Research shows us that only 30 percent of all family owned businesses survive into the second generation and only 12 percent will be survive into the third generation. What does it mean to you to be a successful third generation company?
This is a topic we are well aware of and have been planning for for several years. When each of us came back to the business on our own accord after being in the professional world in different capacities, these stats were brought to our attention. Succession planning is complete and fully in place, family conflict is dealt with head on in a transparent way, and each family member is prepared and included in all business decisions. We use our “familiness” as an advantage and work as a team. I think we are better because of it. Being successful in the third generation to me means keeping our core values in tact while staying focused on nurturing relationships with our existing customers, controlled growth and market diversification. We will continue to strive for world class service, quality products, fair pricing, and value-added options with personalized service offerings for all our customers, which we hold in the highest regard.
The company has some pretty diversified product offerings. What drives Landaal Packaging to continue to create, develop and promote new product offerings?
Product diversification is critical to our success. It takes us away from being a commodity business. Diversification has allowed us to enter markets and grow organically into markets that we were unable to reach prior. Having four core product offerings (Corrugated, Contract Packaging, Sustainable Packaging, and POP) now is exciting. From those four niches stem so many opportunities for value added services that we can provide to our customer base.
Corrugated is our primary material. We are well versed and continue to succeed in converting and designing with it effectively for our customer base. Many of our projects require us to be material neutral. We have to be competitive in this market so not being locked in to one material offering, print or design capability allows us to say ‘YES’ when we look for opportunities.. A continued push for new product offerings is evident and essential as our future in any one, as it stands today, may not be relevant in years to come.
What inspired you to join the family business?
The inspiration lies within being a part of something rooted deep in my family history where we knew that we would be working for something to benefit the well-being of not only our own immediate families, but also the community we create jobs for. Being a part of a successful business in Flint, which we consider our hometown, not only provides livelihood to the people we directly employ but also supports surrounding businesses in the community, suppliers, customers and the network of people that we call our extended family. Succession, for us, was a new concept ten years ago. Steven Landaal Sr. started the process of bringing in consultants, meetings, advisors and educating everyone on the importance of planning for the future. We have done some good work to get to where we are today and it is a continued practice, focused around transparent communication and respect for each other both professionally and personally.
Where do you foresee the company heading in the next five years?
Five years goes by quickly, as we have experienced, so planning needs to be a focused part of our daily work. Five years from now we envision the company with a healthy, highly satisfied core customer base with multiple product offerings inside of that base where we have collectively grown with them, but we also potentially see us jumping into an acquisition or an expansion in either one of the markets we play in today or a something that compliments us. We see a few new product offerings, world class efficiencies, geographical dominance in market share, increased automation and happy people loving what they do.
Tell us a short story about how the company got started.
Flint Boxmakers was started in 1959 by our grandfather, Robert S. Landaal. The company began based on a relationship he had with AC Delco (GM, still our largest customer) where AC spark plugs were first being manufactured. They were also making the box for them. AC owned the box converting equipment and they wanted to get out of the business of making their own boxes so they could focus on making parts. Our grandfather had a paper and box manufacturing background working with Mead and Atlas Box in Chicago. He saw the opportunity to buy the converting equipment from AC and start his own business. He took a chance and went all in and business continued with AC and ultimately expanded inside GM. Over the years more opportunities presented themselves with GM for not only providing boxes but also contract packaging on service parts, which is still a function we perform today. The primary reason this business was started goes back to a maintaining a strong customer relationship, having the ability to provide a high level of service, all while treating employees as equals which resonates to the service they provide throughout our ever-expanding customer base.
Mission To be the best full service provider of packaging products, supplies and services.
History Since 1959, we’ve helped customers solve their packaging problems with innovative ideas, uncompromising product quality and on-time delivery. You’ll also discover a host of value added services designed to make your job easier and more cost-effective. As a family-owned business, Landaal Packaging Systems offers a tradition of consistent, reliable service to our many customers.
Customer Focused Service Your next packaging project deserves the attention and expertise available at Landaal Packaging Systems. We’re a customer-focused company with a team management approach to doing business that strives to exceed customer expectations.
Beating the odds for longevity in a family business, the Landaals have succeeded in building, sustaining and growing a business in Flint, Michigan — now with contributions from the third generation.