Everything to Get Your Products to the Coasts and Beyond in Honor of Maritime Day

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The shipping industry has been the single greatest enabler of global business operations, allowing products to move across the world affordably. Massive infrastructure projects like the Suez and Panama Canals, as well as the lock systems in major rivers like the Rhine and St. Lawrence, have been created to facilitate sea trade.  On Maritime Day, we want to pay tribute to these great achievements.

The United States and Canada use their maritime ports to export billions of dollars worth of products ranging from advanced military vehicles, to the East Coast’s famous lobsters, and thousands of other items. Unlike the relatively steady conditions of roads and rail, sea conditions can be very rough and many items that aren’t adequately prepared, suffering significant damage throughout the trip.

For North American products taking this trip, they must be packaged in a way that complies with the American Association of Railroads (AAR). This organization sets guidelines on packaging requirements for products traveling by rail and overseas, helping to ensure the safety of products and personel. Failure to comply with these standards can have a significant impact on a company, with high fines being levied, in addition to the costs associated with removing & repackaging products. The time it takes for the repackaging process can cause delays for urgent products, compromising your company’s reputation among customers.

Abiding by the AAR is a good business practice that avoids unnecessary risks. Crownhill Packaging works with a variety of suppliers that ensures your packaging, pallet strapping, pallet wrap, and all other packaging solutions are AAR compliant. Our lab is certified by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). By using atmospheric preconditioning, vibration, and shock (including drop, horizontal impact, and inclined impact), our lab ensures that products can withstand these long journeys and the unique conditions that accompany them.

The AAR is suggesting the use of dunnage bags, and there have been talks about making them mandatory for both rail and sea transport. The use of dunnage bags helps fill the space between skids, preventing damage from packed skids connecting with each other. However, there need to be special considerations placed on their use, especially when being used to fill space in between a container/trailer wall and your skid. Dunnage bags are made to be positioned between smooth surfaces, as rough surfaces have the potential to pop them mid-transport. However, adding a honeycomb barrier between a wall and the skid enables added protection and significantly reduces this risk.

The massive use of maritime ports has created a significant demand for products that create and maintain their infrastructure. Each day thousands of parts & products find the port as their final destination; for these products being stored (even temporarily) in maritime environments, the salty air and humidity can accelerate corrosion and cause severe damage. To help ensure corrosion or loss doesn’t happen to items, VCI bags and films should be used to protect them. Ensuring a VCI protection solution is sealed around a product is essential, as any opening can compromise the integrity of the whole item. By using VCI protection products are placed an enviroment that is isolated from the external threats.

We look forward to helping ensure your products safely make it across lakes, rivers, and oceans to service your valued customers. For all your inquiries regarding packaging products bound for ports and beyond, don’t hesitate to contact info@crownhillpackaging.com.

Crownhill Attends Foam Expo North America

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Crownhill prides itself on staying up to date with current trends, and attending trade shows gives us an opportunity to research and identify industry shifts in a functional environment. Foam Expo North America was held in Novi, Michigan, on March 26th to the 29th, where Crownhill Vice President, Rodney Taylor, and Director of Sales, Mike Cancilla attended to gain industry insight. Foam’s versatility makes it a key part of our product line, and being part of the world’s largest trade show for the technical foam industry is an opportunity we couldn’t afford to miss.

Foam offers many advantages in packaging; it’s high strength, nonabrasive and cost-effective. Crownhill utilizes foam to protect a wide variety of objects, with a particular focus on fragile products, delicate items and objects with sharp points/edges.

Over the three-day conference, our team gained valuable information, met with many suppliers and purchasers, and learned from some of the top names in the technical foam industry. We conversed with well-known suppliers including Intertape Polymer Group, Pregis, and Sealed Air, creating and strengthening relationships. We were also able to gain a wealth of knowledge about sustainable foam options including reusable, biodegradable, and curbside recyclable foam that will allow us to both serve our customers and communities better.

B2B Matchmaker Meetings were a new feature this year that allowed exhibitioners and attendees to pre-book meetings with each other to take place in dedicated areas. We were able to access this by using the ‘Smarter Shows’ app, that put everything going on at our fingertips and enabled us to effectively organize our time. The app allowed us to be able to have time for formal meetings, informal networking, exploring the tradeshow, and attending guest speakers.

The Tradeshow gave us the ability to see live product demonstrations from MacTac on their clean acrylic adhesives, Rubberlite on HyPUR-cel polyurethane foams, and Avery Dennison on Pressure-Sensitive Tape Construction. These demonstrations allowed us to gain an applied understanding of these new advancements in foam technology that we could take home and apply to our custom packaging solutions.

