Three Companies Collaborate to Meet Need for COVID Vaccine Distribution

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Winpak will continue to be the source of packaging materials used to create the finished products, designed with a specialized configuration to hold the liquid. Going forward, the collaboration provides more evidence of what can be accomplished when people work together for the common good. Congratulations to all three companies for their ability to get it done in an unprecedented time of need.

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“When you are in the business of helping people, you have to be able to walk the talk. Losing our spot in line was a big hit to our fourth quarter plans, but when Mark called, it was about being a part of something bigger.”

When the phone rang one morning just before Labor Day at the offices of Winpak Lane in San Bernardino, Calif., the backlog of orders for their Vertical Form-Fill-Seal (VFFS) packaging machines was the largest in the company’s history. Still, the customer who called was placing an order for a machine to support COVID vaccine shipment.

The global health community is racing to deliver as many doses as possible of coronavirus vaccine by the beginning of 2021. The vaccine will require specialized packaging and refrigerant mats designed to maintain the vaccine at a specific temperature range during shipping. The Winpak customer had already stepped up production to create the needed product, going from 40-hour work weeks to running their existing VFFS machines for 168 hours a week. Now they needed more; the distribution chain had upped its requirements.

“The only way to meet this customer’s quicker-than-normal deadline for getting a third machine to produce more refrigerant mats was to get one of our other customers to accept a later delivery date on the machine we were building for them,” said Mark Griffin, Winpak Lane Director of Sales. “I started making calls immediately.”

One of the customers Griffin reached out to was Matt Miller, CEO of Branded Sanitizer Packets in Henrico, Va. His company makes customized, 1.5ml single-use gel sanitizer packets, producing more than a million a day. “Our Mission is to create a safe, sustainable solution to a problem our world faces in the coronavirus era. The new machine we were expecting from Winpak Lane would give us the ability to increase our capacity and offer key product enhancements.” Miller said. “When I received the call from Mark Griffin, the decision to help by delaying delivery of our machine was easy. After all, our idea was born to support our world’s growing need, and there is no greater need right now than a vaccine.”

Shipping mats with phase-change technology
“The packaging material used to manufacture the shipping mats for the vaccine protection project needed a specifically blended sealant that would seal through the liquid inside to maintain optimal liquid distribution,” Griffin said. “We had developed this technology for a customer six years ago when we sold them their first machine. The process was re-engineered to meet specific conditions relevant to the coronavirus vaccine. These refrigerant shippers are designed for a specific size, based on how many BTUs of cooling capability it needs to have.”

In addition to manufacturing machinery for packaging, Winpak has four other divisions, one of which specializes in high performance laminated film. That Winnipeg, Canada location had to ramp up and find spots in its manufacturing schedule to produce the massive quantities of the high-barrier film that would be needed to support the shipping mat production.

Branded Sanitizer Packets stepping up by stepping back
Branded Sanitizer Packets (BSP) is currently providing customizable 1.5ml single use sanitizer gel packets to retail, food service, hospitality, government agencies, and nearly every other industry in today’s world. To meet the growing demand, BSP had spent the previous six months customizing a new machine with Winpak engineers. This state-of-the-art machine was designed to enable more product features as well as to double their existing manufacturing capability.

“Our goal was to take a problem and turn it into an opportunity for brands in this new world,” Miller said. BSP’s focus is empowering brands to use these packets to connect to their customers in new ways, printing anything on them from custom messages, to QR codes that link to a menu, rewards program, or other customer engagement initiatives. “When you are in the business of helping people, you have to be able to walk the talk.” Miller admitted. “Losing our spot in line was a big hit to our fourth quarter plans, but when Mark called, it was about being a part of something bigger.”

A win-win-win effort
All three companies will benefit in different ways from the breakneck collaboration. “We were fortunate to be able to satisfy an urgent need for a Winpak Lane customer,” Griffin admitted. “Likewise, as our thanks to Branded Sanitizer Packets for stepping up, we changed their payment terms, delaying most of the balance until just before the replacement machine is ready to ship.”

In addition, Winpak will continue to be the source of packaging materials used to create the finished products, designed with a specialized configuration to hold the liquid. Going forward, the collaboration provides more evidence of what can be accomplished when people work together for the common good. Congratulations to all three companies for their ability to get it done in an unprecedented time of need.

About Winpak
Winpak Ltd. manufactures and distributes high-quality packaging materials and related packaging machines. The Company’s products are used primarily for the protection of perishable foods, beverages, and in health-care applications.

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