In between college and junior level hockey, being a wife and mother of two boys, and traveling as much as she can, Jeanine Vecchio runs EmpireEMCO's blossoming marketing department and is the New Business & Strategic Territory Development Manager. We were able to speak to her this week to get some details on what she's doing at Empire and what values distinguish the firm from others in the marketplace.
Good morning Jeanine, I'm glad you could take a moment to chat. What is EmpireEMCO all about?
Hi, thanks for having me. Well, we've just signed on with Webpackaging and we're really looking forward to expanding our online reach. This is one of our key initiatives for the next few months, we really want to improve our online presence and make sure people know we're here. We're one of North America's premier distributors, with access to over 500 of the industry's best packaging producers. Our network ranges from large scale, international producers to small local firms dedicated to providing packaging to smaller brands.
So, what would you say is your primary advantage in the marketplace? At what does EmpireEMCO excel?
Our company is able to provide competitive pricing and hands-on customer service every step of the way. Basically, a brand comes to us with a need for packaging and we satisfy as much of that as they want. I mean, they can gives us the whole project, from design all the way through to delivery, or parts of it. The client can participate as much as they like, our team is accustomed to getting the ball passed to them and running with it.
What does that entail, then? I mean, a total project, what would be included?
There are the obvious things, like selecting the core piece of packaging, but we also do a lot of work before getting to that stage. We can do a compatibility study to ensure the product won't react with the selected packaging item, we can work on adapting or creating brand identity so that the packaging is suitably decorated, we can offer insight into logistics, into compliance on local, regional, and international regulations, we can work on supply chain details - you name it! We're here to offer very simple, high-level suggestions to our clients while we handle the thousands of minute details that would affect them. That's not to say we can't work with experienced companies that know what they're doing, in those cases, we simply offer whatever assistance or guidance they request. In many cases, they're surprised at just how much we can do for them, even though they've been sourcing packaging as part of their jobs for years.
EmpireEMCO, then, is obviously a full service provider. Do you have a specific process you follow?
Ideally, we take each of our customers through the very precise stages of our own process. We have what we refer to as our five strategic advantages, that we interlock like puzzle pieces that need to be put together in order for the project to be truly successful. There may be a bit of variety in the importance each part has for different clients, but in general, we tend to take them through this. First we make it clear that we offer progressive distribution, we have an established network of suppliers, and as professionals we can offer a lot of knowledge and experience in order to provide consultative solutions, not just pallets of products, though we can do that as well. Our terms are very flexible, providing improved cash flow and pricing. We can even offer inventory management and warehousing.
Our second advantage relates to the packaging itself, it's looking at genuinely collaborative innovation. To us, that involves working side by side with the client to offer our unique understanding of consumer wants and needs. It also involves managing all the small details related to intellectual property, leveraging our existing relationships, and perhaps setting up sensible creative alliances in order to get the packaging made efficiently and at a good price.
That segues directly into our third advantage, which is technology scouting. Rather than force clients to learn all about new trends or the science behind packaging, we keep on top of the industry in order to offer the latest concepts. We closely monitor new happenings and research and refine technologies to meet our clients' needs.
That's where our fourth advantage comes in, and that's product pioneering, where we take a concept and support it, we back it in the industry because we believe it's a good solution for our customers and others. You need to seek new products and ideas perpetually. The best ones have cross-market applications.
When all of those points have been addressed, we can get in to the nitty gritty, we can look at the fifth piece of the puzzle, design and supply. We have an established network of strategic alliances, with a long history delivering systems and offering solutions. This phase encompasses all aspects of packaging development and implementation.
Everything that we do with a client revolves around those five concepts: progressive distribution, collaborative innovation, technology scouting, product pioneering, and design and supply. When they all fit together properly, the project is sure to be a success!
That's a lot to take on, how do your people manage it?
Our staff has been doing this a long time, we're talking years of experience and skills. We have some really great people, they're just fantastic, from the top all the way down to the folks that support team members by keeping the place clean. It's a great place to work, really.
Is EmpireEMCO fairly centralized at an HQ? Or do you have reps in different areas?
A bit of both. We have regional sales managers that work with agents and our network of suppliers, and they bring decades of packaging experience to the table. In addition, they continuously adapt to changes in the industry and expand their knowledge to include new and innovative market opportunities.
What recent projects jump to mind? Any brands we may have heard of?
Sure, you know The Mentholatum Company? They produce a lot of OTC products, including their popular line of acne treatments under the OXY brand. We were approached by them to completely re-stage their OXY Facial Cleansing Pads. The goal was to replace their outdated square package with a new, bolder look while providing cost savings. We did a full study of the product, checked the ingredients for compatibility, sourced new packaging, and were able to convert the look to a round jar with a smooth wall dome polypropylene cap. The flush fit of the curving closure to the wall of the jar creates a magnified image on the shelf. That, with a bold new graphic label makes the package loom above the competition. We were also able to offer improved line speed during filling, capping, and labelling, and economy of scale cost savings. We've been working with The Mentholatum Company for 50 or so years, on various projects.
Where do you see EmpireEMCO going? Where would you like it to go?
I think we need to embrace the digital age. We have an absolutely amazing service and an incredible network, and we need to tell people about it. I can see our company growing to become one of America's (if not one of the world's) preeminent full solution providers. I want brands to be able to come to us and feel that someone has really taken care of them, that they've gotten more than their money's worth. The best way for us to do that is to increase awareness of our services and get lots of exposure for our own brand. It's a challenge, but one I think we need to accept.