Consumable Cost Cut by 80% for Produce Packer

Ventura Pacific Company makes the switch from labels to direct carton marking for a more efficient production.

See how Ventura Pacific improved traceability and efficiency in this 3-minute video case study.


Ventura Pacific Company (Ventura Pacific) is a premier grower and packer of California lemons marketing through the Sunkist label. Operating out of two facilities; one facility in Oxnard totaling more than 220,000 square feet and one 70,000 square foot storage facility in Montalvo, Ventura Pacific operates year-round and enjoys the loyalty of many long-tenured employees. The Ventura Pacific team takes pride in “knowing lemons” and producing the highest quality citrus.

Producing quality lemons was second nature to the Ventura Pacific team, but multiple labeling issues didn’t meet their budgetary goals or efficiency expectations.

Rising maintenance costs and the recurring expenditures for labels and ribbons prompted Tony Atchley, Plant Manager for Ventura Pacific, to reach out to Matthews Marking Systems (MMS) for a solution. Matthews replaced select labelers with a system that prints directly on produce cases.

The custom-engineered solution included the MPERIA ® Platform and Controller; enabling consolidated control while integrating the new T-Series printer with the labeling machines still on the production line. All done from the comfort of Tony’s air-conditioned office.


The Challenge

Ventura Pacific was experiencing labeling inconsistencies; labels would regularly fall off cartons – getting adhesive all over line equipment and requiring troublesome cleanup. The resulting rework, potential rejection issues from distributors and retailers, and overall frustration of inefficiency led Tony to take action.

“We were using print and apply machines, and there would be a lot of maintenance to these machines because there were a lot of moving parts – the label costs, the ribbon costs – and a lot of times we would have problems where the labels would fall off and the adhesive would get all over our equipment.” – Tony Atchley

Tony knew a better solution had to exist. “We really wanted to look for a new solution. We looked everywhere, we looked at all different types of technologies, evaluated multiple different companies, that’s what led us to contact Matthews,” explained Tony.

The Solution

After assessing the current production setup and listening to what Tony and his team needed, the MMS team outfitted Tony with the simple yet sophisticated MPERIA® Platform, a robust and easy to use interface and controller all in one. The solution also included T-Series Piezo Inkjet Printers, which produce crisp barcodes and graphics on porous substrates – perfect for high-visibility branding and product information.

Time was of the essence, so the Matthews Marking Systems’ solution was installed and running in just two days. A key element of the fast installation was the small footprint of the equipment, which eliminated the need to modify the existing production line.

“We actually compared the Matthews solution with almost every other product out there; Matthews really stood ahead of everyone else, not just for the simplicity and ease of use of the actual print system, but it was really easy to get product.” – Tony Atchley

Incredibly satisfied with the solution, the rest of their print-and-apply labelers have been slotted for replacement with the Matthews direct print solution in Ventura Pacific’s current plant and planned for installation in their new plant currently under construction and coming online soon.

T-Series marking on produce coated carton MPERIA controlling printers Controlling MPERIA from office computer

Top-notch customer service.

Tony and the Ventura Pacific team were set up for success by MMS. Previous integration with Ventura’s supply chain ensured product was readily available while the MMS team worked with Tony to customize the solution to his line’s specific needs.

“I’ve asked for a lot of special changes for our unit, trying to integrate it with new pieces, new vision systems, and the techs were there to rewrite plugins and do custom coding for me.” – Tony Atchley


Efficient installation.

Production line stoppage and downtime cause a measurable impact on the bottom line, which is why Tony was so pleased when the MMS team was able to minimize downtime by getting the entire solution installed and running so quickly.

“Installation was really fast, it was maybe one to two days, and we were up and running and printing. We actually dropped the T-Series into a good spot on the line, we didn’t have to really do any major changes.”– Tony Atchley


Stress-free maintenance.

The compact design of the T-Series Piezo Inkjet Printer occupies far less space than the legacy equipment it replaced. The extra space previously needed for access by maintenance personnel was eliminated with the T-Series, freeing up valuable floor space, and the need for maintenance was reduced as well.

“If anything, it made a lot more space because the unit is much smaller and you don’t need to get in and service it at any time…one of the biggest benefits is hardly any maintenance for the unit.” – Tony Atchley


Unparalleled ease of use. 

Combining an intuitive color touch screen user interface for easy message creation with powerful functionality under the hood, MPERIA gave Tony and his team centralized control of both the T-Series printer and their legacy labeling equipment. Remote connectivity to both monitor and implement changes gave Ventura a big productivity boost too.


“MPERIA platform is so easy to use, compared to having to operate through a small touchscreen on a localized unit, I can sit in my office with the AC on, and custom modify labels and make changes on the fly.” – Tony Atchley


Elimination of rework and scrap.  

Due to consolidated control and remote management, Tony is now able to proactively address any potential problems on the production line eliminating issues leading to line stoppage or rework. And the ability to keep track of ink levels ensures long production runs, driving efficiency gains.

“…when there are problems, I can see right away because there is an alarm notification and a log; I can even see when we are about to run out of ink.”  – Tony Atchley



Ventura Pacific Web Infographic


The Results

From a two-day installation, Ventura Pacific achieved an 80% reduction in consumable cost by eliminating labels and ribbons, drastically reducing maintenance costs, freeing up floor space, improving efficiency through centralized control, and gaining an anticipated one-year ROI.


“There was a significant cost savings…the Matthews team was really helpful, just anywhere we could cut costs, save inventory, and lower maintenance. I would recommend Matthews to anyone in the industry.” – Tony Atchley


About Ventura Pacific:
‘Lemons are what they know’…for 75 years, Ventura Pacific has been a premier grower and packer of California lemons. Headquartered in Oxnard, California, operating out of two facilities; one facility in Oxnard totaling more than 220,000 square feet and one 70,000 square foot storage facility in Montalvo. Boasting a culture dedicated to serving their grower members, Ventura Pacific operates year-round.


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Want to find other ways to cut costs on your production line?

See how Corbion and Calavo Growers replaced labels with direct carton marking for huge cost savings.