Rising from the Ashes
Back in 1979 when Joe Elphick, president and CEO, and his partner (since retired) founded Colonial Carton Company (CCC) in New Jersey, the two probably didn’t picture a 72,000-square-foot facility in North Carolina, with an additional 40,000 under construction. They probably also did not foresee almost losing the company’s building and almost all its equipment after a fire. However, joining the Independent Carton Group (ICG) helped ensure that the company would not only rise from the ashes with some of the latest technologies available, but also that there would be no loss of business or productivity when the unthinkable occurred.
Having a contingency plan in place helped the company stay on its feet during a time of tragedy. Equally important is its commitment to develop strong, sound leadership while instilling loyalty in its employees. This has paid huge dividends during the company’s almost 30 years. “We always had a strong management team and great employees,” says Elphick. “We did not always have the best equipment.”
Ahead of its time
Colonial Carton’s first piece of equipment was a hand-fed Meihle diecutter. “[We] farmed out printing for the first two years,” recalls Elphick. The company leased its first 5,000 square feet in Garner, N.C., and later purchased property in Clayton, N.C., the site of the company’s present facility. Its first building was 15,000 square feet, with an additional 15,000 following two years later, and another 42,000 square feet two years after that. And, it is still growing.
The company employs approximately 100 people, who operate two KBA 40˝ offset presses (one 7-color and one 4-color), which are both equipped with the Qualtronic S System. It also has UV and perfecting capabilities. It recently purchased a Mark Andy press.
Its operating philosophy is to be employee-centered. “We believe you can only attract the best customers with the best employees,” says Elphick. “Therefore, we pay them well and every employee is on a performance-based bonus system. We want each employee to be a good business person.” All three shifts have monthly plant meetings. After the director of manufacturing explains monthly production results and how they negatively or positively affected their bonuses, the group will break into small team meetings to strategize on improving the next months’s performance.