Why Speed Dating with Vendors Can be a Risky Business

Background: Getting Lured by Fast Promises

Today the saying, “Everything old is new again,” could apply to long-term vendor relationships. The gold standard for building sustained success had fallen out of favor. Eager new start-ups, with little or no experience in packaging their products were lured by short-term discounts and promises of fast turnarounds. Older companies with ‘here today – gone today’ management meant a revolving door of vendor selection guidelines and preferences. The bottom line for both? They shared the same goals. While looking for decreased costs, production efficiencies and top-quality packaging – they got the exact opposite.

That trend, like speed dating, may be seeing its ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ fading fast. Finding and fostering a lasting relationship takes time. So switching vendors, like romantic partners, without considering the best options has proven to be a risky venture. While untried businesses may offer promotions to attract new accounts, these often expire. Customers are often left with shoddy quality and poor experiences, resulting in wasted time and money in efforts to right them. The initial time and cost savings promised so easily up front – have now jeopardized time-to-market deadlines. And for start-ups – that translates into a make it or break it deadline.

With lessons learned the hard way, young gun start-ups and mature companies alike – are now looking for the ideal relationship – a lasting packaging partner.

And this time they are attracted to vendors who have built a reputation of long-term customer relationships, built on trust, collaboration and open communication.

Situation: Looking for Success in All the Wrong PlacesPyramid Paperboard Packaging

In 2012, Colorado became one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Speed to store shelves meant success or failure for cannabis companies. Loud Labs LLC, a relatively new cannabis oil and cartridge provider, was no different. They initially contracted a ‘middleman group’ to expedite the packaging of their first product – a blister pack. They thought the ‘middleman’ would help streamline production and communication. The opposite turned out to be true as missed deadlines, quality issues and increased costs mounted daily. Ironically, communication was made more difficult because information had to flow through the ‘middleman.’

Solution: Breaking Up is Easier Than You Think

Jake Berry needed to make a change…and fast. He called other packaging vendors for quotes, samples and to get a vibe for which vendor would be the right partner. He needed a company that could keep pace with their growth in an explosive industry. As the product line grew, the vendor must have broad packaging capabilities in both thermoformed plastic and paperboard. As the CEO of a new company, he was also concerned about abrupt changes in inventory levels. They needed a vendor who could fast track production when a demand spike depleted stock. By the time Jake called Rohrer, he had contacted several leading packaging companies. While many could meet most of his criteria, none of them could fulfill all of his needs. And then he called Rohrer. One phone call and a mailing of representative samples later – sealed the deal. Rohrer became the new vendor for Loud Labs LLC, one that has developed into a long-term partnership.

At first, Rohrer helped with lead times and quotes. The next project was to take their old cartridge blister pack and reconfigure it into a universal design – one that could fit existing and future products. And no middleman allowed! Rohrer sales and design team met directly with the company to strategize cost and time savings from the start. For example, Rohrer not only designed a universal blister pack that met their criteria, they went one better. The improved design cut down on machine changeovers, meaning that the company could package all products on the same platform. This translated into multiple benefits of amped-up productivity, flexible options and faster shipping. A definite competitive edge in this cutthroat market. To date, the cannabis company is enjoying a 30% boost in efficiency, thanks to the eliminated machine changeover.

The Triangle Challenge

Then came a first-ever challenge for the Rohrer team – design a universal triangular shaped box. And wait…there’s more. Create two custom inserts for different shaped containers filled with the cannabis oil: 1.) a short round jar and 2.) a pen-like syringe.

A short time later, Rohrer came back with their initial designs and quotes. However, as with many custom inserts, additional tooling costs forced an over budget situation. The Rohrer team jumped on the phone with the CEO and collaborated on a solution; design a universal insert that would fit both oil containers. This quick fix was possible because everyone’s ideas were considered and respected.

And that spirit of collaboration grew stronger throughout the project. Because the CEO was the chief decision-maker throughout the design stage, swift approvals were the norm. For example, the unique triangular shape of the box presented a problem – how do you fold it flat?  This design challenge was spotted before production started. It was the CEO himself that came up with a great idea. Why not incorporate a hidden score line for easy folding? It worked – avoiding costly time and production headaches down the road.

Paperboard Folding Cartons

“I’m amazed how I can come to Rohrer with a single package idea, and they present multiple, winning design ideas.” Jake Berry, CEO, Loud Labs LLC

The Legacy of Success

A whopping 82% of customers leave a company due to poor customer service. With that kind of ‘business fact of life’ data, the value of a long-term vendor is well…invaluable. And this start-up cannabis company would most certainly agree. Looking back, the stage was being set for a long and successful marriage between Rohrer and the new company. Trust and open communication led to collaboration, which further led to uncovering efficiencies and innovations. Cost and time savings, best practices and new solutions were passed along from project-to-project. Rohrer’s large and robust production capabilities could provide fast turnarounds in a pinch. And the CEO gained new production savvy – giving him the power to more clearly express his ideas and business needs.

Leading Manufacturers Choose Rohrer

Rohrer believes perfect partners create the perfect package. We are headquartered in Ohio, with locations throughout North America. We are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, and our printing facility is G7 Master Printer Qualified and an authorized printer for UL Certification Marks.

To learn more about Pyramid Pen’s packaging, check out this feature from Packaging World

Looking to find the right partner to create your perfect package? Click the contact us button below to get started on your next project.


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