It happened last week to IPAK of Alabama, a company located in Pell City’s industrial park that has found a niche in the automotive industry.
Honda officials came in from Ohio to present a Honda Supplier of the Year award in appreciation for the quality and service of the products manufactured by the employees there.
Focusing on the customers’ needs, IPAK makes packaging for suppliers, which could be for engine parts, interior, parts, doors — whatever is needed. Custom-fabricated packaging protects the parts from supplier to assembly, and the packaging is returned to the supplier to be used again. In the industry it’s called a “milk run,” hearkening back to the days when milk was delivered to homes in bottles, and the bottles were reused. Modern industries are doing the same thing today to promote efficiency and more environmentally-friendly ways of doing business.
While Honda presented the award, IPAK counts other automakers in the southeast among its customers.
Honda is an industry leader environmental consciousness with its “Green Factory” initiative and its commitment to having facilities with zero-waste-to-landfill. The company’s plant in Lincoln was its first to achieve that goal, with a strong commitment to recycling and reusing everything possible, from the production floor to the company cafeteria. Two years ago the company announced that 10 of its 14 North American operations had achieved the goal, with the remaining four plants operating in a “virtually zero” waste to landfill environment. Over the past decade, with input from Honda associates, the waste per vehicle was reduced from 68 pounds per vehicle to 1.8 pounds per vehicle, with that amount being reused, recycled or used for energy recovery.
Honda estimates that over the past 10 years, the policy has prevented about 4.4 billion pounds of waste material from being sent to landfills. Sand from casting operations is used in landscaping and concrete products, scrap metal is recycled into other products, and packaging materials are reused.
The people at IPAK are playing an important role in that effort, producing reusable packaging for more than 20,000 manufacturing pieces or parts, and doing so in a way that surpassed Honda’s scheduling expectations.
That’s a noteworthy accomplishment for any company.
IPAK of Alabama has only been open for about five years, and employs anywhere from 20 to 40 employees at any one time. The company was commended for excelling in innovation, designing and manufacturing.
It’s a feather in the cap for IPAK, and it’s also further evidence of the quality of the Alabama workforce. The cost of doing business in Alabama is an enticement to industries considering locating or expanding in our state and the clincher is the ability of Alabamians to get the job done. IPAK’s recognition drives that point home.