Category Archives: Blog

Happy Earth Day from Crownhill Packaging

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While packaging has gotten a bad rap about its effect on the environment, today we’re going to explore how packaging is changing and helping to create a greener future. There are many ways to help save our planet including reducing energy use, minimizing waste creation, preventing the use of harmful chemicals and pollutants, and using recyclable/sustainable/compostable materials; all of which have a dramatic effect on helping the environmental status of planet earth. Crownhill is making efforts in all these areas to help ensure consumers get their products at the best cost, with the clearest conscience.

Our packaging solutions focus on efficiencies that eliminate packaging waste, and the waste caused by defective products. Defective products create unnecessary waste, and can also damage or contaminate other products, leading to a considerable destruction of resources. For this reason, as well as human and environmental dangers that stem from product damage, we test our packaging solutions before delivering them. We also pay particular attention to packaging for hazardous products using solutions that not only abide by packaging regulations but also exceed them, ensuring that these dangerous products are superbly protected.

Crownhill doesn’t just work with any supplier; we feel that we have a responsibility to choose suppliers whose long-term goals of sustainability and waste reduction, match with ours. Our selected suppliers find many ways to help the environment including offering printing options using vegetable-based inks, that are water recyclable, preventing the harm that lead-based inks do to the environment both in manufacturing and disposal. Also, many of our suppliers are committed to continuous improvement to achieve lean manufacturing that minimizes waste while keeping high productivity.

We recognize the efficiencies that both recycling and using recycled products bring to not only our business but the world. Our use of recycled corrugate, the option of multi-use dunnage bags for closed circuit transport, and recycling of all scrap created in the process of customization have a direct impact on saving forests and reduce the energy used to produce new packaging materials.

We at Crownhill understand the current perception of packaging, and we see the issues daily of misinformed packaging decisions that cause excess packaging to be used. We work with many brands to find the perfect packaging option that protects their products in the best way, utilizing the latest in packaging technology to practice source reduction (using less packaging to provide equal or better protection for a product). Technology is always evolving and recent innovations that will help packaging sustainability in the future, include the Ideonella Sakaiensis (Nella) bacteria that breaks down plastic to its base materials, ready to be reformed, the Stixfresh food sticker that enables fruit to gain a shelf life of up to two weeks more, and Bio4Pack’s compostable packaging for fresh meat. We at Crownhill are paying close attention to these and other sustainable packaging technologies to find the best way for our customers to utilize them.

There is also a significant amount of companies looking to switch their packaging to more sustainable options, but don’t know where to start. Crownhill is devoted to helping these companies find packaging that fits their commitment to sustainability, without causing a significant increase in costs. We have multiple suppliers that focus on sustainability and combined with our packaging expertise, gives us the ability to utilize a variety of sustainable materials to help keep your entire product line aligned with your values. 

Crownhill is committed to waste reduction, reusable packaging, and using recycled/recyclable options. Happy Earth Day, lets create a greener future together.

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.

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 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.  

Legalization of Cannabis Coming to Canada & Crownhill to Offer Dispensary Bags

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The Government of Canada has announced the end of cannabis prohibition effective July 2018. The legalization of medicinal cannabis in over 20 US States, and legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, as well as a growing number of US States have been leading factors behind Crownhill’s product line expansion into dispensary bags. Dispensary bags are plastic pouches of a variety of sizes, that are smell-resistant and made of FDA certified food-grade material that offer a variety of packaging uses.

These bags are perfect at storing the many items that could be harmful to children, especially items that could be attractive to their senses. In addition to the bags themselves being child resistant, they are both smell resistant and the packaging is completely opaque, offering no hints to the contents within. This prevents curious eyes (and noses) from being intrigued by the contents of these bags, and keeps the most cherished family members safe.

For perishable products, the food-grade materials extend their shelf life, while the solid packaging prevents harmful UV rays from penetrating through the packaging, and the bag keeping all scents within. This makes them ideal for items that will not be used immediately, or whose smell can interfere with the goods/environment that surrounds them.

The exceptional part of this product line is its versatility, pouches of a variety of sizes can utilize short run custom packing with low order minimums, opening the door to new branding options for established products.

Tamper evident dispensary bags show signs of any handling that can compromise the contents within, important for any product, especially products that can have severe health consequences if contaminated or altered between manufacture and consumption.  

Dispensary pouches attributes of being child resistant, tamper resistant, and easy to customize gives them a wide variety of uses and we’re excited to see how their availability changes the landscape of business and consumer packaging.