Foam Expo helped Crownhill discover both new foam options and additional uses for our existing product line. We’re looking forward to next year’s Foam Expo and can’t wait to see how the technical foam industry evolves by then.

You can learn more about Crownhill’s foam options and capabilities by visiting: //www.crownhillpackaging.com/packing-foam/

Crownhill Packaging Attends PX Summit

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Last week was an exciting week for Crownhill, with us publishing content about our PAC Award & Spring Packaging Trends, as well as our Pinnacle Award Press release being featured by the Digital Journal. We also attended the Packaging Experience Summit on March 19th and 20th in Seattle, Washington. Our Vice President Ken Wong, Director of Strategy & Operations Marc Hyman, and E-Commerce Business Manager Olivia Pietersen flew to the Pacific Northwest, to attend the summit at the Hotel Interurban.

The event gave us an opportunity to explore how new technology is improving the packaging industry and how digitization is impacting our traditional ways of conducting business. At this conference we gained new custom packaging insights by learning from professionals in a variety of related industries. It allowed us to explore the unique packaging capabilities of the West Coast and inspired new ideas. It also assisted our team in keeping up to date on the best ways to serve our clientele, by giving us an inside look on how our services can evolve to best participate in the future of packaging.

One of the most interesting parts of the experience was the opportunity to network with suppliers, distributors, and customers — many of whom not only shared valuable lessons with us but also helped make our time a memorable one. We’re looking forward to staying in touch with these contacts and letting these fledgling relationships blossom. 

This year had a remarkable lineup of speakers, including HP Inc. Global Brands Innovation Manager, Doris Brown McNally, Pregis Vice President of Marketing, Dache Davidson, and Georgia-Pacific, LLC. Vice President of National Graphics, Ted Samotis. These experts spoke about pressing packaging topics such as The Supply Chain Benefits of Digital Print Production Packaging Damage and Its Impact on Consumer Sentiment. The lessons from these speakers are something the team will take home and share with the rest of Crownhill to help our business stay ahead of the competition.

In addition, the summit provided us the opportunity to hear from PX Summit Organizer, President of The BoxMaker, Richard Brown who gave a phenomenal welcome address, that detailed how digital print is enabling brands to create one-on-one conversations with their consumers through packaging. He also gave a tour of The BoxMaker’s extraordinary plant where we saw the capabilities of new machinery, efficiencies created from an organized plant, and how the manufacturer is using people and processes to stay competitive.

Thank you to everyone at The BoxMaker, and the PX Summit team — we’re looking forward to what next year’s event brings.

Celebrating the First Day of Spring with Recent Packaging Trends

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Spring is here, and many people are enjoying the simple things, vibrant colors emerging, nature coming back stronger than ever, it seems like a world painted in pastel. These themes are more than just applicable to spring; rather they seem to imitate the packaging trends of 2019.

Spring is about the simple things, picking fresh herbs, smelling the scent of growth in the air, feeling the sun on your skin. Minimalism (the art of keeping what has value, and removing what is distracting) has become a niche in living space and consumption but is expanding to the mainstream when it comes to packaging. This doesn’t mean plain packaging by any means, instead consumers are looking for fresh, uncluttered designs, that communicate everything they need to know efficiently. Brands can keep minimal text while utilizing color and gradients to express everything else. Gradients help products attract attention, allowing a brand to communicate multiple brand values while maintaining minimal text. Just like how spring is the perfect temperature where you’re not overheating or freezing, gradients can create a warm sensation for consumers.

After the cold harshness of winter, we are experiencing a grand relief. Spring brings a time of hope, where we reminisce on the enjoyment we experienced last spring. Now is the time to sit out on the dock with loved ones and talk about the good times of the past while creating new ones.  Nostalgia is also affecting packaging with vintage characters and pop culture references that create a real connection with target markets.

With spring we don’t just remember better days, we’re also seeing them become more pleasant. As the rains wash away the snow and slush, everything looks cleaner and more blissful. This look extends to packaging with pastel-based color schemes. Pastels adds a rich elegance to products of all shapes & sizes and can make a striking imprint on the minds of consumers.

Great example of the simple elegance thats trending this year

These consumers are no longer opting for the artificial fireplaces or staying cozy indoors. Spring is a time to be in nature with real campfires and walking freely outside. Nature is full of natural resources, and many of these can be refined into packaging materials including algae, hemp, and many other plants & organisms. As many people seek to live more harmoniously, using the abundance of packaging materials that are biodegradable means your brand can capture their lifestyle in its bags. 

