Is Your Corrugated Supplier the Right Type For Your Needs?

The raw materials used to manufacture corrugated board come from cellulose fiber from wood. The corrugated is processed into boxes, which are used to hold and protect products. However, not all boxes are created equal, and the best value for you will and where you ultimately purchase your boxes depends on your needs.

There are two categories of corrugated manufacturing companies:

Integrated – The mammoths

Integrated corrugated manufacturers can be giant corporations and tend to be publicly traded. This company is vertically integrated and does it all from forestry to finished box. They may own the forest, several paper mills, sheet feeders, corrugator plants, and sheet plants. Not only do they use the containerboard they make, but they also sell it. 

Independent – Smaller but highly flexible

Independent corrugated manufacturers are smaller and tend to be privately or family-owned businesses. They purchase raw materials to make finished products. The majority are sheet plants, but they may own a paper mill and operate a corrugator. 

According to the Fibre Box Association, an independent buys “more than 50% of the raw materials from other companies and then produce their own finished products.”

Within those two categories are three types of plants.  Sheet feeders only make corrugated sheets that they sell to sheet plants to make boxes or other corrugated products. Corrugated plants make corrugated board, like the sheet feeders, but it also makes boxes and other corrugated products. It may also sell sheets to other box plants. And the third is a sheet plant, which purchases corrugated board and makes boxes or other corrugated products. 

So, what does this mean?

When it comes time for you to evaluate your corrugated box supplier, how do you know which is best for you? The primary decision is whether to go with an integrated or independent company. The level of customization and personalization differs between them. 

First, you need to prioritize what is most important to you? Are you concerned about lead times, or is unit pricing the only thing you consider? Do you need to ensure your products aren’t damaged in shipping, or are your products lower value where off-the-shelf boxes will do?

Integrated companies are huge and tend to have less flexibility, but they may give large volume discounts. 

Best For:

  • Very high volumes with little customization 

Not So Good For:

  • Smaller volumes – Integrated companies tend to give preference to higher volume customers leaving smaller volumes with extended lead times. 

Independents have much more flexibility and often offer additional services and a personal touch. Shorter lead, times, packaging optimization, and other benefits can reduce a company’s total costs. 

Best For:

  • Small to medium volumes
  • Optimized packaging
  • Companies that evaluate total landed costs

Not so good for:

  • Companies that evaluate cost solely on unit price

Consider Axis Corrugated

As a privately held independent corrugator, we strive to deliver cost savings through shorter lead times and optimized packaging that best fits your needs. If you have had it with long lead times, low quality, and slow response time, give us a call and let’s get started on unfolding endless possibilities. 

You will receive greater value, though:

  • Reduced lead times
  • Optimized boxes and DIM factors, which reduce packaging waste and improve logistics costs
  • Our streamlined job workflow, which minimizes production costs and speeds job processing
  • Quick response to urgent orders and unusual packaging challenges
  • Our enormous inventory of corrugated boards and materials, which enable us to fulfill short turnaround and specialty orders quickly
  • Just-in-time delivery and next day turnarounds in many cases
  • Inventory management, ensuring you always have the boxes that you need
  • Improved logistics with our extensive fleet of trucks and dependable logistics partners