Canadian Packaging

The Supply Curve

George Guidoni   



A venerable U.S. packaging- and facilities-supplies distribution powerhouse laying down Canadian roots for a long stay in a promising dynamic market

As supply-chain disruptions and bottlenecks continue to hamper the world economy’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s reassuring to know that the Canadian manufacturing sector has a dynamic and committed distribution partner to look after its everyday needs and supplies to keep their operations running.

Having entered the Canadian market earlier this spring with a bold acquisition of leading facility and packaging supplies distributor Veritiv Canada, Inc., Jersey City, N.J.-headquartered distributor Imperial Dade certainly meets all the critical criteria for meeting the modern industry’s needs for the reliable supply of packaging, janitorial, sanitary and hygiene products, services and solutions—doing this with exemplary track record in the U.S. since 1935.

With a cross-country network of 12 distribution centres and a workforce of nearly 1,000 people, Imperial Dade Canada Inc. already has many things going for it with a knowledgeable sales force, a wide breath of products, and outstanding customer service.

For all that, the next few months will be something of a marketing challenge for Imperial Dade Canada and its president Stéphane Lapointe, as they work to make Imperial Dade a household name in the Canadian manufacturing and packaging circles.

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But it’s a challenge that Lapointe seems to relish with open arms, as he told Canadian Packaging magazine in a recent interview.

Q. Please explain the strategy and the importance of your company moving into the Canadian marketplace.

A. Imperial Dade Canada (formerly Veritiv Canada) will continue to focus on growth in all packaging verticals: food processing, e-commerce, food service/catering and industrial packaging.

Q. What are your expectations of the Canadian market in terms of overall corporate growth for your company?

A. We are expecting the Canadian market to maintain its organic growth trajectory and be ready to on-board any valuable opportunity.

We believe that our deep and wide offering of products and services will allow us to exceed average market expectations.

Q. Are there any significant beneficial synergies between your company’s businesses and those of the former owner’s that your company can leverage?

A. Imperial Dade U.S. and Canada have a lot of similarities in the market we service, but at a different level of penetration.

The U.S. business has as a stronger and deeper presence in the janitorial and food-service industries, and Imperial Dade’s U.S. supplier base will be an enhancement to our overall offering in Canada.

Talking specifically about the Canadian market, we have the intention of continuing to grow our overall Facilities Supplies & Paper market share as we continue to invest in the business.

Q. Describe your existing footprint in Canada, and if there are active plans afoot to expand it.

A. Imperial Dade Canada is a full-service provider of packaging, facilities, equipment and print products, services, and solutions.

With 12 distribution centers located in major cities across the country and approximately 1.7 million square feet of warehouse space, we can provide next-day delivery to 95 per cent of the Canadian population.

With roughly 1,000 employees, our highly trained experts engage with customers to create opportunities, solve problems, and foster long-term partnerships. Imperial Dade Canada remains one of only a handful of national suppliers to the Canadian packaging market.

Being the biggest, however, is not necessarily our goal. Providing best-in-class solutions to our clients, and thus garnering long-term mutually beneficial partnership, is the primary focus.

Our size in relation to our competitors is a byproduct of our commitment to our values and vision.

Without sharing any privileged information, looking at Imperial Dade’s track record, you can expect the corporate family to continue to grow.

Q. Please describe the importance of packaging to your company’s overall business in Canada and at large.

A. The packaging market plays a key role at Imperial Dade. We have invested in this market over several years and will continue to do so. Providing our sales team with the right tools to bring value to our customer base is vital to our success.

In addition, by ensuring that we continue to search the market for the right suppliers, especially now with the announcement of the Canadian ‘Plastic Ban,’ we are differentiating ourselves from our competitors.

Q. What is the value proposition that Imperial Dade brings to customers in the Canadian packaging and allied industries?

A. At Imperial Dade Canada, we have the structure, knowledge, expertise, and capabilities to service a wide range of customers.

Whether you are a highly specialized type of customer requiring highly engineered products, or a multi-location customer requiring a very high level of service like daily delivery in a remote/rural region, we offer our customer access to the right supplier for the right application.

By tailoring a supply chain program around our customer’s needs, we can increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and support their business goals.

Q. What are the company’s unique competitive strengths and specialty services that could benefit its Canadian customers in the CPG [consumer packaged goods] and other manufacturing industries?

A. Imperial Dade is more than a distributor. We we are a supply chain partner, and our customers’ success is at the core of everything we do. We invest in product experts and service teams that work alongside our customers to develop programs and continuously enhance operations and efficiencies.

Our modern warehouse facilities and fleet allow us to maintain extensive inventories and deliver the right products at the right time to our customers.

Imperial Dade has long-term relationships with top manufacturers, and we are often the first to have access to innovative new products and technologies. Our sourcing team has the skill and expertise to find specialty solutions to meet the unique needs of each customer.

Q. What are the first steps and initiatives/programs the company is planning to implement in the Canadian market?

A. One of our first initiatives, already underway, is introducing our new Victoria Bay private brand to the Canadian market.

The Victoria Bay offering will include high-quality industrial and facilities solutions.

Q. How is the company’s Canadian labour force adjusting to the change in ownership?

A. As we are structuring the Canadian business, and more job functions are returning to Canada, this change represents an opportunity for the Imperial Dade Canada employees to further their careers.

This will provide an even better framework for us to react more quickly to market conditions and customer demand.

Imperial Dade Canada will continuously collaborate with our Imperial Dade family in the United States, but it will operate as a separate entity that is fully autonomous.

Q. How important is environmental sustainability and carbon-footprint reduction to your organization, and how does it manifest itself?

A. Imperial Dade is committed to reducing our impact on the natural environment and promoting sustainable business practices in the industries we serve.

We have LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design]-accredited professionals and CIMS [Cleaning Industry Management Standards] Green-certified experts on staff to ensure continuous improvement in the area of environmental stewardship.

Our headquarters in New Jersey facility is LEED-certified, and our additional distribution facilities employ a green cleaning policy as we focus on reducing energy and water usage, with LED motion-sensing lighting and water-saving fixtures having been installed in our locations.

We recycle corrugated boxes, office paper, plastics, pallets, furniture, and computer equipment.

Q. How can you help your Canadian customers to improve their own environmental performance?

A. Our modern fleet is routed with sophisticated software to minimize the miles traveled in delivering products to our customers—reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

We also provide detailed carbon disclosure reports to our customers to assist them in assessing and minimizing their own carbon footprint.

In 2005, we developed our consultative Greensafe Program to assist our customers with their sustainability initiatives.

We offer an extensive selection of over 5,000 environmentally preferable products, many of which carry third-party certifications from recognized NGOs [non-governmental organizations], including EcoLogo, Green Seal, and Safer Choice.

We also make out product life-cycle findings available—allowing customers to evaluate options more thoroughly.

Going forward, we will continuously seek out the latest product technology to enhance our offering of sustainable products and seek to work with our customers in a consultative manner to evaluate greener alternatives wherever possible.

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