We keep this harmony with nature going day and night. When the sun goes down, spring is a time we can still stay outside admiring the contrast of bright stars across a dark night. Just like this simple contrast, black and white designs are emerging as a trend for more serious brands. We see remarkable works of art in black and grey themes in gothic art and modern tattooing, and these influences are spreading to mainstream packaging. While gradients allow colors to blend, black and white are contrasting, creating emphasis and space where it’s needed.

Spring is a time for cleanup and renewal, and Crownhill Packaging can utilize these trends to help revitalize your packaging design. Our packaging designers, consultants, and sales team are excited to support your brand’s winter emergence. Welcome to spring! 

Crownhill Awarded PAC Worldwide Pinnacle Award

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The PAC Worldwide Pinnacle award is given out to only one organization annually, and Crownhill Packaging received the distinction on March 11th, 2019. This award is given to a PAC partner that understands the extent of PAC’s product line and uses them to help their customers, as well as a partner that has their values aligned with PAC’s vision for the future of packaging. 

PAC Worldwide is a global supplier of innovative poly bubble mailer technology that works with Crownhill’s operations throughout North America. They have been a key part of our operations for the past 15 years, and in that time the relationship has become very tight, due to a constant effort by both sides to strengthen their supplier and customer connections.

“We’re honored to receive this award. We’ve been working with PAC for many years, and are constantly communicating back and forth with them. Crownhill is in the business of being a vital part of many companies supply chain, and we are continually telling customers how important their supply chain is. I feel this award provides that validity that we are practicing what we preach and shows our commitment to our logistics network.”
– Ken Wong, Vice President of Crownhill Packaging.

Crownhill provides PAC mailers to almost every industry that ships through e-commerce. The fact that they’re recyclable, cost-efficient, and user-friendly makes them the perfect option to protect an assortment of offerings in a company’s product line.

The Crownhill Packaging team receiving the PAC Worldwide Pinnacle award on March 11th.

PAC mailers have gone beyond the e-commerce world, and Crownhill has provided them as an option both for retailers who frequently transfer product between retail locations at special request and for delivery companies that need mailing solutions for consumers sending products to each other.

Our relationship with PAC has thrived due to being like-minded innovators, who commit to providing the best packaging solutions for our customers. We’re honored to receive this Pinnacle Award from PAC Worldwide, and we’re looking forward to many years of growth together.

Crownhill Wishes You a Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We’ve been lucky this year, with St. Patricks day falling on Sunday, which means a full weekend of celebrations. On St. Patrick’s Day every year, people around the world come together to celebrate Irish culture, wear tons of green, and of course, throw a massive party.  In preparation for this grand celebration, gallons of beer is brewed, packaged and shipped to bars, retailers, and even directly to consumers.

Our society has radically changed since the first North American St. Patrick’s Day celebration in 1737; however, the importance of getting beer from brewer to consumer safely has timeless significance. Barrels have changed to metal kegs, horse-drawn carriages have been replaced by 18-wheel trucks, and an exclusively bottled product during the first celebration has evolved to being increasingly purchased in cans. As cans become a more popular option (offering the advantage of durability, price, and safer handling) beverage suppliers need to find new and exciting ways to communicate with consumers.

Shrink wrapping and shrink bundling is used to hold beer for good reason, as it offers strong holding power, is recyclable, and is easy to remove both from a retailer and consumer standpoint. Everything seems to turn green on this great Sunday, especially promotions and packaging. What noticeably isn’t, for the most part, is the shrink wrap that most beer offered in North America is packaged in. The clear shrink option provides consumers a chance to see your product, but for most consumers buying full cases, they are very familiar with your products aesthetics. For those being introduced to your brand, they tend to buy in smaller quantities where the shrink is already removed.

Branded packaging offers the chance to add additional content that won’t fit on the can, due to the inherent limitations of its cylindrical shape. Also, branded packaging provides an opportunity to inform customers of time-sensitive news without cluttering your product.  

For those seeking a more economical option, colored shrink wrap is readily available and can be used to help your product ride the hype that comes with holidays, such as Independence Day (red, white & blue), Christmas (green, red or white), and Halloween (black or orange).

The durability of canned beer in shrink-wrapped cases is only as good as how its transported. Custom packaging solutions ensure that your skid can bear the weight of your load and that the products on the pallet are safely supported. We create a system where your skid, stretch wrap, and product packaging all work in harmony.

 Crownhill ensures products can remain perfect through their journey, by conducting ISTA lab testing that simulates the many conditions a product will face. By utilizing Crownhill’s custom packaging solutions, you can be assured your product arrives safely and appeals to consumers either on display or when they receive it at home.

