This rigid packaging industry leader shows how growth through acquisition and organic growth can coexist.
Chances are you’ve come across TricorBraun products many times throughout your life. From wine bottles and sprayers to all kinds of glass and plastic bottles and jars, TricorBraun is a leader in rigid packaging and related services.
The company has humble beginnings that can be traced back to turn-of-the-century St. Louis and the company’s original purpose: collecting used bottles and selling them back to filling companies. This early start evolved into a role as a seller for the manufacturer to small and mid-sized companies.
In the mid-90s, the third generation of leadership brought on private equity to found the modern era of the organization. This investment decision provided the capital to start industry consolidation and fund a handful of poignant acquisitions, an important ingredient in TricorBraun’s growth.
Today, the company continues to evolve its capabilities and now offers a full suite of services to its customers including design, engineering, and establishing supply chains in over 40 locations worldwide. These early decisions set the foundation for the company’s modern-day successes.
“We don’t just sell packaging, we provide value to both our clients and the end user,” shared Mark O’Bryan, Chief Operations Officer at TricorBraun. “How we bring that value in the future will continue to depend on our willingness to grow—both organically and through acquisitions—and our commitment to supply chain integration best practices.”
By catering to its customers needs and wants in unique ways, maintaining strong supplier relationships, and by focusing on incorporating new acquisitions into its business plan, TricorBraun is on a continuing path of best in class operation.
Catering to the Customer
Every company’s goal is to make a sale, but don’t call TricorBraun’s employees “sales people”. These “packaging consultants” are knowledgeable beyond the capabilities of a normal sales representative in their field.
O’Bryan shared that TricorBraun has expertise in what’s selling in the marketplaces, how to get their customers’ products to the market faster, manufacturing locations for products they need to be manufactured and filled, as well as the various add-on services the client could include.
“There are a lot of details involved when bringing a package from concept to a store shelf, and it starts with us,” he said. “When our team members sit in front of the customer, they aren’t just salespeople, they are consultants.”
TricorBraun and its packaging consultants provide a myriad of solutions to customers, and continue to innovate as new businesses introduce new requests and problems. Packaging consultants are armed with the hardware—their own portable device—and the software—an iSales toolkit—to guide customers through the right conversations and to the right decisions for their businesses.
“These tools provide market and creative insight and consumer research to our packaging consultants. Our team knows every manufacturer necessary for getting the job done,” O’Bryan continued, “from blow molding and injection molding, to glass manufacturing, to manufacturing options overseas.”
Finding the right individuals to take on these challenges is no easy feat. TricorBraun employs a dedicated recruiter who is constantly looking for the best talent in the marketplace. The company’s goal is not to just hire someone out of school to step right into the role; rather, TricorBraun is focused on bringing in someone who already has excellent sales skills, a manufacturing background of some sort, and has broad capabilities across the sales spectrum.
“To be a member of the TricorBraun team, you have to be hungry, have to want to take on the challenge, and, above all, be committed to finding the customer the right solution,” shared O’Bryan.
Having the top industry knowledge isn’t the only way TricorBraun engenders its work to clients: it provides a service most companies dislike doing.
Supply chains can be incredibly complex, particularly for organizations that sell products that require several different materials or specialized parts. Creating a robust supply chain is critical, which is why TricorBraun provides such a service.
This is a highly individualized endeavor, especially with direct delivery or warehousing models to consider and international or domestic delivery to consider. With TricorBraun’s industry connections and partnerships however, setting a supply chain foundation for a client can be accomplished with ease.
Part of the reason TricorBraun can establish client supply chains with little fuss is because of the strong relationships the company maintains with its large network of suppliers. The TricorBraun team is knowledgeable about the partnerships the company cultivates.
The company also employs a supply chain team specifically dedicated to working with the supply base. This group of workers puts programs in place that the sales teams can use to increase understanding of the nature of the partnerships TricorBraun employs with suppliers.
This centralized group within the organization keeps partnerships balanced, and also organizes meetings every couple of years between the supplier base and packaging consultants at TricorBraun to increase understanding, promote relationships, and to learn the new trends of the industry.
“We organize meetings with the largest suppliers across the sales team and the supply chain team to make sure everyone is on the same page with the direction we’re taking the relationship,” said O’Bryan. “And every two years, we invite all of our suppliers to our annual sales meeting to showcase their latest capabilities.
“All of our packaging consultants are required to attend, to glean the information and continue to improve the strong relationships already in place.”
Acquisitions are a key strategy for TricorBraun: since the addition of private equity to the organization in the 90s, 14 acquisitions have been completed and the new companies successfully integrated into the business.
Recently, TricorBraun acquired The Packing Design Group. The business has a broad array of capabilities in the closure side of packaging, a market in which TricorBraun is rapidly expanding.
“This new strategic relationship brought two things to our business: it brought in another round of innovative products for our packaging consultants to show our customers, and it also brought more strong relationships with innovative manufacturers,” shared O’Bryan. “The acquisition was definitely a win/win for us.”
And while acquisitions have been a major avenue for growth, the company is also focusing on organic growth as well. TricorBraun’s SEED Initiative was introduced in 2013 to refocus growth efforts.
SEED stands for strengthen, enable, expand and diversity. It has become a mantra for the company as it pursues organic growth. In response to this initiative gaining growth, internal investments were made, including the implementation of a new new ERP system. Sales and operations teams in the field were reorganized to free up packaging consultants to focus more on sales.
These are just a few of the many changes introduced through the SEED Initiative. TricorBraun’s focus on growth—both organic and through acquisition—is about creating new opportunities for the company to sell against, but more important, more options and solutions for customers.
“There are always opportunities out there: it’s about pursuing the right one at the right time,” O’Bryan said. “Acqusitions are just as important at organic growth, and we’re always looking for ways to expand our services, our offerings, and our team.
“The best way to grow has always been through creating meaningful partnerships. From our CEO down through the rest of the organization, we all go forward looking to build those relationships.”
When you work with TricorBraun, you have access to world-class resources throughout all aspects of the packaging development process. Our expertise includes everything from consumer and industry research to project management, design, engineering, domestic and global sourcing, supply chain management and logistics.
Our people are dedicated, experienced, empowered and have an entrepreneurial spirit that results in the creation of packaging that makes a difference. Our company lives and works by a set of core values which are at the root of our success, guiding and helping us deliver on our promises to customers, suppliers and coworkers.