ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Keynote Speaker, Jonathan Kraft, President of The Kraft Group, kicked off SuperCorrExpo with a dynamic presentation about the history of The Kraft Group, and how it all began when Robert Kraft leased a warehouse to open a small sheet plant and got the marketing and sales rights to Labrador Linerboard in Newfoundland, Canada.
The Group’s paper and packaging holdings now consist of: Rand-Whitney Container, the largest corrugated container business in New England – employing over 750 people across 7 locations; International Forest Products, North America’s largest trader of forest products and commodities; Rand-Whitney Containerboard and New-Indy Containerboard (a joint venture with Schwarz Partners), manufacturers of 100% high performance recycled linerboard. Additionally the Group’s holding include several sports and entertainment assets, including the National Football League’s New England Patriots.
Kraft discussed the 3 factors that have him feeling very optimistic about the future of the industry: consolidation and rationalization, the environmental benefits of fiber-based packaging versus petroleum-based packaging, and the growth of e-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales. Kraft also identified good customer service as the number one way to differentiate your business from competitors. To that end, Rand-Whitney has developed proprietary software that gives customers direct account management from any mobile device or desktop.
When the Kraft family purchased the Patriots in 1994 the club was losing money. Immediately, they began applying the customer first model that they learned from the Corrugated Industry. The organization changed the focus of the team and began to engage and interact more with season ticket members –the lifeblood of the organization. They also began a new 365-day touch point program that provided sponsors with new and innovative ways to connect with their customers. Sponsorship revenue increased from less than $1 million to over $150 million and the team now has a wait list of 60,000+ for season tickets.
Kraft also talked about the competitive advantages of having a General Plant Manager who knows the importance of manufacturing, budgeting, and customer service. These same principles transferred over into the sports arena. He referenced the value of hiring a Coach who can understand the dynamic relationship between the “X’s and O’s”, management of salary caps and free agents, and getting the best value for each position, will give you the competitive advantage you need for a successful business.
Kraft credits his family’s experience in the Corrugated Industry with their success. “The Corrugated industry has helped us to create a successful team based simply on good customer service,” Kraft said. Changing your mindset to see the entire picture and not just pieces has lead the Group to four Super Bowl rings and become one of the leading companies that convert, produce, and distribute over 5 million tons of pulp & paper annually across the globe.
For more information on SuperCorrExpo, visit the conference website.
TAPPI is the leading association for the worldwide pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and converting industries and publisher of Paper360°, Tissue360° and TAPPI Journal. Through information exchange, events, trusted content and networking opportunities, TAPPI helps members elevate their performance by providing solutions that lead to better, faster and more cost-effective ways of doing business. It has provided management training and networking to the industry’s leaders for more than 100 years. For more information, visit TAPPI’s website.
AICC, the Independent Packaging Association represents the independent North American manufacturers of corrugated, folding carton and rigid box packaging products and the suppliers to the industry. AICC offers a number of services to its members, including national and regional meetings, industry information and specific training programs for industry professional. From more information, visit aiccbox.org.