There are companies that believe that bigger is always better, and then there’s Paragon Packaging. President Mike Polarek says the company doesn’t produce the huge runs of plastic bottles that some of its competitors do, but that actually has been the secret to its success over the years. By concentrating on smaller runs of custom and stock plastic bottles, Paragon Packaging better serves the needs of its customers and creates a strong position for itself in the marketplace. The fact that the company has a strong commitment from its employees due to its status as a partially employee-owned firm only serves to bolster Paragon’s capabilities.

As more communication goes digital, less paper is being used, and while this has had somewhat of an impact on Neenah Paper Inc.’s business, the more than 100-year-old company is as strong as ever. In fact, 2012 marked Neenah Paper’s third consecutive year of top- and bottom-line growth. The company’s family of brands is available on six continents, and by maintaining its “tradition of innovation, service and growth,” Neenah Paper believes it will remain a leader in the market for the long-term.

Dr. John D. Young knew he was taking a significant risk when he decided to digress from the world of medicine to found the Inteplast Group in 1991. Young was not only making a career change, but he also was entering the world of manufacturing, which by that point was starting to see a significant shift away from the United States that continues to challenge the industry.

“Many companies at that point were already going to China and elsewhere overseas,” he says. “Our premise was that we wanted to create a structure that would be viable, competitive and have a sufficient enough impact in the industry to prove the point that manufacturing in the United States could still be viable.”

Personalization of paper products used to require large quantities to be cost-effective, but now Hoff­master can provide a full-service restaurant, bar or country club with napkins and other paper products that carry the customer’s logo or other information. “Our real strength on the foodservice side is the ability to provide solution-based products for a variety of customers that range from independent operators to large national chains,” President and CEO Rory Leyden notes. “We play in what I would call the premium segment of the market, as opposed to the commodity segment.”

When it comes to corrugated shipping containers, folding cartons and coated label products, Green Bay Packaging continues to demonstrate skills in customization, innovation and creativity. Founded in 1933 by George Kress, Green Bay Packaging remains under the Kress family’s ownership today.

The company has 30 locations across the United States and Mexico where it manufactures high-quality products that are used in many retail packaging and labeling applications. A vertically integrated company, Green Bay Packaging is ISO 9001 certified and engages in Six Sigma and lean manufacturing to optimize processes, reduce costs and increase value to customers.

Retailing is a competitive enterprise. Catching the eye of consumers as they gaze hypnotically at a wall of similar products in a range of options is serious business. The company that can catch that consumer’s gaze with a new label or package design is the one that will succeed in that category.

Because of this, the packaging business is continually evolving with new requirements for dynamic designs, colors and capabilities, such as improved barrier properties in bags. The more inks a label printer can provide, the greater the capability of creating an eye-catching display.

Wausau Coated Products Inc. has made a habit out of taking big gambles and coming out ahead of the house. Starting with founder William Reif and his partner Lawrence Wokatsch and continuing with Ben Reif, current president, Wausau Coat­ed Products Inc. has faced numerous daunting situations, yet remains at the top of the label industry 30 years after its founding.

Founded in 1952 by William Ungar, a concentration camp survivor who immigrated to the United States after World War II, National Envelope (NE) has grown to become one of the largest envelope manufacturers in the world with 37 billion envelopes produced in its facilities every year.

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