Kendall Packaging Corp. is spending millions on a capacity expansion in Pittsburg, Kan., that will provide equipment and space to help the flexible packaging company continue to grow, according to the company's leader.
“We have been growing over the course of the last five years at a double-digit pace. That has necessitated expanding the plant,” CEO Eric Erickson III said.
This $10 million to $12 million project comes following a 2013 move to expand the company's Jefferson, Wis., site.
Plans are to add about 65,000 square feet of space to the existing 40,000-square-foot building in Kansas.
“That will include offices, updating our lab and technical facilities as well as warehouse and manufacturing space,” Erickson said. “We will be putting in new press, new coater-laminator and new slitting assets as well as enhancing some other aspects of the business, whether it be the ink room or the maintenance area.”
The Kansas expansion, just like the previous work in Wisconsin, will provide room for the immediate placement of additional equipment as well as room for future machinery, the CEO said.
Kendall Packaging, which dates back to 1948 and has been owned by the Erickson family since 1970, expects to add about 15 jobs to the current 55 workers in Pittsburg once the expansion is compete.
Plant Manager Jack Trostle will be happy for the extra space.
“We really need this expansion,” he said in a statement. “Right now, we are maxed out as far as what we can do. ... Expanding is the only logical conclusion as we look at the potential for the current manufacturing platform.”
Kendall Packaging creates packaging for what the company calls a broad cross-section of mostly private label companies in both food and non-food applications.
“One of the things that is important for us is we're not growing for the sake of growing. We're growing because our customers have favored us with the business. And we see a very significant demand for the way we go into the market, that customer centricity,” Erickson said.
“We look for companies that participate in the private label arena, specifically, a little bit of branded business. But we look for folks who have multiple SKUs, private label, high graphic content, require barrier for the film and packaging. ... And we play with the tier two players. We're not chasing the Kimberly-Clarks and the Procter & Gambles of the world, typically. We find the tier two players in those market spaces and we tailor our product and service offering around them,” he said.
A market that Kendall Packaging does not look to serve is commodity packaging, instead relying on its experience in material sciences and its equipment at what Erickson calls a “mid-tier company” in the flexible packaging universe.
“There is a need in the marketplace for a sophisticated and high quality and high performance flexible packaging company in that mid-tier arena,” he said. “We work very hard not to be on the commodity level.”
Expansion in Kansas, and earlier in Wisconsin, is part of Kendall Packaging's business approach, the CEO said.
“I guess the way I would describe it is it's been a steady growth that we have had over the years. And we have taken the earnings and the profits of the business and we have reinvested them,” he said. “It has been steady and it has been an eye on the horizon for new technology and for making sure we are providing the best products and services for our customers,” Erickson said.
“We are in it for the long haul,” he said. “Flexible packaging is good. It's dynamic. It's growing.”