We’re looking forward to enjoying our St. Patrick’s Day Sunday and hope you do too. Please enjoy your delicious brews safely and responsibly, remembering the care that went into getting them to you.

Crownhill Celebrates Employee Appreciation Day

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The globalized business world is a machine with lots of moving parts. Typically, we think of these moving parts as gears and cogs, represented by multinational corporations and the strategic decisions of their management. While these do have major effects, it is not what truly powers the modern business world.  What powers this mighty machine hasn’t changed since the beginning of time: it’s the efforts of every single worker around the globe. An employee’s contributions to fueling the machine are often forgotten, but not here at Crownhill.

We know that our operations are as strong as the gifted individuals who make up our team, and we have been able to capture top talent across our offices in Waukegan, Brampton and Collingwood. These individuals make the most of their time and the resources provided to them, to deliver stellar results, and utilize their charisma to make our workplace a great place to come to.

Many tasks require a great amount of collaboration between many individuals to work smoothly, and we have many members of our staff working hard to ensure they happen daily. To fulfill our daily just-in-time inventory deliveries, each purchaser orders the right inventory, logistics coordinators make sure the transportation is available, our warehouse personnel commit to the laborious task of loading specific inventory onto this transportation, our drivers ensuring goods are delivered safely and on time, and many other staff members work behind the scenes enable this scenario to play out.

Not only do we have this teamwork in a single office, we have team members in the United States and Canada working together every day, sharing knowledge and utilizing their unique expertise to solve issues that span the continent. These people use their unique cultural perspectives to tackle problems from multiple sides and use diversity as a strength.

We also want to thank the employees of our many suppliers and purchasers whose efforts allow the packaging industry to thrive. We owe our gratitude to the employees of these suppliers that enable the manufacturing and creation of goods, that fuel our operations, and enable us to offer so many different solutions. We are also very grateful to the employees of our valued purchasers, who have supported us in our 32 years of business, we continuously look forward to collaborating with the dedicated members of your management teams conquering your packaging challenges together.  It’s these phenomenal employees that help protect the products that have enabled global increases in quality of life.

We not only want to thank employees for the valuable work they do every day, but also the professional advancement and personal growth that goes above and beyond. We are constantly seeing employees finding more efficient ways of working, eager to learn skills to be better in their role, and seeking out new opportunities for Crownhill to be more successful. Crownhill knows that personal growth and employee morale has huge ramifications for organizations, and we pride ourselves on creating a positive work environment that encourages this. The personal development of our employees increases cohesion, fosters creativity, and allows for a greater productivity to occur. The actions of our employees to grow professionally and personally, creates big changes, and we want to recognize them for this.

The world is changing in a big way for employees across many organizations. As automation is embraced, many employees are seeing doors close and feeling fear towards the future, but this future is to embraced rather than resisted. So many new opportunities are opening in this new age of intelligent robotics, these tools are merely enabling greater productivity for individual workers, new avenues for business success, and employees to reach a potential that was never available to them before.

Once again, we want to recognize the incredible value each employee a part of our supply chain brings. We look forward to seeing the barriers these employees will break, and new heights they will reach in the near future.

Lessons from the Liquidation of Payless Shoe Store

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Payless Shoe Company has filed for bankruptcy and plans to liquidate its North American operations. While it’s easy to blame the failure of Payless on the emergence of e-commerce, and its effect on traditional retailer, that factor is only part of the equation. Many historic brands like recent Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Winner, Best Buy Canada, have proven that the internet is a land of opportunity rather than threats. A driving factor behind the downfall of Payless, is its refusal to adapt its business model when its point of difference, being the primary retailer for low cost shoes, was voided by this becoming common place in large retailers like Walmart, Winners, and Costco.

Another major factor that is easy to overlook was the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of debt Payless took on to keep itself running and continue serving over 2000 stores around North America. This led to a massive increase in expenses due to the servicing of this debt (the principal + interest costs). The best way to avoid the added cost of servicing debt it to avoid taking on debt in the first place. While the temptation to gain a great deal of immediate capital is tempting, this capital needs to be invested wisely and cannot be used to merely keep a brand afloat or continuing with the same business plans of the past. This failure of Payless, shows the importance of streamlining operations and finding innovative ways of reducing capital costs before getting into financial trouble.

Crownhill Packaging understands this importance of preventing debt in the first place. There will always be a cost of protecting your products while ensuring they keep their appeal shown, but by working with a company who works with you as partner, and makes cost savings a high priority, you can ensure that your packaging needs are working efficiently. Crownhill achieves these cost savings by providing design solutions, reducing goods lost to damage, lowering material costs, improving inventory control, and streamlining processes.

