The Complete Package

Wisconsin Packaging Corp.

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Wisconsin Packaging Corp. recently celebrated thirty years. The family-owned business offers corrugated boxes, shipping containers, packaging and point of purchase (POP) displays and can make everything from single-colour industrial boxes to full colour customized solutions.
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Located in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Packaging Corp.’s corrugated cardboard plant is 148,000 square feet and fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that is run by seventy-seven skilled employees.

“This is a father and son company that started back in 1986. From 1986 to now, the company has grown from zero to twenty-one million square feet a month. The growth has been through the success of good employees and making good investments on the equipment to help us stay with the times – keeping productivity up,” said General Manager Dan West.

The company is a certified International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) testing lab. ISTA guidelines aim to prevent supply chain damage to packaged products, and Wisconsin Packaging Corp. provides customers with expertise to choose the right box for the right job. Its cost-effective shipping options keep cargo safe until it reaches its destination, and it offers a range of inner packing to help protect cargo while it is on the move.

By making significant investments in its people and technology, Wisconsin Packaging Corp. works to improve its already impressive quality and selection. Its corrugated products of various shapes, sizes and quantities meet the diverse needs of its customers from every industry.

The company makes everything from light to heavy duty multi-use boxes as well as POP displays, slotted containers, folders, telescoping boxes and more. Wisconsin Packaging Corp. can add logos, custom colours and finishes that help customers bring their brands and products to the market.

“We do a little bit of everything,” West explained. “We can laminate. We can flatbed die cut. We can rotary die cut. We have three flexos. We have a unique machine that can basically run a sheet as big as our corrugator can run, and with this machine, the customer doesn’t have to buy tooling. It can run up to 113 different designs and print up to two colours at one time.”

“In the last thirteen years, we have added eight brand new pieces of equipment,” he added. “We have one flexo that can run 20,000 boxes an hour, and we have another one that just got up and running in December that can do 24,000 an hour. Then, we also purchased a five-colour rotary box die cutter. It’s five-colour with [infrared] drying capabilities on each station.” A ‘flexo’ or flexographic box printing machine uses a flexible printing plate to print on nearly any type of packaging material.

On the design side, Wisconsin Packaging Corp. is equipped with computer-aided design (CAD) software, cutting tables and the experience of a team of in-house engineers who are ready to design custom packaging for every customer specification.

With its own fleet, Wisconsin Packaging Corp. can control quality from design to delivery. In fact, it boasts a 97.3 percent on-time delivery rating, a statistic that is a source of pride for the company and something it strives to maintain and improve.

Whether customers require a high volume order of standard boxes or just a single customized prototype, Wisconsin Packaging Corp. delivers quick and efficient results. It can design and produce prototypes and give job quotes faster than its counterparts without compromising quality and safety standards.

For Wisconsin Packaging Corp., “every customer of ours is number one,” West emphasized. “We don’t treat any customer differently based on the volume that we do with them versus the volume that we do with someone else.”

Wisconsin Packaging Corp.’s abilities are reliant on a selective hiring process. “Our method here is that we want to hire good people, and then we teach them to be good operators, good employees,” West noted.

“If you don’t hire a good person, there is a very good chance that you are never going to have a good employee. You’re never going to have a great operator. You’re never going to have a great design manager or a customer service manager. So, our method here is that we hire good people, and then we train, coach and mentor them to be good employees.”

Having performed without a lost-time accident for five years is a testament to Wisconsin Packaging Corp.’s approach to hiring and training. In addition to safety, West endeavours to make a good place to work, so employees want to come and give it their all each day. The result is both a place where people want to work and a company that provides outstanding service to its customers.

Corrugated cardboard is one of the most recyclable packaging and shipping materials. Impressively, 92.9 percent of corrugated product made in 2015 was recovered for recycling. Renewable resources can be used to produce a corrugated product, and a single fiber is capable of being recycled up to six times without sacrificing the strength and durability of the product.

This is also a packaging material that can be cut and folded into various shapes, configurations, and sizes. Corrugated cardboard is lightweight, cost-effective, durable and adaptable and can be custom designed using different board types, flute sizes, adhesives and finishes as required.

West credited the quality of the materials and the relationships Wisconsin Packaging Corp. has come to enjoy from its vendors for much of the company’s success. “Without good materials, and without them training you what works out there in the industry, I don’t think we would be able to be moving forward as well as we’ve done and as quick as we’ve done.”

“We’re in partnership with our own corrugator, so as an independent, we can be more competitive because we own our own corrugator, and in doing that, you get more competitive paper prices. What is unique about this place as a sheet plant, we basically have two of every high-speed machine in our building with different sizes.” This allows for projects large, small and everything in between.

Wisconsin Packaging Corp. has become renowned for the breadth of its product offerings, and the reputation continues to grow.

“Our steady growth is going to be helped through our corrugator, which is probably one of the better corrugators in the country. We give them a lot of credit for our success. Without getting raw stock in here to run on our machines, we’ve got nothing,” acknowledged West.

“When you buy eight pieces of equipment in thirteen years and put two additions onto the building and grow your business to twenty to twenty-one million a month, you’re showing steady growth and sustainability for success in the industry.” The strategy is simple and will result in Wisconsin Packaging Corp. securing new customers and even more market share.

June 24, 2017, 11:33 AM EDT

Safety at Work, at Home, and on the Road

The National Safety Council (NSC) has an invaluable mission: to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road. The membership-based organization accomplishes its goals through leadership, research, education and advocacy. After profiling the Council in June 2015, Business in Focus sat down with President and CEO Deborah Hersman this month to hear the latest developments.