by Nancy Colbert MacDougall
KENOSHA, Wis. – When our Leadership Team met for a planning session in early 2020, we did not anticipate we would soon be filling orders for cartons designed to hold test kits for a virus that would change our lives, and the world, so dramatically. Who could have imagined we would soon be developing strategies to navigate our way through an entire year of unforeseen challenges. We are extraordinarily grateful to our employees and suppliers; hard-working, dedicated individuals who have successfully come together, worked diligently, and put extra effort into their work each day to maintain productivity, keep jobs intact, and to ensure quality products continued to be dependably delivered to our customers.
When the pandemic arose last March, Colbert was already midway through the merger of our Lake Forest manufacturing operation into our Elkhart, Indiana, and Kenosha, Wisconsin production facilities. In the midst of hauling equipment and transitioning operations, demand for COVID-19 test kit packaging emerged, and accelerated rapidly. Our Operations teams responded admirably by effectively scheduling, securing supplies and ramping up staffing in order to manage work in progress, standing orders, and escalating new orders for our pharmaceutical and consumer goods customers.
Employees successfully adapted to new work policies, wearing masks, socially distancing and implementing extensive cleaning procedures. Because we serve pharma and consumer goods customers, Colbert Packaging has always complied with FDA regulations within our production facilities; but we’ve never stopped at minimum requirements when it comes to the health and safety of our employees. In December, we installed AIRPHX® systems in our facilities in order to provide our employees with cleaner, safer air.
Colbert Packaging has a deep commitment to sustainability, supporting renewable energy through our investment in Wind RECs, and engaging in an ongoing effort toward Zero Manufacturing Waste to Landfill. We are again looking forward to participating in the TICCIT program (ticcit.info) with local schools, a community outreach program designed to educate students about the life cycle of trees and forestry. And we are very proud of our many dedicated employees who have stepped up their volunteer hours in 2020 and 2021 to help those in need by sewing masks, working in food pantries and supporting local fundraisers during this unprecedented time.
We’re equipping our workforce with the best tools to produce exceptional, custom paperboard packaging, inserts and labels by continually investing in machinery and technology. During 2020, we added a new printing press, a folder that gives us expanded booklet capability, and additional inline vision technology to augment our quality processes. Additional investments in equipment and technology are planned for 2021 to provide our customers access to a wide array of packaging solutions from a single source.
A large printing press can be im-press-ive, if you’ll pardon the pun, but technology is equally important. In 2020, our IT team never lost its stride, virtually transitioning Colbert’s office staff to home-based workflow practically overnight. Tasked with enhancing IT infrastructure, cloud-based collaboration tools and implementation of heightened security solutions, our processes and data storage remained intact, emerging from 2020 with enhanced security measures for up- and down-stream protection.
Although we missed PackEXPO, our large tradeshow for 2020, our Sales and Marketing teams have maintained contact with long-standing and new customers through webinars, online meetings, and letters like this to extend virtual handshakes throughout the marketplace.
2021 Outlook: Safe. Smart. Sustainable.
As we focus on 2021 and beyond, we are thankful to our employees for their dedication, and for producing safe, smart and sustainable products. We also thank our pharmaceutical and consumer goods customers, who require safe, 100% defect-free, quality-ensured packaging. Colbert is also fully equipped to satisfy demand for smart packaging — from child-resistant and senior-friendly designs, to anti-counterfeit inks and security features. Finally, we look forward to sharing our commitment to sustainability in support of customer initiatives and across the supply chain, where we collaborate to deliver new ideas for the best possible paperboard packaging solutions. For more information about Colbert Packaging, visit our website.
Founded in 1959, Colbert Packaging Corporation has grown its repertoire of paperboard packaging solutions into one of the most comprehensive diverse and inventive portfolios in the industry, serving pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer goods customers. Colbert’s Kenosha, Wisconsin facility produces offset and flexographic printed folding cartons, pressure-sensitive roll labels and package inserts; the Elkhart, Indiana operation includes folding carton production and paper tray forming. Learn more at www.colbertpkg.com.