Colbert Packaging Corporation Revenue and Competitors

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Chicago, IL USA



Total Funding



Estimated Revenue & Valuation

  • Colbert Packaging Corporation's estimated annual revenue is currently $15M per year.(i)
  • Colbert Packaging Corporation's estimated revenue per employee is $98,039

Employee Data

  • Colbert Packaging Corporation has 153 Employees.(i)
  • Colbert Packaging Corporation grew their employee count by 3% last year.
Competitor NameRevenueNumber of EmployeesEmployee GrowthTotal FundingValuation

Colbert Packaging Corporation, Colbert Flexographic's parent company, has been a high-end provider of offset printed folding cartons for 40 years. Four years ago the company considered venturing into flexo - as a process they agreed it had come a long way - but management was still not convinced that the timing was right. Then Jim Weinrauch and Lon Johnson were introduced to the Colbert management team. Weinrauch, with an extensive background in operations, and Johnson, a 14-year veteran of NOSCO who was awarded salesperson of the year in 1996 and currently serves as the President of the Chicago chapter of the Institute of Packaging Professionals, had the idea to start a flexo operation. After an initial round of meetings with Colbert Packaging, it became quickly apparent to the two men that Colbert's President Ed Baker and Executive Vice President Jim Hamilton shared their philosophy and would allow them the freedom to grow the business. Consequently, in March of 1998, a handshake agreement formed Colbert Flexographic. In January of 1999, a Mark Andy 4150 press was delivered and in February the company was open for business. Colbert Flexographic serves a demanding clientele, primarily the pharmaceuticals and health and beauty markets. "The pharmaceuticals industry has very stringent quality standards," said Weinrauch. "It is costly to conform to their requirements, but the good news is that it weeds out a majority of the competition who either will not or can not do the work." Weinrauch, who serves as Vice President of Operations and is new to the folding carton industry, brings a unique perspective to his position. "I have none of the old prejudices," he said. "When I was first introduced to flexo, looking at it from an operation standpoint, I was extremely impressed with its efficiencies. Doing everything in line made perfect sense to me; it eliminates so much wasted time." Before the doors to Colbert Flexographic were opened, Weinrauch and Johnson, Vice President of New Product Development, hit the road, visiting non competing carton plants that were also running flexo. "Those visits were invaluable to us," said Johnson. "We learned a lot of ways to improve the efficiency of our operation, as well as things to avoid. It saved us the pain of having to learn by experience." Colbert Flexographic shares a sales staff with Colbert Packaging, thus allowing customers to decide for themselves which printing method - flexo or offset - is best for their particular needs. "A significant part of the sales effort is spent on educating customers to the advancements made to flexo and its ability to compete with offset in many areas," said Weinrauch. "There still exists a great many misconceptions about it." A knowledgeable sales staff is one way to combat preconceived notions about flexo; another is by leading seminars that discuss the processes advantages. "We will go to a customer's plant and deliver a seminar that focuses on flexo's capabilities and show them firsthand that the quality of the printing in many cases rivals that of offset," Weinrauch explained. Plans are currently underway to add another press at the plant, and approvals have just gone through to add a second shift by the end of the month. "Our growth, in such a short amount of time, is an extension of the growth of flexo as a whole in the industry," said Johnson. "But our growth will be very controlled. We do not want 10 presses in a 100,000 square-foot facility. We want to meet customers needs efficiently, nothing more." The concept under which Colbert Flexographic works is that the type of manufacturing facility it has designed can be modular; in other words, it can work anywhere. "In the future, we would like to bring a plant like the one here in Lake Forest to our customers," said Johnson. "We want customers to know that if they want local suppliers, then we can bring the operation to them. We could even entertain the possibility of building lines in the customers plants, then they would control their own destinies; we would act simply as a manufacturer for them." It is while discussing the future that the principles behind Colbert Flexographic become most animated. Clearly they see no limit to what they can accomplish nor do they anticipate any decline in the continued emergence of flexo. "Offset will always have a place, but the growth is in flexo," predicted Johnson. Success in the flexo arena, contends Weinrauch, depends on your ability to understand - and accept - certain unalterable realities. The first is that no matter how much technology is introduced into flexo, the bottom line is that printing is still not a science. "Printing is an art, plain and simple," Weinrauch said. "I have a background in computer programming, a discipline that involves very concise flow charts and simple yes/no responses to every question. Printing could not be further from that. Nothing is yes or no. A thousand different variables can change at any given time, and often then are interrelated. No orders - even repeats - are ever exactly the same." The 4150 press has the ability to generate SPC charts, which helps to track some of these variables and to eliminate problems before they occur. Operators can set the thresholds they want tracked and can then be alerted when a threshold is crossed. There are other ways in which to reduce the possibility of production clichés, as well. For instance, Colbert mixes all of its own inks on site with an Akzo Nobel ink blending system. It also has a proofing system for plates that allows plates to be tested - before going on press. "We know if a plate is going to fail before we run a job," said Weinrauch. "It allows us to catch a mistake before it costs us a lot of time and money." All of Colbert Flexographic's press operators are new hires, all with flexo experience. "Several converters warned us not to try to train offset pressman to run flexo," said Weinrauch. "Our goal from the very beginning," stated Johnson, "was to operate in a clean room environment. When dealing with a customer base such as ours, it is the only option. We also put a lot of effort into plant layout. It had to follow logical workflow; we wanted straight throughout, not materials coming through backwards." A visitor to Colbert will almost instantly recognize the absence of something that has become ubiquitous in most converting facilities: skids. "That is one of my pet peeves," said Weinrauch. "Skids take up too much room, and they are hard to move." Instead, the company employs the use of wheeled carts that allow finished goods to be stored and moved easily and efficiently. Plastic hoods were recently installed over all the carts to protect the contents from dust. The excitement within the walls of Colbert Flexographic has allowed the company - and its employees - to freely stretch the limits of flexographic printing. "On several instances, suppliers and customers have questioned specs we have sent them. They look at them and then say things like 'you really can't do that with flexo,'" said Siciliano, smiling. "To the contrary, I tell them, we have proven that we can accomplish just about anything using flexo." (Reprinted from the June 21, 1999 issue, Flexo Market News.



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Company NameRevenueNumber of EmployeesEmployee GrowthTotal Funding