Five generations of the Reichenecker family have owned and operated Storopack since it started in 1874 in Germany. The company has come a long way since its early days in the leather tanning business, but its culture hasn’t changed, Marketing Manager Tommy Moorman insists.
“They treat everyone like family,” says Moorman, who has worked at Storopack for four years. “Employees are one of the most important aspects of the company.” Many employees have worked for Storopack for 25 years or more, a strong indication that the company’s culture is well received, he says.
Retired CEO Hans Reichenecker continues to serve as chairman of the company’s board of directors, while his son, Hermann, and daughter, Verena, oversee the day-to-day operations. “They know everybody by name,” Moorman says, adding that the Reicheneckers show genuine interest in employees’ lives and families.
Benefits of Family
Family ownership has other benefits as well, Moorman says. “We’re not concerned about (the company)getting sold or acquired,” he says. “It’s something that doesn’t cross our minds. The Reichenecker family is committed and here to stay.”
The family’s commitment to Storopack is demonstrated in other ways, including significant investments in the North American infrastructure. For example, Storopack recently relocated its Toronto-based distribution facility. “(The old facility) was outdated and inefficient to our production needs,” Moorman says. “We needed an upgrade to accommodate higher productivity, spacing needs and better location to better serve our Canadian and New York customers.”
Additionally, Storopack moved its Somerset, N.J., facility from a warehouse to a production facility in Edison, N.J. This allows the company to expand its product offerings and capture additional market in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania region, Moorman says. “Also, we are in the process of expanding our Cincinnati film plant by doubling the size of the existing facility, a project that is scheduled for completion in spring 2016,” he says.
The company, which has 19 North American production facilities, is the world’s largest manufacturer of loose fill. But the loose fill, or packing peanuts, represents just a portion of the company’s business, Moorman notes.
“It’s an exciting time here at Storopack,” Moorman says. “There’s a lot of change with these acquisitions, but with change comes opportunity.”
Storopack recently acquired two companies overseas. Acquisition of a Japanese packaging company, EJ Co. Ltd., resulted in Storopack gaining market share in the protective packaging industry. In January 2015, Storopack acquired an Italian company, Alternative 1999. The company was a long-term partner, and acquisition allowed Storopack to continue expanding its product offerings and strengthen its presence in the Italian market, Moorman says.
“We are seeing a lot of growth in the solutions we produce all over the world,” he explains “Essentially, this is how Storopack got its start in the United States.”
Storopack got its start producing molded parts in 1959 and began making flowable packaging padding material, or packing peanuts, in 1973. The company did not bring its operations to the United States until 1978 and ended its activities in the leather business four years later.
In the early 1990s, the company began to expand its product portfolio with the launch of AIRplus® inflatable cushions and PAPERplus® paper pads. Those products were soon followed by the introduction of FOAMplus® foam pads. Storopack quickly became one of the few protective packaging manufactures offering customers all four aspects of protective packaging: void fill, cushioning, blocking, and bracing and wrapping.
“Over the past 10 years, we’ve expanded on the four core products (AIRplus®, PAPERplus®, FOAMplus® and PELASPAN® Loose Fill) with many variations of those core products, giving the customer multiple options for tailoring the packaging to the product- application needs,” Moorman says.
In 2014, Storopack extended its range of AIRplus® engineered films with two new Bubble films. The AIRplus® Bubble films come in 12- and 24-inch widths. They are designed to replace conventional, pre-inflated bubble wrapping. The flexible sizes reduce material consumption, handling costs and lead to efficient packing, Moorman says. The AIRplus® machine can be set up directly at a company’s packing station or integrated into the customer’s intralogistics.
Alternatively, Storopack can set up a system to produce rolls of bubble with the AIRplus® Coiler at a central location or at the pack station. Staff can then simply cart or pull from the rolls right at their packing stations as needed, Moorman explains.
One other unique product offering is Storopack’s urethane molding, called FOAMplus® Pre-Molding. The product offers customized protective packaging solutions and technical moldings made of expandable foam that serves a wide range of industrial, manufacturing and e-commerce sectors. Benefits of the premold foam materials include cushioning, vibration, shock absorption, durability and damage reduction, Moorman says.
Storopack’s greatest asset is its relationships with customers, Moorman says. “We take a holistic approach to business with our customers,” he says. “It’s important for Storopack to understand the customer’s business as a whole. We’re not picking a section of the process to analyze. We’re interested in the entire process. It goes a long way in the partnership when you can speak intelligently about your customer’s business. It’s not about Storopack, it’s about the customer.”
This strategy benefits both clients and Storopack as the company strives to learn more about customers’ packaging needs, which change as new products hit the market. “We work with our clients constantly,” Moorman says. “It’s our duty to understand the customer’s process from beginning to end. We have strategic partnerships, applications engineering and design engineers, who offer unique solutions to improve the entire process. We make air pillows, but we sell productivity. No one else does it like we do and that’s a good thing. It’s Storopack’s mission to constantly improve the productivity of the customers’ packaging process and their clients unboxing experience.”