, with a primary focus in folding cartons.
The fifth generation family-owned packaging manufacturer is an industry leader in technology and innovation—one fully committed to reinvesting 70% of its profits into its employees, equipment portfolio and facility.

Established under the name Union Label, the company became Utah PaperBox in 1922. Today, the company operates out of a 250,000-squarefoot office and LEED-certified production facility in Salt Lake City, employing around 200 people. Sitting on an earth-friendly solar-power grid, the Utah PaperBox home base offers sweeping views of nearby mountain ranges, thanks to its stunning floor-to-ceiling windowed exterior.

Market Dynamic

A company known for speed, quality, service and consistency, Utah PaperBox is continually seeking ways to expand its capabilities and exceed customer expectations. Take its recent decision to strengthen its digital portfolio. The genesis of Utah PaperBox’s digital transformation can be found in several vital areas.

The first is the declining number of big jobs being produced today, a trend that started with the economic downturn of 2008, where many print buyers were burned by having excessive inventories.

The second factor is that in today’s changing, fast-paced marketplace, that are more customers looking for short-run, on-demand personalized projects with quicker turns. With shorter runs forcing clients to eliminate exposure to significant obsolescence and scrap, it sought a way to move from a volume-driven market to value-driven market. The third factor was the opportunity to develop more dynamic sales and marketing tools.

Being in the digital space meant having an exact prototype of the clients’ job and application. and more engagement with a diverse sect of customers, including start-ups and small companies. The final factor presented an opportunity for new customer engagements and being able to provide support and growth to a more diverse set of clients, including start-ups and small businesses.

With digital, shorter runs meant more reorders, smaller invoices and a new set of ways to help its customers sell more products. “You have to really think about the business, think about how you are going to grow and survive,” says Mike Salazar, VP of Operations. “It is really about innovating and what you’re bringing to the marketplace. I think a big part of it will be sheetfed and figuring out how to get over the edge.

You want to have someone say, “Yes, we want to work with you because you have it figured out.”


When Utah PaperBox set out to strengthen its capabilities, it sought a partner as committed to innovation as it was. Enter Fujifilm. Offering a machine built on an offset chassis with proven performance and incorporating the industry’s leading inks and inkjet technology, the J Press was just what the Utah PaperBox team was looking for in a digital solution.

The J Press offers a solution for print runs of just one or thousands, where traditional offset and digital printing are failing to perform. The decision to turn to Fujifilm helped hit a sweet spot in a market segment where opportunities abound. “We wanted to do better, and we know we are doing better, especially with Fujifilm,” Salazar says. Take the proofing process.

All jobs running on the J Press are press-proofed first, which means the Utah PaperBox team can show its customers exactly what they are going to get. “We even coat it so they can see the coating on the ink—they know exactly what it’s going to look like,” says Steve Burch, digital press manager.

“Not one prototype has been rejected because the client knows exactly how their product will look. That is our competitive advantage.” Salazar says that the J Press’ attention to detail and quality, offering registration accuracy that is beyond compare and a heavier substrate capacity, made the choice an absolute win for his production team.

The relationship that the Utah PaperBox and Fujifilm teams have built also has been a key contributor to its success. “It was just the right choice for us,” Salazar says. “Fujifilm allows us to offer flexibility and reinforces our reputation of innovation.”

The Results

Thanks to Utah PaperBox’s commitment to innovation and their mission to deliver and exceed customer expectations, the company continues to cement its reputation as a leader in the packaging marketplace. And thanks to its decision to add Fujifilm to its resource bank, speed to market is a competitive advantage that is hard to beat.

The J Press has afforded its production team zero make readies, zero plates, zero labor on managing color, no additional setup time and seamless printing. “Look at all the steps we just cut out,” Salazar says. “It really has given us a competitive advantage from that standpoint and I kind of wish we had looked at it sooner.” Overall, Utah PaperBox’s digital transformation continues to rack up the pluses by offering affordable short runs, variable data capabilities and a robust set of tools to help its salespeople remain competitive in the marketplace.

“That’s why I think we have had customers for a very long time,” Salazar says. “We are independent. I think that independence gives our customers a little bit more flexibility. To me, it’s the backbone of innovation—a selling point our salespeople can use.

We want to be around. We want our customers to be around. We want to help them grow their business. That name is a billboard message our clients print on their packages; it’s not just a plain brown box.”

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