The Multiple Benefits of Building a Single Long-Term Packaging Relationship
Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000. However, in 2012, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, making it one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Loud Labs LLC, a relatively new cannabis oil and cartridge provider, initially contracted a ‘middleman group’ to coordinate the packaging of their first product – a blister pack. Their original thinking was that the ‘middleman’ would serve as a production consultant and communication conduit. However, the design and production process turned out to be unsatisfactory in cost control, unmet deadlines and color quality. Ironically, communication was made more difficult because information had to flow through the ‘middleman.’
The CEO, Jake Berry, then called other packaging vendors for quotes, samples and to get a feel for which vendor would be the right partner for them. He wanted a company that could keep pace with their growth in a dynamic industry. As the product line expanded, the vendor must have broad packaging capabilities in both thermoformed plastic and paperboard to accommodate their changing needs. Moreover, he was also concerned about unanticipated fluctuating inventory levels. They needed a vendor who could expedite 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 Loud Labs LLC 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. By meeting directly with the Rohrer sales and design team, Loud Labs LLC could realize cost and time savings from day one. Rohrer not only designed a universal blister pack that met their criteria, but the improved design cut down on machine changeovers. This meant that the company could package all products on the same platform – translating into multiple benefits of increased productivity, flexible packaging options and faster shipping. A definite competitive edge in this highly competitive market. To date, the cannabis company is seeing a 30% boost in efficiency, due to the universal design eliminating the machine changeover.
The next project provided a first-ever challenge for the Rohrer design team – a universal triangular shaped box. In addition, Rohrer was tasked with creating two custom inserts for different shaped containers filled with the cannabis oil: 1.) a short round jar and 2.) a pen-like syringe.
The differing dimensions of the containers mandated custom inserts for both product presentation and stabilization. A short time later, Rohrer came back with their initial designs and quotes. The two custom inserts incurred additional tooling costs that went over the proposed budget. A conference call to collaborate on a solution was set up between the Rohrer team and the CEO; design a universal insert that would accommodate both oil containers. This swift solution was possible because all stakeholders were able to share their recommendations in an open forum of trust and respect.
And that foundation of trust and collaboration grew stronger as the project progressed. Because the CEO was Rohrer’s point of contact and chief decision-maker throughout the design stage, approvals could be made without delay. For example, the unique triangular shape of the box presented a problem for folding flat – a design challenge that was caught before production started. In fact, it was Jake Berry the CEO himself who suggested incorporating a hidden score line for easy folding. This helped to avoid costly time and production headaches down the road.
When you consider eighty-two percent of customers leave a company due to poor customer service, the value of a long-term vendor relationship cannot be underestimated. And this start-up would most certainly agree. In retrospect, the stage was being set for a long and successful run between Rohrer and the new company. Trust and open communication created the platform for collaboration with all stakeholders where efficiencies and innovations could be explored and executed. Cost and time savings, best practices and innovative solutions were passed along from project-to-project. Rohrer’s large and robust production capabilities could provide fast turnarounds when needed. The CEO gained new knowledge of the packaging industry and could communicate his ideas with greater clarity and production savvy.