Plastic Ingenuity delivers custom solutions for sustainable food & healthcare packaging
It takes ingenuity to ensure that life-preserving vaccines and life-sustaining food remain fresh and ready for consumption during their transportation over extended distances. More specifically, it requires Plastic Ingenuity. North America’s largest custom thermoformer celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year, and it’s just as innovative now as it was at the beginning. Specializing in food, healthcare, and consumer goods packaging, Plastic Ingenuity custom designs each package for a specific use.
“All of our products are custom-designed for a specific use case, so we do not offer a stock catalog of products to our customers,” chief revenue officer Sakif Ferdous told BOSS. “We work with our customers to understand their needs and go through multiple rounds of designs and prototypes to create the perfect package.”
That individual attention is just one feature that sets Plastic Ingenuity apart.
Ferdous describes a level of interaction and transparency with customers that he’s never seen in his career. It effectively makes Plastic Ingenuity an extension of the customer’s team, with PI engineers working on projects that might not go on the market for many years. That close relationship provides customers with performance expectations and cost estimates years in advance of a product launch. Should any regulatory hurdles arise with a given design or material, Plastic Ingenuity reacts quickly to redesign, test, and validate - helping customers make a seamless switch.
“Anticipating our customers’ needs is part of our mission statement,” he said.
When the time comes to launch a new product, PI sends a full team to a customer’s location to make sure everything is working as intended.
“We want to ensure that there are no hiccups. We take every precaution we can think of before a new product launch. This can be a stressful time for our customers, so understanding and eliminating any stumbling blocks is embedded in our process. That collaboration is vital.”
It’s that collaboration that helps customers define and achieve their sustainable packaging goals. PI’s Thermoform Circularity Report contains across-the-board insights from stakeholders with diverse sustainability and packaging expertise to help companies transition to a circular economy.
With nearly 900 employees at seven plants in North America (five in the U.S., two in Mexico), Plastic Ingenuity has been able to post some of its highest-ever on-time delivery metrics amid the massive supply chain disruptions of the last few years. Some customers with global supply chains looked to PI to quickly deliver essential parts they couldn’t get from overseas. It also helped the company play an important role in distributing COVID vaccines.
“What many people don't realize is, vaccine development is only part of the solution,” Ferdous said. “You still have to figure out how to rapidly scale production and distribute. Our packaging helped make that happen.”
That rapid turnaround has sparked a lot of innovation in healthcare packaging in a short time, and Plastic Ingenuity is at the forefront.
It helps that PI has control over vital parts of its operations, from extruding its own resin to building its own tools and customizing its equipment and processes, down to even the source code for the thermoforming machines.
“Custom software plays a very important part in running our day-to-day operations. Many of our software solutions - from our ERP to our work order system, to our dynamic pricing software -- are built in-house to meet our very specific needs. They help us to be nimble and deliver great product,” he said.
Plastic Ingenuity is just as employee-centric as it is dedicated to its customers. To prove it, Ferdous cited that 42% of the company’s net profits have been returned to its employees under management’s discretion, every year. “PI team members have a stakeholder mindset, and part of that is due to the profit-sharing that has been in place since the beginning. Our people are our biggest competitive advantage,” he said.
Employees can also submit suggestions via an in-house portal called “My Opinion,” and many are integrated into operations in the spirit of continuous improvement.
“They can either submit publicly or confidentially and each and every one of those are responded to, often by our CEO himself,” Ferdous said. “That’s a big piece of what makes this company tick; everyone’s ideas are seriously considered and often implemented. That does wonders for continuous improvement.”
With seven strategic locations, Plastic Ingenuity is the largest custom thermoformer in North America. Our experience, global reach, and genuine dedication to our customers allow us to bring your packaging vision to life, scale your product, and create a partnership that lasts beyond your product’s life cycle.
1017 Park Street, Cross Plains, WI 53528
Phone Number: (608) 798-3071
Fax Number: (608) 798-4452
Homepage Link: https://www.plasticingenuity.com/