Packaging Greatness with a “One More Thing” Philosophy

Kaufman Container
Written by Nate Hendley

Whether you are looking to package a beverage, a chemical, or a beauty product, Kaufman is a great partner to have. Kaufman Container has been a major supplier of rigid containers for over a hundred years, offering the complete package from concept to completion.
Whether stock, custom solutions, or one of their value-added services such as decoration or warehousing, Kaufman skillfully manages the supply of each and every packaging component. Servicing a broad range of markets, including personal care/health and beauty, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, industrial and household chemicals, automotive, pet/vet and even more, Kaufman Container has always excelled at managing the entire project.

Kaufman Container’s long history of packaging greatness began with glass. The decade of 1910 saw a worldwide explosion of innovative ideas and inventions. An astounding array of products, services, and market trends erupted on the scene. One trend evolving from this decade of commerce was the recycling (wash and resell) of glass bottles. Like many companies in the packaging industry that saw their first beginnings in recycled glass, Kaufman Container entered the arena at the cusp of this packaging revolution in 1910. Originally founded by Eliezer Kaufman in Cleveland, Ohio, as LS Kaufman & Sons, the company’s first products were glass bottles and containers for a variety of markets, including food and beverage, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

For nearly five decades, LS Kaufman & Sons continued in glass containers, until the late 1950s when it entered the plastics arena under the helm of partners Sidney Kaufman (Eliezer’s nephew) and Bernard Seid. When Sidney Kaufman passed away, Seid became CEO and subsequently, shortened the company’s name to Kaufman Container in 1964.

A pivotal move in the company’s strategy for growth came in 1982 when Kaufman Container added decorating capabilities through its newly formed Special Services division.

The 1990s brought more change for Kaufman. In 1991, ownership passed to second generation Roger Seid. In 1995 Ken Slater was named President and together in 1999, the two purchased Twin City Bottle in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A jump in time to today, and Kaufman Container is still headquartered in Cleveland, with a branch office in Fridley, Minnesota. Kaufman Container is still under the leadership of Roger Seid and Ken Slater. Roger’s daughter, Sara Blankenship, is third generation and actively involved as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Kaufman continues to take pride in still being a family owned company. “We have a family-like atmosphere that involves knowing your employees and appreciating what they do. You’ll find within our company, there’s a lot of tenure. We have employees that have been here twenty plus years with some even approaching forty years,” Jeff Gross, Senior Vice President, says.

Kaufman Container was honored recently with the 2016 Family Business Achievement Award during the Smart Family Business Conference. This award recognizes family businesses that best demonstrate innovative business practices designed to enhance the business dynamic. “We are beyond thrilled and honored to receive this prestigious award,” states Blankenship.

Some of the packaging Kaufman provides includes glass and plastic bottles, jars, tubes, dispensing systems, closures, and celon bands (self-shrinking secondary seals for jars or bottles). “The majority of what we sell is from North American manufacturers, but we do source components from overseas partners as well,” explained Gross.

Kaufman not only helps customers choose the packaging, but also offers several value added services. The company has more than 225,000 square feet in warehouse space available in Cleveland and Minnesota and can offer just in time (JIT) delivery services. Separating Kaufman from their competition, they operate a full-service decorating facility in Cleveland, Ohio. With about 50 pieces of equipment specializing in screen printing, hot stamping, labeling (shrink, pressure-sensitive, clear, spot and sleeve) they are able to decorate on a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials. Customers can choose from multiple decoration options to customize their look.

The Kaufman business philosophy is encapsulated in the company slogan, “One More Thing”. It is an attitude that reflects the way Kaufman approaches business and every interaction it has with its customers, suppliers, and each other. “The idea is simple,” said Slater. “Every employee should go above and beyond their ‘expected’ duties and do that ‘one more thing’ in order to service our customers. We believe that no two companies are alike and each is entitled to individual service.”

Because of the high standards to which Kaufman holds its employees, it created the One More Thing award, where the company recognizes an employee for doing exactly that. Nominated by fellow employees, the prestigious award can be earned in a number of ways. Having a sense of pride in work performed, possessing a willingness to learn, or being helpful or concerned about a customer, supplier, or fellow associates are all examples that point to the type of quality attitude that defines Kaufman’s ‘one more thing’ philosophy.

Kaufman Container has an existing Quality Assurance program and works directly with all of their suppliers to ensure ongoing standards are met. All new packages and mold development products follow specific guidelines established. To become an approved supplier for Kaufman, manufacturers must go through an audit process. While Kaufman is not ISO certified, the company maintains a quality level consistent with ISO 9000 standards. “We have an internal quality team that works with our suppliers to make sure the products they are producing are within ISO guidelines,” says Gross.

One of the vast improvements of 2016 included Kaufman revamping its corporate website. Visitors will find the new design to be visually stimulating and easy to navigate. It offers hundreds of packaging options, and allows you to add items to a shopping cart and submit them for a quote. In addition to web marketing, Kaufman exhibits at several tradeshows each year. Highlights this year were exhibiting at a show in Chicago this November, organized by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA). Kaufman also participated in Luxe Pack New York, a trade show celebrating creative beauty and personal care packaging in New York City. “We try to connect with our customers on all different levels, making it easy for them to do business with us,” explains Blankenship.

Proud of what Kaufman has accomplished over the years, they give credit to their dedicated employees and its loyal customers. “It’s our approach to service that exceeds our customers’ expectations. Our views of manufacturers as partners set us apart and make us a unique organization to work with,” comments Slater. For over a century, Kaufman Container has been determined to deliver packaging greatness with a commitment to service like no other!



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