Quietly, but certainly not without notice, Exopack is picking up momentum. Already one of the country's ten largest converters, the company recently named a new president and CEO, and has its sights set on nothing less than being the best. As it moves forward, one of the company's priorities is to have its customers think of the company as a partner because that's the way it sees its customers, as partners.
"Our best customers, or partners, are those who recognize that price isn't everything," explains Dave Abbott, chairman of the board and a director on Exopack's board since the business was formed as an independent company in 2001. "Sure, price is important, and we certainly aim to be competitive, but we see a lot of packaging buyers being 'penny wise and pound foolish' when they perceive what they are buying as a commodity. Our target customers are those that value the extra services we provide, such as graphic arts, inventory management, and product development support and collaboration. Our strategy is simple: we want to make ourselves indispensable to our customers."
The best way to be indispensable to one's customers and partners is to be at the forefront of innovation. Abbott says that Exopack's customers generally compete in highly competitive environments and are therefore always looking for ways to differentiate their product. He contends that one of the most visible ways is to upgrade their packaging, either with attention-grabbing graphics, or convenience features such as easy-open package designs, slider-zippers or tamper evident seals.
"Our customers look to us to help keep them ahead of their competition, and we often partner with our customers to develop a new package that meets their specific requirements. It's my belief that much of our future innovation will come from joint efforts between Exopack and our customers. Some would call this customer driven innovation. We think of it as "partnering" with our customers in a way that allows them to capture more value from the markets they serve. It's win-win …