TimBar Packaging and Display designs and manufactures corrugated and other types of displays and packaging for a loyal customer base. “Our customer retention rate is very high, and we try to do everything in our power to enhance that,” President and CEO Matt Heleva declares. “What we work hard at is the customer experience. How do you take the hassle out?”
The introduction of new services, products, processes and technologies is determined by customers’ needs. “It’s about customer retention, about growing with the customer,” Heleva continues. “We think about how to keep bringing value so that we’re earning our position every day with that customer. We’ve got to get faster while holding high-quality standards and maintaining costs. We have to automate as much as we can and train the heck out of our people.”
Much of TimBar Packaging and Display’s training is through its in-house boot camp. “We run two boot camp classes a year for different levels of leadership within our company,” Heleva says. This is supplemented with external speakers from academia or industry, and classes by the Association of Industry Corrugated Converters or the Fibre Box Association. The company also is researching an in-house pricing seminar for its estimators. “Training is a big part of who we are,” Heleva emphasizes.
TimBar offers a large variety of substrates, printing methods and services such as design, fulfillment and inventory management. The company has seven manufacturing facilities and two fulfillment centers – one measuring approximately 300,000 square feet in New Oxford, Pa., that is fully automated and a 150,000-square-foot one in Atlanta. It has an arrangement to use a distribution center in Los Angeles. It also has three offices in the eastern portion of the United States.
The company’s industrial packaging and corrugated business extends from Miami north along the East Coast to Pennsylvania and west to Nashville, Tenn. TimBar’s retail packaging customers are nationwide. Heleva estimates that approximately 60 percent of the company’s revenue is from industrial packaging.
In March 2014, TimBar branched into folding cartons and setup boxes by acquiring Hanover Packaging. “What we look for in all our acquisitions is the synergy with our customers,” Heleva explains. “If our customers are buying brown industrial packaging, do they also use displays with retail packaging, folding cartons or rigid boxes? It’s about the customer as opposed to the geography or the product.
“What does our customer need? In the case of Hanover Packaging, they were already selling to several of TimBar’s existing customers. So there were a lot of synergies there.”
Much of TimBar’s business is point-of-purchase displays and packaging. The company offers a full turnkey merchandising solution that includes structural and graphic design, manufacturing, contract packing and fulfillment. The company’s in-house design department employs approximately 35.
“We have a large staff of designers, both structural and graphics, that work on retail packaging and display projects,” Heleva says. “About 90 percent of our customers depend on us to do the creative concept. That’s a big part of our service offering.” TimBar keeps on the leading edge of retail packaging and point-of-purchase design by working with industry researchers and associations that dig into insights gleaned about consumer purchasing behaviors, retailing and brands. Then they translate that research into top-notch design strategies and effective in-store merchandising solutions.
“We feel there is a gap in merchandising program development that creates a disparity between brand and product promotion outside of the store and within the store,” Heleva says. “This often creates a tight timeline for deliverables to retail that can hinder compliance and ROI. TimBar’s strategic approach, which includes collaboration between us, the retailer and the consumer product manufacturer, closes these gaps to deliver a seamless, effective in-store execution.
“In addition, we are constantly working on more electronic data interchange so we can share information more quickly and working on our processes so we can execute faster and eliminate waste,” Heleva says. “Manufacturing is the shortest period of time. It’s all of the other executions, approvals, exchanges of data and specifications, and prototyping that really consume time.”
One for Three
To speed up its manufacturing, TimBar recently installed new equipment in its Miami corrugated plant. “We eliminated three older flexo folder gluers and replaced them with one high-speed, technologically advanced flexo folder gluer,” Heleva says. “It takes a conventional 25-minute setup and reduces it to one-and-a-half minutes. It’s all closed architecture, and it’s all computer-driven. The machine produces outstanding quality consistently.”
The older machines had open architecture, which meant an operator had to go inside them to remove old printing plates, attach new ones and move the slotting and scoring heads manually. Then the machine had to be closed, a few test boxes run and then reopened if adjustments had to be made. The new machine’s computer makes all those adjustments automatically using servomotors.
“The new flexo folder gluer was last year’s major investment, and it was significant because it completely changed that plant,” Heleva emphasizes. “The year before that, we embarked on a $14 million capital investment in Pennsylvania to add laminated packaging capacity and high-speed die-cutting capability. Technology is changing very rapidly right now in corrugating, converting and printing in our industry.”
Heleva attributes TimBar’s success to the company’s customer focus. “We work really hard on our culture, and our culture is understanding the customer,” he stresses. “It’s one of treating people with trust, respect and dignity – training these people over and over to understand the customer – and feeding that information back. It’s management feedback on performance, goal-setting and goal attainment. Measurement of those goals for industry as well as the organization and plants is a very big part of our culture, and that is one of our hallmarks of who we are.”