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MaxPax is expanding its footprint far beyond its home base in southeastern Wisconsin. The objective is to help customers reduce shipping costs — while maintaining the superior quality and reliability they have come to expect from MaxPax.
The first step in this multi-phased expansion process just took place in September 2020 when MaxPax acquired an existing contract packaging company in North Carolina. Acquiring an existing operation has allowed MaxPax to immediately make its East Coast presence felt. At the same time, significant efforts are underway to enhance the facility’s production capabilities.
“We are now looking to strategically place manufacturing facilities in other parts of the country,” says Mallory Stahulak, general manager of MaxPax. “North Carolina is phase one. Many of our customers told us they really liked the thought of that location. We were fortunate to find a good company, Fill-Pac, that we could acquire to speed up the process.”
Investing in standardized improvements
MaxPax’s new Hickory, North Carolina, location includes a 158,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility equipped with all of the foundational elements of a versatile, highly productive packaging operation. Now MaxPax is looking to invest nearly $10 million in renovations and new equipment over the next several years. The company also expects to create roughly 300 jobs over the next five years as the operation continues to grow.
“With our three original locations in Wisconsin, we had developed our own security systems, production and warehouse management software, and data analytics systems,” Stahulak points out. “We had even developed our own system for how employees clock in and out. We are now investing in the North Carolina facility so we can duplicate what works so well in Wisconsin — things that will help improve our capability, efficiency and quality control.
“We have also made some structural changes to the North Carolina facility to expand warehouse space and improve process flow,” Stahulak continues. “We’re investing a great deal in software, as well as manufacturing equipment to increase capacity and throughput. Essentially, we are looking across the entire business for ways to invest and improve.”
Putting MaxPax all over the map
MaxPax has developed a reputation for the reliable production and packaging of a broad array of products — from liquids and pastes to powders, granulars and solids. A variety of flexible and rigid packaging types are available, helping fulfill needs in a variety of industries from automotive and gardening to personal care and household cleaning.
Aside from production capabilities, the big appeal of the Hickory, North Carolina, facility was simply its location. A mere 60 miles from Charlotte, Hickory’s Central East Coast location provides efficient distribution access to major markets along the Eastern Seaboard — from New York City to Miami. Furthermore, the Charlotte area’s highly efficient interstate system helps connect Charlotte-area distribution centers with additional key markets throughout the South and Midwest — from Atlanta to New Orleans to St. Louis.
According to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, businesses in the Charlotte area can reach 53% of the U.S. population in 2 hours by plane and 12 hours by truck.
“That’s why you’ve already seen a lot of contract packaging being done in the Southeast,” Stahulak points out. “MaxPax has had an excellent operation in Wisconsin for a long time — an operation that has effectively served customers across the country. However, if we have a client that has some of its distribution in Florida, for instance, it makes good financial sense to have their product packaged in North Carolina as opposed to Wisconsin. If the client also has distribution in Chicago, we can package that product in Wisconsin. Whatever the case, the closer our packaging operation can get to the end distribution, the more time and money it saves. It’s a win-win.”
The opening of MaxPax’s North Carolina facility is just a few months old. Still, the company is already thinking about future expansion.
“Our next goal is to open a facility in the South or Southwest region,” Stahulak says. “We’re looking at locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We believe 2021 is going to be a breakout year for MaxPax.”
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