Metsä Board US

Lighter weight paperboards are changing the game in the US

​Superb customer service and a superior product are gaining Metsä Board a strong foothold in the US market. Customers in the US embrace better, lighter and faster solutions.

6/2018 TEXT: IAN FENTON, IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK, CURTIS PACKAGING

Metsä Board is currently making waves in the United States with a superior product, an extremely well managed supply chain, and excellent customer service.

“The United States market has traditionally used SBS and recycled board grades,” says Mark Beamesderfer, Packaging Services Director at Metsä Board Americas Corporation. “The USA has no domestic folding boxboard mills, so packaging standards have been built and communicated around SBS and recycled grades.”

But the game is now changing – by understanding actual stiffness requirements that ensure the required structural integrity of the package, Metsä Board’s folding boxboard can provide US customers with a package of equal or superior converting, filling, and packing performance at far lower paperboard weights.

“As a market leader in Europe, our European customers have been running Metsä Board’s high-quality folding boxboard for decades,” adds Technical Service Director Heli Kuorikoski, “and typically they rely on these stiffness comparisons to specify the required board grades. For this reason, we need to spend a bit more time with familiarising our customer base in the USA as to the benefits of doing better with less. Our US customers are now learning the benefits of the combination of stiffness and bulk, and are able to see from the calculations what kind of material savings and sustainability benefits light-weighting offers for them.”

Expansive packaging services

To demonstrate the full potential of these packaging solutions, Metsä Board offers an expansive suite of services. “Our Packaging Services unit is closely integrated with our technical team,” explains Beamesderfer. “We can include a huge variety of deliverables that can assist customers in creating the best packages for their application and overall objectives".

Even if the customer is looking to simply lightweight their package and achieve better manufacturing and environmental performance, Beamesderfer and the technical team perform an analysis of the existing package and recommend the best Metsä Board alternative. Mock-ups in Metsä Board paperboard are a great way to demonstrate the rigidity of the structure, allowing for direct comparison to the existing package.

Going deeper into the service portfolio, Packaging Services can also work closely with the customer to innovate entirely new structures for existing or new products, modified packaged quantities, delivery methods such as e-commerce applications, or any other specific requirement requested by the customer.

“We can also suggest or create graphics for the packaging solution, provide presentation materials to pitch the design internally within customer organizations, and perform simple photo shoots for use in advertisements and other promotional shots."

A speedy response

Service, of course, also has a much more traditional connotational - and one which retains its value for the customer. There is no substitute for excellent, hands-on maintenance, with experts present on-site to assist with any potential challenge.

Here too, Metsä Board Americas is surpassing expectations. For a start, it’s a comprehensive approach, as Beamesderfer explains: “Our Technical Services team can provide swift, responsive on-site support and educational training for both customers and converters in all facets of package manufacturing."

By continuing to tick the boxes, long-term success in this market seems assured.

THE CUSTOMER VIEW

Curtis Packaging Corporation manufactures high-end folding cartons for the cosmetics, liquor, health and beauty, confectionaries, bio-medical, and sporting goods industries, supplying many of the most famous companies and brands in each. It is a privately held company which has been manufacturing in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in the same location since 1845.

Curtis Packaging has a great reputation within its industry for being innovative, quality driven, and strongly committed to sustainable business practices. They are constantly developing innovative products that give their customers’ packaging highly unique effects.

Curtis Packaging

In this business, consistent and high quality is a must. The company sets stringent requirements for its suppliers to help ensure superior quality at every step of the production process.

“Metsä Board offer a superior product, and significantly better service than their competitors,” enthuses Vice President of Operations Kerry C. Brown. “Their technical service team has been highly responsive in dealing with any kind of issue.”

Brown points out that quick delivery, well-managed stocking programmes, and consistent, high quality set Metsä Board apart from the competition as an excellent supplier. “In the event of a technical challenge, we’re looking for an extremely fast response,” he says, “and Metsä Board have ably demonstrated that, without a doubt.”

Titleist golf ball packaging at Curtis Packaging

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The US perspective

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