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PACKAGING’S POWER PLAYER

When it comes to exceeding customer expectations, Shorr Packaging is with you the whole way.

There’s no overstating the effect packaging has on consumer sentiment. It may be subtle or overt, but what we touch, see, and read on a package influences the way we experience the product — and inevitably — how we feel about the brand.

For product designers and manufacturers, making or finding a fit-for-purpose container can be a daunting task. A range of variables must be considered — including how input costs and packaging design impact your bottom line.

Getting packaging right can be as important a determining factor in a consumer’s purchasing decision as the product itself.

Fortunately, Shorr Packaging is a partner that can support packaging needs across the packaging spectrum, serving everyone from startup e-commerce firms to the largest manufacturers across the world.

Founded in 1922, Shorr is one of the largest and most versatile packaging distribution firms in the country. They are equipped to rapidly respond to virtually any packaging need — from sourcing materials to designing and implementing automated production lines or repairing industrial packaging equipment — all with an eye toward helping customers drive increased productivity and operational efficiency.

“We found that many of our large customers were asking us to move with them in new areas, particularly with the growth of e-commerce,” said Bill Bonaccorsi, Shorr’s VP of marketing. “As the dynamics in packaging were changing, we listened to our customers and invested in them. That approach has served us very well.”

The Aurora, Ill.-based enterprise specializes in everything packaging, including contract packaging, national packaging programs, and managed packaging solutions, as well as application analysis, integration, custom design, printing, inventory management, logistics, and sustainable solutions.

Serving a variety of markets, including healthcare, food, industrial, and ecommerce, Shorr is a collaborator with a compelling value proposition: committing to their customers’ success with imagination, and an unparalleled depth of knowledge and expertise. Building on their legacy as a packing materials distributor, Shorr has evolved into a full-stack solutions provider with 40 facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, nine divisions and a national footprint. In recent times, Shorr has enjoyed year-over-year growth that exceeds the industry average.

Formerly owned by members of the Shorr family, the business is now 100% employee-owned. As a result, workers on the shop floor or in the warehouse are as invested in the company’s success as much as top line leadership, which is a significant competitive advantage.

“The benefits of being an ESOP really come alive when you have a culture that embraces and aligns with it,” Bonaccorsi stressed. “As an employee-owner, there is a greater sense of pride and responsibility. It’s our company, our business, and it drives engagement that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the packaging industry.”

Debt-free, nimble, and willing to invest in their customers’ growth and success, Shorr’s practice of bringing the industry’s most respected experts into the organization has helped Shorr remain the most innovative company of its kind — in a continually evolving marketplace. These building blocks enable them to anticipate market movements and get ahead of them and allows them to connect with customers to solve problems and devise solutions at scale.

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Providing end-to-end solutions when it matters most

In making the shift from a materials supplier to a full-scale solutions provider, Shorr made use of their century-long experience. They expanded their capabilities horizontally to bring in deeper and wider expertise, and the creation of an equipment automation team, staffed with career packaging equipment experts, added to the company’s credibility and value.

When pain points arise for their customers, Shorr takes them on. “We are all about listening to our customers and understanding their needs and goals. We apply our expert resources to design and implement specific solutions to meet their goals,” Bonaccorsi said.

Inventory management is a common pain point for packaging customers. Certain issues are intensifying, such as having the right inventory at the right time and the right amount of space to accommodate it, avoiding the risk of overstocking and the resulting product obsolescence, and managing ebbs and flows in growth.

Intellistock℠ is one of several inventory management programs in Shorr’s toolkit. The digital tool gives important insights on key trends such as usage. “It’s going to open eyes on the customer side; they’ve never been able to view this level of data,” Bonaccorsi explained. “We’re very excited about what intellistock℠ can do. We offer the program to help customers be more efficient and profitable.”

It’s common for manufacturers and retailers to use a number of different packaging companies to meet their needs. “Over the years I’ve heard customers say, ‘I buy my materials from one supplier, I buy my equipment from another supplier, then I integrate it into my production line, and when something goes wrong I don’t know where to go,’” Bonaccorsi said. “As a supplier of packaging materials with equipment and design capabilities, we’re able to provide all the options our customers need. Shorr is truly an end-to-end solutions organization.”

The competitive edge that being a major national packaging supplier brings is shared with their customers. Replacing one material for another at a cheaper price isn’t the way Shorr does business. “That’s not our game,” he said. “Our strategy is to help customers manage costs. Right now, that’s very relevant because there are so many price increases in various packaging materials, and as we help with cost issues we often uncover opportunities to increase productivity.”

The sudden, wild shifts in consumer purchasing produced by the pandemic put many of Shorr’s customers on edge as they sought solutions to new problems, such as changing the flow of inventory. Not only did Shorr find extra warehouse space customers needed, in certain cases they carried those costs. Their extensive experience and financial strength enabled them to make investments in their customers’ success that most of their competitors couldn’t even consider. “We are willing to do that because we care about our customers. That’s what helps us grow and makes us a better company,” he said.

Shorr also shines when it comes to logistics and transportation. While becoming a freight operator or 3PL isn’t part of their growth strategy, they have built strong relationships with logistics and transportation specialists to take fluid, real-life practical approaches to tricky problems. A combination of discipline, the ability to turn on a dime, and a robust portfolio of capabilities helps them evolve in a changing world.

The rise of e-commerce has created a greater-than-ever need for small batch packaging. Whether the need is personalization, package form, shape, or color — just a few of the many variations customers must sift through to find the best representation of their brand — Shorr responds as a trusted collaborator from start to finish.

Using decades of experience, the professionals at Shorr can see beyond the obvious and lead their customers through the entirety of the packaging process.

“We facilitate conversations that often go beyond a single contact. It is important to collect data points from across an organization to incorporate a strategic and holistic solution. Even a simple modification in packaging design can have a significant impact throughout the supply chain.”

Bonaccorsi credits Shorr’s success to their collaborative and supportive ESOP culture combined with their clear, improvement strategies. “Those factors have allowed us to work with some of the biggest companies on the planet. We recognize that packaging, especially today, is really complex and still relatively inefficient if not done strategically. We’re pioneers, helping our customers be really innovative at all things packaging.”

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