Pregis LLC is adding a new protective packaging "innovation headquarters" near Chicago.
The 50,000-square-foot facility in Aurora, Ill., is called Pregis IQ and will provide design and testing services to help customers select the correct protective packaging for their products, the company said.
"We will be using creative packaging design, material science, sustainability and automation services at Pregis IQ to help customers solve specific packaging challenges," Chief Innovation Officer Tom Wetsch said in a statement.
Pregis IQ, the company said, "is particularly important to support e-commerce growth."
This market is creating the need for additional packaging solutions as more and more items are being shipped directly to customers. Other current electronic commerce factors impacting packaging include labor, seasonality, shipping constraints and increasing costs, Pregis said.
Finding the right solution will help drive customer loyalty, the company said.
But Pregis will not limit itself to e-commerce business at the new location as the company will provide help with other distribution and retail channels. The company will also provide both plastic- and paper-based solutions as Pregis calls itself a material-neutral supplier.
Engineers at the new location will consider a variety of areas when consulting with customers for their protective packaging needs, the company said. Those include design, material selection, automation, training and development and testing.
Pregis found a recently constructed location to create the new center in Aurora, Wetsch said in an email interview.
"Aurora is a great location for multiple reasons. The facility can be easily accessed from O'Hare, is a few minutes from an expressway, has several budget-friendly hotels in the area and enables us to draw new talent from the greater Chicago area," he said via email.
The location is also near a Pregis protective films manufacturing site.
"That makes it efficient for customers to gain consultative insights for a variety of protective packaging solutions within a 2-mile radius," Wetsch said through email. "In addition to product selection, design and testing, the IQ is home to a world-class training center that allows us to educate customers on market trends, best practices and hands-on operation.
"We even have an area dedicated to the 'new retail' environment — an customer experience area for unboxing to help customers understand the meaningful impact of packaging in a world now dominated by online orders and home delivery," he said in his email.
Areas such as performance, yield and sustainability will be evaluated when designing packaging concepts, the company said. Pregis IQ will use iterative design, where a project is improved upon through a repetitive process, and prototyping at the new facility.
Pregis is based in Deerfield, Ill., about 50 miles from the new Pregis IQ site. Both locations are in the Chicago area.