(Nov. 11) CINCINNATI — Though the company has been around for more than 50 years, chances are most people wouldn’t know its products if they saw them in a retail store.

Since 1949, Michelman Inc. has been manufacturing both wax and water-based coatings for corrugated cardboard boxes. Rick Michelman, market development manager, said sometimes even he doesn’t know where his coatings end up.

“We don’t know where the board (that our customers) generate goes,” he said. “We’re all over the supermarkets, but we don’t always know that we’re there.”

FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS

That’s why Michelman is working to better its relationships with customers along the supply chain and build a brand name for its wax-alternative products.

“Our goal is to include the entire supply chain in a dialogue to find out places where wax alternatives fit,” he said.

Michelman said wax alternatives are particularly important on the retail level, because retailers can make a lot of money when they can resell their corrugated packaging. He said the difficult part is getting grower-shippers to see the value.

“They don’t necessarily gain financially,” he said. “But they can get better penetration into some of the more forward-thinking retailers.”

Water-based coatings, Michelman said, could be particularly useful to those who use refrigerated, forced-air, vacuum or evaporator cooling systems.

Those systems, he explained, have high humidity, but low levels of liquid water involved in the process.

Other areas, such as hydrocooling and ice packing are tougher for nonwax coatings because of the high levels of water involved.

That doesn’t mean that the company isn’t trying to find solutions in those areas, Michelman added.

“We want to make sure that everybody knows we don’t yet have a solution for everything,” he said.

“Ice pack is difficult, but we’re working on it.”

WORKING TOGETHER

The key to finding those solutions, Michelman said, lies in getting the entire supply chain to work together.

“Everybody wants to be part of the solution,” he said. “It will come most effectively if all parts of the supply chain chip in and put their heads together and try some things.”

For more information, call (800) 333-1723 or visit www.expandingpaper.com.