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March 28, 2016 Manufacturing Excellence Awards

Industrial Packaging pushes innovation, workforce development

Courtesy The senior leadership team at Industrial Packaging has partnered with organizations like MassMEP to ensure its workforce is properly trained and operating efficiently.

Founded in Worcester in 1953, Leominster’s Industrial Packaging is not a new company; but when it comes to innovation in productivity and workforce development, this second-generation family business is keeping with the times, and then some.

“We don’t know that there is a box, so we can’t think outside of it,” said Jarrod DiZazzo, general manager of supply chain services. “We don’t consider what has the best benefit for us, but how we can have new ways of thinking that benefit customers.”

The company has won awards from its biggest customer — Frito-Lay — two years in a row, as Multipacker of the Year and Multipack Supplier of the Year, for its service in New England as well as New York and New Jersey.

That didn’t happen overnight.

Industrial Packaging has worked hard to ensure it can provide any solutions for packaging clients in the quickest and most efficient ways, DiZazzo said.

It reached out to the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) to analyze and improve its production, said MassMEP Project Manager Steven Szydlowski.

“I can count on one hand the number of clients that embrace change. This is one of them. They embrace disruptive innovation,” Szydlowski said.

For a few years now, Szydlowski has worked with Industrial Packaging on improving production innovation, such as eliminating waste. Employees in the Industrial Packaging’s former 40,000-square foot building in Oxford were tracked walking 15 miles a day. When the facility grew to 120,000 square feet and moved to Leominster, that distance went down to two miles a day, Szydlowski said, with careful analysis and strategic improvements.

“Work comes in on one [facility] side, it’s transformed in the center and gets shipped on the other side,” he said.

Beyond physical changes, the company culture changed as well, DiZizzo said, becoming employee-centric, delivering client-specific, customized solutions.

Whether clients need packaging materials, supply-chain services, product launch support, warehouse space, custom design and packaging, or packaging equipment sales and service, Industrial Packaging aims to be one step ahead of clients’ needs and expectations. Some clients will never outsource, DiZizzo said, so the firm began offering packaging supplies and equipment.

In terms of workforce development, everyone knows the mission, Szydlowski said, and are given monthly challenges. A plant manager may have to find two new customers, though it isn’t technically his or her area of expertise.

In simple terms, Industrial Packaging appeals to other companies’ need to not having packaging issues slow them down and does whatever it takes to get them there, fast, with open-mindedness, creativity and invested employees.

Read about the other Manufacturing Excellence Awards winners:

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