Independent Can Operating SQF2 Certified Plant
Independent Can is pleased to announce that its Vandalia, Ohio facility has now been SQF2 certified by The Safe Quality Food Institute. The SQFI verifies that our systems have been properly validated and demonstrate continuous monitoring procedures. SQF is globally recognized by retailers and foodservice providers. SQF benefits extend to our customers that are pursuing their own certification.
Level 2 SQF Certification, known as the “Certified HACCP-Based Food Safety Plan”, incorporates all of the Level 1 requirements, including Good Manufacturing and Distribution Practices as well as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points risk assessment and implementation. SQF Certification is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). It guarantees a higher level of trust and acceptance in our global marketplace.
In 2018, Independent Can is pursuing SQF2 Certification for all facilities in which food-contact packaging is manufactured. That will be followed by our Conneaut facility in early 2019. For decades, Independent Can, through its own best practices, has met the high standards for food-contact packaging including food-safe materials, inks and coatings, as well as safe handling practices. This Certification will provide us with additional documentation of our efforts for the assurance of our customers.
Plastic Pollution is a Global Problem – Think Tin!
Plastic Last Forever – Tin Recycles Infinitely
The image above is not all that uncommon – plastic pollution. As a matter of fact, there is an island of floating plastic named Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) that is approximately 600,000 square miles according to a recent study. It is 3 times the size of the State of Texas. Read more
Plastic, if recyclable at all, is down-cycled, with its second life being the last before the landfill. Every piece of plastic that has ever been made is still here in some form or another. Although the plastic industry is working hard on bio-plastics and bio-polymers, they cannot be combined with curb-side recycling and they contaminate the existing plastic recycling stream. There are not enough commercial facilities nor is there consumer education. While everyone is familiar with #1, #2 and #5, what do you do with a #7? Plastic can only broadly claim an extended life cycle and reduction in fossil fuels due to their light weight.
Steel, on the other hand, can be recycled, time and time again, to make new steel for reuse without loss of quality. Steel is also biodegradable. It separates from the waste stream by a magnet. Cans made from steel never have to end up in the ocean or landfill.
There is more to the sustainability story of the steel can. It extends our food harvest time and keeps food fresh and free of contaminants for a year without refrigeration. Canned food, coffee, nuts and other items are packed at the peak of freshness so they also is packed at their nutrient peaks. Making food portable and in a container that is heat and fracture resistant has helped to feed people throughout the world! Choose tin!
Nostalgic Tin Cans
Everything Old is New Again
So many new package designs are reaching back to previous eras to create a nostalgic or vintage look. Real vintage tins can bring a hefty price but people and businesses love them for their homes and establishments. Collectible package with a nostalgic image is appealing to all ages. Our CEO likes to call this trend “contemporary nostalgia”.
Recently, Virginia Diner teamed up with Curtis Publishing and offered their peanuts in a tin decorated with Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post artwork, featuring among others Rockwell’s famous “Runaway” and “Soda Jerk” images. In 2017, The Virginia Diner partnered with the Norman Rockwell Family Agency in honoring our American heroes. They sponsored Fisher House Foundation and donated 10% of the sales of their Americana Snack Mix.
Watch how it call comes together at the Virginia Diner. The peanuts are baked fresh right in the restaurant!
The Importance of Digital Printing in Package Design Testing
Often, a brand will introduce a new package design and their sales will increase. The redesign makes they product look as if it has improved or is more attention-getting. There are also times when a package design can alienate a loyal customer because the brand identity has become synonymous with the product. How can companies avoid the risks without missing opportunities to increase sales? Digital printing is the answer.
Online marketers need to select the right key words in order to rank in digital advertising. Using a number of different key words and text ads to see which perform better, is key to spending your budget efficiently while learning of the best way to get your customer’s attention. If buyers had the opportunity to introduce several new package designs into the marketplace at the same time, it would be easier to gauge customer impact. Digital printing allows for smaller minimums and speed to market. If an item is taking off, reruns can be done quickly while the decision to introduce the new packaging on a larger scale is in the works.
Brand Packaging Magazine recently wrote about this topic. “A product packaging is essentially the “face” of the product, it’s critical to test the packaging with consumers before the product launch to ensure it fits with their needs and aspirations.” Read the full article.
A limited edition would also be a great test, while at the same time, a promotional opportunity. Hoopers Island Oyster Company used a digitally printed decorative pail as a Limited Edition Heritage Tin to promote their delectable oysters. Ask your sales representative about our new digital capabilities.
What’s New at Independent Can – Fall 2017
2017 is flying by. As we enter September we are now in the busiest time of the year for decorative tins both promotional and gift and I can assure you that we have been preparing for this busy season since January of this year.
What’s going on?
- Decorative tins: This is a very seasonal business.
- Lithography is working very long hours to make sure that we are able to meet the expectations of our customers.
- 3 of our manufacturing plants produce decorative tins (Belcamp, MD, Vandalia, OH and Ft Madison, IA) and they are all working long hours and weekends to fulfill the orders that are on the books
- It appears that the retail markets are working later this year then we have experienced in the past consequently we are required to produce orders with shorter lead times.
- The good news is that we have added more lines in all 3 plants for flexibility and on two lines; we have doubled our through put (units per hour). These investments are a direct result of the acquisition of the Ball Corp plant in Baltimore, MD.
- Industrial tins: This is a very level business throughout the year.
- 2017 has been a good year as the economy has been strong and the products that we supply to these markets are absolutely tied to how strong business is in America, Canada and Mexico.
- The acquisition of the Ball Corp Plant in Baltimore has also added significant capacity and new capabilities for our open top Hermetic tins.
- 2 Piece Drawn tins: This is very level business throughout the year.
- This has been an outstanding year for 2 piece seamless tins. Combining the capabilities in our “new” Baltimore and our Belcamp plants has permitted significant efficiency and growth opportunities.
The biggest challenge today:
As we all have heard on the news and read in the papers manufacturing is coming back strong in the United States. Manufacturing in the USA can be competitive globally:
- Quality: Through our Quality Assurance program we are working through Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), documentation and specification design to provide the finest cans available globally.
- Environmentally responsible: The tins we make are all made with first class steel which is infinitely recyclable.
- Safe Food Quality (SQF): We are committed to achieving the SQF II certification in all of our plants that produce tins for food. Vandalia, OH will be first and then Belcamp, MD.
- Training: The Manufacturing sector in the USA is so strong that finding good mechanics, electricians, machinists ETC. is a real struggle. We are working on training for nearly every skilled position to develop the next generation of can makers.
- Real time electronic systems: In my What’s New posted in May 2017, I mentioned that we are installing a computer system that will ultimately provide real time data from order entry through accounts payable. The update is as follows:
- We have now installed the system in two manufacturing plants with a 3rd going live November 1, 2017.
- The entire system will be fully installed by May 2018.
- With the complexity of business today and the need for real time information we believe this is an investment that will allow our customers the transparency and flow of information required: Bar coding, bin locations, inventory release at the dock when shipped, traceability, etc.I want to thank all of our customers for their loyalty and support as without customers we do not have a business. We now have nearly 400 employees that are fully committed to manufacturing the finest specialty can made in the world.As the President and CEO of our family business I would like to say we are perfect in everything we do although this would not be true. I can say we are working very hard to professionalize all aspects of the company and are installing the skills training and automated systems to provide the resources and data we need to meet and or exceed our customer’s expectations. We are a sales and customer driven company- who happens to be a manufacturer.
Thank you again for your support.
President and CEO