The story of Wisconsin Packaging begins back in 1986, when a discussion with one of its customers prompted the simple question, “Ya wanna start your own box plant?” With the ball now rolling and the momentum building, President Fred Negus Jr. and his father, Fred Sr., chose to answer this simple question with a resounding “yes.” Knowing making their dream a reality would prove much more challenging than the customer’s simple idea, these two gentlemen made a commitment to create and build this new business on a foundation that emphasized solid relationships—with their customers, their employees, their suppliers, their market, and even their environment. Never losing sight of this focus, the family-owned business continues to thrive on this same philosophy.
The varied and extensive list of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment that fills the Wisconsin Packaging facility today was once only a shared vision of these company founders. This vision, now realized, is quite a departure from their humble beginnings with a 30,000-square-foot building full of used equipment. But even then they understood the connection between reinvestment and growth.
Within just eight short years, the Neguses had already more than doubled their manufacturing space and were able to purchase their first new piece of equipment—a two-color rotary die cutter. With their relationship philosophy successful and standing on solid ground, two years later they outgrew their available space and built a brand-new 85,000-square-foot facility. Today, this 148,000-square-foot plant is home to an impressive and varied list of manufacturing capabilities.
The business philosophy of Fred Jr. and Fred Sr. is to always reinvest in your company, and that your growth should extend well beyond the plant floor and equipment. It guides them in all they do.
There are physical displays of this philosophy, such as the state-of-the-art design lab boasting two cad tables, or the addition of another 50,000 square feet for warehousing and an in-house ink kitchen. There are certifications, such as their superior rating from AIB International or their environmental pledge and affiliation with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, that further demonstrate this investment philosophy and continual commitment to their customers. There are programs they’ve undertaken to continually improve their performance and productivity, such as the lean manufacturing process back in 2006. To the people of Wisconsin Packaging, these weren’t just words on paper or something to add to a website; the dedication to the process is evident in the resulting 40 percent improvement in productivity.
As impressive as the vast array of equipment, the various certifications, affiliations, and programs are, perhaps none equals the commitment they have to their team. The relationship emphasis used to found this impressive company was not exclusive to their external customers or suppliers. The Neguses believed then, as they still do today, that their people are the driving force behind their success. A whopping 100-plus years of combined corrugated experience provides evidence of the longevity of these relationships.
Described as “filling the bench,” there remains a continual belief in cross-training and exploring new designs of employee roles and structures that are often simply mimicked in a box plant. The care, trust, and mutual respect of the Wisconsin Packaging team is evident in the laughter and fun they share. Its management team believes the company’s future success lies with being better and faster than last year, and they know they have the skilled bench to make that a reality. Everyone understands the guiding philosophies behind their behavior and decision-making, the commitment to their customers, and the willingness to reinvest in the company and its future.
Wisconsin Packaging’s focus is on great service—a quick response with a quality product, and delivered on time. Many companies strive for these same goals. The team at Wisconsin Packaging works together to accomplish them with the guiding principle to have every customer say, “You’re always the first person I think of for my packaging needs.” Trustworthy, reliable, and consistently great service, all combined with the understanding that it’s important to have fun with your customers, ensures that Wisconsin Packaging will be hearing this statement for many years to come.
The Wisconsin Packaging business philosophy remains centered on the importance of solid relationships. The Neguses’ vision and strategy to continually reinvest in their company and their future cements their path forward, positioning the company
perfectly for continued growth and long-term success.