Canadian Packaging

Let’s Get Busy!—October 2017, Canadian Packaging

Veritiv’s new Canadian headquarters hits the market running with expansive product offering and superior customer service excellence


October 19, 2017
by George Guidoni, Editor; Photos by Naomi Hiltz

As regional vice-president for the far-flung Canadian operations of leading packaging, print and facility supplies distributor Veritiv Corporation, Jason Alderman is one really busy person.
Which is just how Alderman and his colleagues at Veritiv’s new, 450,000-square-foot Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ont., like it—for many good reasons.
“While may not be the biggest Veritiv facility in North America in terms of square footage, it is the busiest,” Aldreman told Canadian Packaging on a recent visit to the sprawling, well-stocked Mississauga distribution center (DC) opened up for business with much fanfare and high expectations this past summer.
“We receive about 65 to 70 inbound truck loads each week and handle thousands of inventory items on any given day,” Alderman says, “and we have a fleet consisting of 30 delivery trucks, which we use along with third-party logistics providers to distribute products sourced from this facility, which is already running five-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day.”
Built as part of a plan to consolidate three other former Veritiv operations located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) region, the new DC employs about 350 people, according to Alderman.
“Moving three facilities into one always presents challenges,” Alderman notes, “but we are steadily working through those to create a smooth-running operation with quick turnaround and exemplary customer service for clients in each of Veritiv’s major business segments.”
Notably, if not entirely surprisingly, it is the robust rate of growth in the packaging part of the business that has Alderman excited about the future prospect for Veritiv’s new Canadian headquarters.
“Our packaging business has been growing since we have opened the new Mississauga facility,” Alderman relates, “and we are expecting this growth to continue in the future.”
As Alderman points out, Veritiv’s new Mississauga DC has everything in place to benefit from this expected growth in the packaging business—much of it closely tied to the ongoing boom in the fast-growing e-commerce industry across major North American markets.

The well-lit offices inside the new Canadian Veritiv headquarters in Mississauga, Ont., are designed to encourage creative interaction and ideas exchange among sales staff.

HAPPY TO HELP
“We are very happy both with the location and the size of the new facility,” he states. “This facility was built for growth, particularly on the packaging side,” says Alderman, citing the building’s close proximity to major transportation routes.
“It’s also great to be able to stay in Mississauga,” says Alderman, noting that finding the required amount of available real estate to accommodate both the building’s dimensions and its demanding logistic requirements was a challenge in its own right.
“When we first started looking, the main priorities were having good access to the transportation system and staying close to our customer base,” he says, “and we were fortunate to find a spot in Mississauga that met our needs.”
Says Alderman, “With Toronto being a de facto manufacturing center of Canada, we have the opportunity and the space, to expand beyond our traditional expertise in end-of-line packaging and commodity products; and now broaden our customer base in custom packaging solutions.
“It’s great that we were able to combine all of Veritiv’s business segments in the GTA region under one roof,” Alderman points out, “alongside our customer service and sales team.”
Along with traditional end-of-line equipment offerings such as stretchwrappers, shrink tunnels, case-rectors and taping machines, Veritiv’s Mississauga DC also supplies commodity-type packaging products such as packaging tapes, corrugated boxes, folding cartons and bottles—offering many of its customers one-stop-shop convenience backed up by impeccable service support capabilities.
Employing close to 1,000 people at 14 strategically-located DCs across Canada, Veritiv serves a vast and growing customer base of manufacturing and industrial clients with clockwork JIT (just-in-time) reliability, according to Alderman.
“We also provide a growing number of custom packaging solutions,” Alderman adds.
“For example, we supply one of our baking industry clients with some specialty widgets that are used solely for applying icing onto a cake, which we source strictly for that customer.
“That’s the kind of custom packaging solution that Veritiv is keen to tap into on a greater basis,” says Alderman. “We are working hard to increase our offerings of unique solutions that are not your basic off-the-shelf product offerings.”
According to Alderman, the booming e-commerce business will provide many additional new growth opportunities for Veritiv to move into that direction in the future, as well as increase the sheer volume of corrugated packaging, tapes, pallet wrap and many other key packaging supplies widely used by online distributors to protect their shipments.
“The e-commerce sector will not only help us accelerate our growth in these capabilities,” he says, “but it will also help us to develop core competencies in accommodating the inherent seasonality in demand for that sector.
“Most of our e-commerce customers do about 60 percent of their annual sales in a short time period between middle of November and leading up to Christmas,” he says,” so it is our job to help them keep making their deliveries and operating as efficiently as possible during that busy time.
“We have the space and we have an inventory management system that is second to none,” Alderman asserts.
“So even though we have already established good relationship with many leading e-commerce players over the last five to six years, there are plenty of additional opportunities ahead for further growth,” he adds.

One of the 30 delivery trucks owned by Veritiv used to distribute the company’s wide range of products and equipment to the company’s vast Canadian customer base.

BRISK GROWTH
With online food sales growing at a brisk pace, Alderman sees the food-and-beverage sector as an example of one important source of further packaging innovation and advancement for Veritiv.
“Food manufactures are continuing to look for bold new ways to distinguish themselves from competition on the shelves,” he says, “which results in new technologies coming online all the time to support that trend.
“As we strive to keep up with the latest from a contact packaging perspective, what makes that food look good, what promotes better shelf-life, and all the other things that go into getting a product off the processing line onto a store-shelf in the most appealing packaging solution,” he states.
Contrary to popular belief, Alderman contends that major retailers have not eased up in pressing their vendors and suppliers to continue to reduce the amount and the weight of packaging sent to their retail outlets in recent years.
“Helping manufacturers improve their supply chain to protect their product with less packaging is one of Veritiv’s core strengths that we are very proud to have,” states Alderman, while acknowledging that that a significant increase in the amount of products purchased online in the future, especially food, will drive overall demand growth for more packaging.
“There is no getting away from the fact that as consumers continue to buy more products online, there will be a greater need for packaging to make sure their purchases arrive to their homes safe and sound,” Alderman reasons.

CHAIN REACTION
According to Alderman, Veritiv is currently going through a comprehensive company-wide IT systems upgrade that will significantly enhance its supply chain efficiencies and data acquisition capabilities.
Says Alderman: “We are still going through a process of internal integration of our assets and brand recognition, and while we are still finding out who we are as Veritiv, we know that we have a fantastic customer base.
“It is our job to cultivate that base beyond just the procurement side of the business to provide solutions and services that will enhance their marketing and product development activities and efforts.
“It certainly is an evolution for Veritiv.” Alderman sums up, “but evolving as a company is the only way to be able to attract new customers in the future to support our growing business and market ambitions.
“And our new Mississauga facility is a good example of how we are planning for the future.”

Captions:
The well-lit offices inside the new Canadian Veritiv headquarters in Mississauga, Ont., are designed to encourage creative interaction and ideas exchange among sales staff.

One of the 30 delivery trucks owned by Veritiv used to distribute the company’s wide range of products and equipment to the company’s vast Canadian customer base.