There are many costs associated with transporting products that are of concern to retailers, the largest being dimensional (DIM) weight charges. These are minimum shipping costs that are calculated both by a package’s weight and the dimensions of the package itself. Crownhill helps reduce these DIM weight charges by finding the perfect balance of keeping a product protected and keeping the shipping package to a minimal size. By using lightweight materials and utilizing alternate packaging solutions such as bubble mailers, Crownhill ensures your packaging and shipping costs stay as low as possible.

As retailing continues to grow, ensure that your brand learns lessons from the failure of previous brands, and trusts the right suppliers for its supply chain needs.  

Crownhill Partners with Packaging Distributors of America to Participate in Digital Marketing Seminar

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As the digital age progresses to bring more of the world online and becomes more entrenched to those currently connected digitally, it’s becoming essential for marketers within the packaging industry to understand how to communicate effectively through the internet. Marketing has been evolving in the last decade, with companies who found little need for a marketer now finding it a key part of their lead and customer acquisition strategy.

Crownhill Packaging is a proud member the Packaging Distributors of America (PDA) and is very involved with the organization, as exemplified by Crownhill Vice President Ken Wong serving as PDA Chairman of the Board. This year, Crownhill continued its involvement, assisting the organization with its annual marketing seminar. Over the past two days, E-Commerce Business Manager Olivia Pietersen shared personal insights on how digital developments, marketing strategy, and software tools can assist companies in the packaging industry convey the value they provide.

Packaging is everywhere and is the unsung hero of the world where product convenience is key and home delivery through digital ordering is commonplace. To elevate it from this unsung status, marketers need to create a discussion about the effectiveness not only of product protection, but also customized labelling, distribution services, and many other products & services that Crownhill and other packaging distributors a part of the PDA network offer.

 The seminar also included providing participants with the resources they need to create long term marketing success. A marketing dictionary, digital checklists, a guide to online sources, and many more resources allows participants to explore the world of marketing themselves and tailor solutions to unique issues facing their enterprise.

Crownhill thanks Olivia Pietersen and Stephanie Roland of Twenty-Five Apart for their devotion to strengthening the PDA network and we are looking forward to participating in many more great seminars.

Congratulations to the impressive Winners of the 2018 Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards

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Photo of Director of Strategy and Operations, Marc Hyman, presenting the award for Best Omni-Channel Retailer- Large to Best Buy Canada

Canada Post created another masterpiece Gala this year at the Fairmont Royal York. The world of commerce operating in the digital sphere has continued to grow in 2018 and Crownhill Packaging is happy to be part of the Canada Post E-commerce Awards. This award shows appreciation to the movers and shakers in their respective industry, who are making the strategic decisions that matter. Canada Post has gathered experts from the Public, Social Networking, Technological, Accounting, and Academic sectors to judge the winners this year. These winners are awarded up to $150,000 worth of credits that can be used through Canada Post’s marketing services, to improve their already stellar E-commerce strategies.

Crownhill Packaging is pleased to present the Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Large’ to ‘Best Buy Canada’. Best Buy entered Canada during the era before the E-commerce explosion, but has quickly adapted to the digital world of commerce, creating an extensive online catalogue and focusing its marketing efforts on supporting digital promotions especially on Cyber Monday. By keeping its eyes peeled for online trends and utilizing the data available from its massive social media following the company has been able to gain great brand resonance among businesses and consumers alike.

The sponsorship of this award is dear to Crownhill Packaging, as we have had the pleasure of assisting many omni-channel retailers varying from startups to multinational corporations in providing full service packaging solutions. From corrugate shipping containers to custom foam and bubble cushioning, Crownhill has been able to protect products of all shapes and sizes, from the manufacturing centers to living rooms across Canada and United States.

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Large (Sponsored by Crownhill Packaging)
Best Buy Canada

Best Omni-Channel Retailer Award – Small
Livestock

Most Disruptive Start-Up Award
LOCH

Best Marketing & Brand Engagement Award
Big Al’s

Pure Play of the Year Award – Large
Jewlr

Pure Play of the Year Award – Small
KANEVAS

Social Impact Award
London Drugs

Canada Post E-commerce Innovator’s Award
Nespresso

Photo of this year’s winners. Courtesy of Canada Post.

Thank you to Canada Post for hosting a great Gala and for putting in the great time and effort it takes recognize these exceptional organizations. Congratulations to all winners, all of us at Crownhill can’t wait to see how these companies innovate in the coming year.