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Partnering Proudly

By Jay Carman

January 28, 2021

width=196Although the cover of this edition of BoxScore reads “Big Associate Issue,” the reality is that this is the “Big Partner Issue.”

Think about it—our box and sheet manufacturing operations have invested millions of dollars in equipment, software, buildings, raw materials, services, people, and a myriad of other categories, all necessary for our boxmaking operations to serve our customers as their partners. By the same turn, I know that most of you, like me, consider our suppliers to be integral partners in our businesses.

As AICC members, we are privileged to be a part of a close-knit community of supplier partners. It is one of the unique and remarkable things about our great industry. Perhaps it has to do with scale. Or with the fact that being an independent, regardless of size, makes our operations more streamlined, more entrepreneurial, more agile, and therefore, more accessible. Our partner suppliers also know our businesses and the overall industry quite well, and so many of them share our values. Michael Massetti, writing for Supply Chain Game Changer, suggests that “corporate values are the ‘persona’ that is presented on a daily basis by the company and how it engages in and around itself.” Think about how much your most trusted suppliers have in common with you and your values.

width=203In addition, AICC serves a tremendous role in bringing boxmakers and suppliers together—and keeping us together—despite the difficulties of these pandemic months, and will do so in person again in the future. Valuable relationships are formed through participation in AICC, and trust is built within these relationships with Associates.

The Institute for Supply Management offers this definition of supplier partnership: a commitment over an extended period of time to work together to the mutual benefit of both parties, sharing relevant information and the risks and rewards of the relationship. These relationships require a clear understanding of expectations, open communication and information exchange, mutual trust, and a common direction for the future.

To make that definition work, manufacturers must listen to their suppliers and must be willing to take advice and direction from them. It is well intentioned and meant to deliver the best that the supplier partner can offer based on their extensive experiences beyond the walls of your plant.

The mantra that AICC members buy from AICC members has become a given through the years because of the dynamics of our industry. So many of my preceding AICC chairs have written in this column about the importance of supporting those suppliers that support us. AICC Associate members are engaged and active, and they support our Association in so many tremendous ways. They sponsor events, online and in person; they participate on the AICC board of directors and on every AICC committee.

They are in our businesses every day, directly and indirectly, making a difference. Valuable relationships are formed through participation in AICC.

Enjoy this fourth edition of the Big Associate Issue of BoxScore. Your partners have put their time and effort into this compendium of their offerings—just as they do in all the things that they do for us.

Buy AICC!

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Jay Carman

President, SteadFast Packaging Group

Chair, AICC