Challenges Facing Folding Carton Printers

Graphic Packaging Intl.’s Cheerios Bring On The Gold 2010 Olympics Shoot Out for General Mills won PPC’s Paperboard Package of the Year in its 2011 awards competition.

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The folding carton industry is gearing up to take advantage of improving economic conditions by leveraging sustainability advantages, technology investments, and innovation.

Growing challenges

Folding carton companies share the challenges and uncertainty that all U.S. businesses face. To offset increasing healthcare costs and an expected increase in federal taxes, Kyle Eldred, president of Frankston Packaging in Southlake, Texas, found a way to increase competitiveness in one division by on-shoring—finding a U.S.-based firm with a more competitive cost structure. “Everybody wins,” he says, “because we still serve our customer at a profit and another U.S. company has increased volume and profitability.”

Zaas employs a successful “one-stop shop” strategy. By offering customers the ability to source both rigid boxes and folding cartons from his company, he feels he has found a competitive advantage. He adds, “Lead times become shorter and shorter every year and we continue to try to be flexible, which makes it easy to do business with us.”

According to Zaas, some companies have difficulty hiring qualified full-time employees, which can result in the use of more temporary labor. He says that his company is fortunate. “We are pleased that a substantial majority of our employees have over ten years of experience and are dedicated to producing quality boxes on-time, even when I ask them to do the impossible,” he states.

In the beverage industry, according to the 2012 PPC Trends Report, plastic bottles and flexible packaging are continuing to take market share from paperboard. Even paper-based aseptic milk containers, which account for 70 percent of the world’s milk packaging, are seeing increased competition from plastic PET containers and stand-up flexible pouches.

Nevertheless, RISI, the internationally recognized research firm, forecasts beverages among the highest growth folding carton end-use categories during the next five years. Some of the challenge is being met by innovation. For example, the world’s first pulp-molded wine bottle is being introduced in the U.K. at the end of the year. Developed by GreenBottle, it weighs about 60 g, compared with 400+ g for its glass equivalent, and can be recycled with newspapers or even composted.

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  • Timothy Spangle

    I possess 35 years carton experience, I know most companies are full of crap, there is more carton work than any body can take, I interviewed at Boxit, they do not need any new customers, I was told that point blank