A commitment to doing the right thing by people and the planet keeps Consolidated Container Company overflowing with good fortune
Perhaps it was that pint of gelato you demolished on a midnight fridge raid. Maybe you were doing laundry, changing your car’s motor oil, or sudsing up with your favorite luxe shampoo. We can’t be exactly sure what you were doing, or when (we won’t ask why), but we are confident that at some point you’ve interacted with a product developed and manufactured by the Consolidated Container Company, one of the country’s foremost developers of rigid plastic packaging.
With a customer base that includes brand-name producers in the beverage, food, dairy, water, nutritionals, automotive, household, and specialty chemical industries, it is a certainty that you’ve seen Consolidated’s inimitable contribution to the success of those brands. Every year, Consolidated produces over 4.5 billion rigid plastic containers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Consolidated employs 2,400 people in 60 manufacturing plants throughout the country. With revenues of approximately $1BN, the company is enjoying a period of healthy growth, supported by their new parent, the Loews Corporation.
Patrick Keese, Consolidated’s SVP and general manager of the Consumer and Industrial Division told BOSS, “We are focused on inorganic growth, which means acquisitions, as well as organic growth, whereby we develop new products to serve our customers better. We intend to grow significantly in the coming years.”
Loews, whose investments include CNA Financial, Diamond Offshore, Boardwalk Pipeline, and Loews Hotels, is in full support of those plans. According to Mark Shafer, SVP and general manager of the Beverage Division, “Loews is what I would call a generational investor. They invest for the long-term. They're not a private equity firm that hopes to get out in five years; they like to buy and hold for decades.”
On that track, Consolidated recently completed two acquisitions: having further grown its Canadian footprint with the acquisition of Canadian blow molder Deltapac; and increased its breadth of products and locations by acquiring the water bottle manufacturer Polycycle Solutions.
Innovation by the Gallon
Central to the company’s business strategy are a series of innovation platforms designed to serve not just customers and employees, but an abiding commitment to environmental responsibility. “We developed a technology that we apply to multiple different products called Dura-Lite® ,” noted Brian Hankin, SVP of Strategy, Innovation and Business Development. “We are able to take up to 20 percent of the plastic weight out of a bottle while maintaining or improving the strength and performance on all dimensions. While it seems like a simple thing, it's actually a pretty big breakthrough that enables cost savings and an environmentally responsible story for our customers.”
The technology results in bottles that are up to one-fifth lighter. “We're always exploring advanced and renewable materials so that we can be efficient and better stewards of the resources that we do use,” Hankin said. “We have a wholly-owned recycling division called Envision Plastics, where we actually reclaim recycled material—both domestically and internationally—and recycle it into new resin that we either use ourselves or sell to our customers.”
One of Envision’s signature initiatives, OceanBound, transforms plastics from coastal areas in communities around the globe that do not have access to municipal recycling facilities into high-quality, recycled resin that can once again be used in the production of new bottles. Consolidated and Envision are battling the ocean plastics issue by reclaiming plastic before it reaches the ocean. “We’re investing and proactively reclaiming that material and turning it back into usable products. It's a major initiative and investment, and we're trying to encourage our customers and even our competitors to also invest in this offering,” said Hankin. The Envision group is half-way to reaching its goal of reclaiming 10 million pounds of ocean-bound plastic in just two years.
“We believe that plastic bottles are a great alternative to substrates like glass and aluminum. Whether high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), new packaging can be created using up to 100 percent recycled resin; and that package can be recycled again and again. It's also much lighter in the supply chain, more efficient to use, and much safer because there's no breakage. There are a lot of reasons why the responsible use of rigid plastics produces a better long term solution.”
Another platform on Consolidated’s innovation front is shipping and logistics. The firm is developing packages designed for the e-commerce supply chain. “Most packages that we know of today are designed to be sitting on a store shelf. There's very different thinking going into packaging designed for an eCommerce supply chain and we're actively working on those solutions,” Hankin said.
Consolidated is also tackling the issue of content integrity, with the development of advanced materials that ensure the contents of a package remain in optimum condition, impervious to potentially damaging external elements like light or oxygen.
Studio PKG, Consolidated’s state-of-the-art customer innovation center, brings customers together with designers to collaborate on new products in real time, enabling the company to meet whatever challenges and opportunities their customers present. “We can virtually model these solutions to show what innovative packaging looks like on the shelf, in the kitchen, in the refrigerator, and in the laundry room,” Hankin enthused.
One of the first manufacturers in the world to provide 100% recycled plastic bottles (excluding colorant), Consolidated currently holds over 150 design and utility patents. The company is also the second largest recycler of HDPE in North America.
Always Made Safe, Always Made Right
Consolidated’s values-driven culture, fortified by their Always Made Right promise, reflects not only a commitment to customers, but to society as well. “We are always going to make it right. Does that mean we do it on the first try? Not necessarily, but we’ll always make it right,” Shafer stressed. “What matters is that we satisfy our customers at the end of the day and we do it safely.”
Keese interjected, “No company is 100 percent perfect, but we are 100 percent committed to always doing what we can, what's in the best interest of our customers, to be the best partner that we possibly can, and to always make it right.”
Making it right means putting product right in the customer’s hands, literally. At nearly 20 thru-the-wall manufacturing facilities, Consolidated manufactures containers on the same site where their customers fill them. “We often talk about how we can help build our customers businesses and brands, and that we're willing to invest in our customers to bring them more value and to make that happen,” Keese pointed out.
Seven guiding principles articulate the company’s cultural aspirations on both an organizational and individual level. They unify integrity and compliance, value creation, entrepreneurial spirit, and customer centricity with humility, dignity, and respect, and the pursuit of fulfillment in work.
The 60 facility-strong network depends on the highest level of operational excellence to succeed. “The biggest strategic initiative around managing the complexity of the network is our Consolidated Production System, which is a methodology providing good manufacturing practices throughout facilities with standard practices,” Keese said.
“The effective application of our guiding principles is what we're looking for. That's how you demonstrate that you're consistent with the principles. That's the overarching activity going on within our organization, which helps unify this disparate network. We have locations with seven employees and we have locations with 150 employees. It's the guiding principles, the consistent application of that culture, and the fact that we continue to talk about how we can more effectively apply these principles. That's the unifying structure that helps hold this thing together.”
CCC is a leading supplier of rigid plastic packaging solutions to national, regional and local customers across North America. As one of the largest blow molding companies with diverse technology platforms and broad geographic coverage, CCC can deliver reliable and cost-effective packaging solutions to meet the needs of a wide range of customers and markets.
Consolidated Container Company is also "home" to more than 2,400 team members in 60 locations. CCC’s family is committed to your family, providing top quality plastic packaging that you can trust and depend on every day. Whether it's your milk, laundry detergent or juice containers, maple syrup, ketchup or water bottles, CCC’s packaging success comes from teamwork and taking pride in what they do. CCC's commitment to excellence extends from their family of employees to their valued clients and is the reason why leading companies around the country have confidence in their innovation, and unsurpassed quality and service.
Consolidated Container Company
2500 Windy Ridge Parkway, SE
Atlanta, GA 30339