Chicago — Primex Plastics Corp. is unifying its reusable plastic shipping container and color and compounding subsidiaries under a single corporate identity in a move that the firm says will send a message to both customers and employees.
Woodruff Corp., which makes the shipping containers, is becoming Primex Design & Fabrication. And O'Neil Color & Compounding is becoming Primex Color, Compounding & Additives.
Both companies have been subsidiaries of sheet extruder Primex Plastics subsidiaries for decades, but maintained separate corporate identities facing the market.
Well, that's changing.
Doug Borgsdorf, the business unit director for both Woodruff and O'Neil, said he hopes the name changes will help elevate the subsidiaries to capture more business and recognition.
“When you looked at it, Primex is either No. 1 or No. 2 in the markets they serve. And the subsidiaries were far below being No. 1 or No. 2 in the markets. So utilizing the Primex footprint and the brand is really going to help elevate their exposure to the customer base in the marketplace,” Borgsdorf said.
“I think before, they were there, they were a great support business. But we really didn't market them the way we should have. So now we want to get them out and let people know what they can do,” he said.
Along with investing in the subsidiaries in recent years, staffs from O'Neil and Woodruff now work more closely together with their parent company, Borgsdorf said. “They are completely different companies than what they were two years ago.”
“The Primex brand is really going to elevate their exposure. We really didn't market them the way we should have,” he said.
Customers sometimes express surprise when they learn Woodruff and O'Neil are owned by Primex, which he says enjoys a strong reputation. Having a company called Woodruff in the plastics industry also lead to some confusion. “Woodruff, people would say, ‘Oh, do you do wood?” he said. “We knew that was important that we needed to make the change. And we don't think that people realized that O'Neil was part of Primex.”
Not only will the name changes help customers understand the line of offerings Primex can offer, company leaders also believe it will help break down any walls that exist in employees' minds. And that can lead to advancement opportunities throughout the companies. “It's a cultural shift,” Borgsdorf said.
“We're really wanting to take the two subs beyond where we are and we feel we can get a lot more synergies and make some pretty serious headway under the Primex brand,” Primex President Mike Cramer said. “We should have a lot more touches with the customers.”
“It's just a natural transition,” Cramer said. “It cleans up a lot of things where we can focus on what's really important as opposed to distractions.”
The name change does not become official until Jan. 1, but Richmond, Ind.-based Primex was at Pack Expo promoting the move.
“It's a great story to tell the market,” Borgsdorf said. “Primex has built such a great name.”