Packaging supplies shipped same or next day keep Rapid Packaging’s customers running smoothly.
For packaging distributor Rapid Packaging, compatibility is what it’s all about. That, and as company President and Co-owner Mike Sime said, “decades worth of focus.”
Whether selling large-scale packaging equipment or industrial and packaging supplies by the trailer, pallet, or case, the Rapid team consistently meets ambitiously tight turnaround times while routinely offering same-day or next-day delivery and service.
“We don’t just have a large inventory,” Sime explained, “we have the right inventory.” A longstanding vendor network keeps Rapid poised to meet demand.
Founded in 1976 by Minnesota businessman Dan Irmen, Rapid Packaging started as a distributor of poly bags. Over the next 12 years, the company grew into a full-line packaging supplier.
In 1988, Irmen sought to sell the company. His search for a buyer led him to Sime, then-owner of a small quantity, quick-delivery corrugated box manufacturer with an impressive same-day delivery rate of 100 percent.
The affinity between the packaging companies held growth promise, and Sime acquired Rapid Packaging later that year. Forty years later, Rapid Packaging is generating $30 million in annual revenue and boasts a 99.6 percent on-time delivery rate.
“People look to us to buy their tape, boxes, and stretch wrap because of our service and expertise,” noted co-owner Phil Milne, who bought 50 percent of the company in 2010 and shares C-suite management duties with Sime. “Our people really set us apart.”
This claim is much more than a business story trope; this year, Rapid was named one of the “100 Best Companies To Work For” by Minnesota Business Magazine. Awarded on the basis of employee surveys, respondents answer roughly 20 questions about their workplaces, management, and the positives and negatives of the companies they work for.
“Our winning formula at Rapid Packaging is our combination of passion for producing the best possible outcomes for our customers and our entire team’s commitment to excellence,” Milne added.
That winning formula is fast-tracking the company’s growth. In 2013, Rapid purchased Berg Bag, an importer and distributor of packaging supplies like flexible intermediate bulk containers, sandbags, and polypropylene woven bags. According to Sime, the acquisition helped Rapid “become better importers, build supplier relationships, and, in turn, become more cost-effective and efficient for our customers.”
Berg products are used in a host of industries, including agriculture, food, construction, retail, and transportation.
Rapid currently offers an in-stock inventory of over 18,000 products for same-day delivery. “We’ve always felt that speed matters, but reliability matters just as much,” Sime explained.
The firm’s agility is supported by scrupulous weekly metrics tracking; statistics are shared with the entire team to facilitate fast adjustments when necessary.
Somewhat surprisingly for a distributor, Rapid is ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 compliant. Sime explained the choice to go through the certification process this way: “We have a lot of manufacturers that we sell to and we want to have the same language and processes as a way to have a stronger relationship with them. It’s a unique value proposition we offer.”
Once again, a commitment to synchronicity is feeding the company’s forward thinking.
Another value-add for Rapid is the company’s willingness to deliver superior levels of customer service. On paper, Rapid’s business hours are typical. In reality, the team goes to laudable lengths to meet customer needs after hours, over holidays, and amid cold and snowy Minnesota winters.
Laura Heinen, Rapid’s Marketing Manager, tells one of many stories of team members performing “above and beyond” expectations during a winter storm to get packaging supplies where they needed to go.
“A semi-trailer leaving our loading dock had jackknifed over a snowbank blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic, including a truck who could not get into our lot for a rush pickup. With a tow truck an hour or more away, a team member took matters into his own hands.
“He loaded a forklift with the customer’s product and headed out of the dock doors, down the loading ramp for a quarte mile trek through the snow. He snuck through a narrow opening past the jackknifed trailer and was able to load the truck waiting on the other side.” Such achievements are recognized at quarterly “Above and Beyond” award presentations.
As Rapid sets its sights on another 40 years of service and success, their commitment to synchronicity isn’t about to waver. With that being said, “we never get complacent,” Milne stated. “We’re never finished because business doesn’t have a finish line. Every year we set goals, see that they can be achieved, and then set more.”
“You’re either growing or dying,” Sime concurred. “Each layer of success requires an evolution of the business. The best way to grow is to get stronger every year.”
Over the years, Rapid Packaging has grown its product offerings to include a comprehensive line of packaging supplies and materials, end-of-line automated packaging equipment, and a team of equipment specialists to provide turnkey integrated system solutions and service. In recent years, the implementation of a strategic planning processes has skyrocketed Rapid’s success and has doubled its annual sales over the past four years.
2016 marks the 40th anniversary for Rapid Packaging. To celebrate, for the 100 Best Companies to work for in Minnesota. Today, Rapid Packaging is the Midwest’s preferred resource for packaging materials and end-of-line equipment automation designed to increase throughput and maximize profitability. Rapid partners with the world’s premier manufacturers to be the leading low-cost supplier while delivering the highest level of service. The company’s packaging specialists are dedicated to improving your process inefficiencies so you can gain maximum return on your investment and be well-informed and educated throughout the process.