Pratt Industries’ Cliff Vilcheck Discusses Customer Service Model, Company Expansion, and More
CONYERS, GA - Since its inception over twenty years ago, Pratt Industries has been grown precipitously. With an emphasis on customer service and presenting innovative solutions to the problems of grower, packer, and shippers throughout the country, the company has expanded to become one of the largest corrugated packaging companies in the U.S.
I recently had the opportunity to hear from Cliff Vilcheck, Director of Pratt Agriculture at Pratt Industries, and learn more about the company’s packaging innovations, its growth throughout the United States, and how, by investing in new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities—“greenfield” facilities built from scratch to accommodate the latest technology—throughout the country, Pratt Industries is working to provide the utmost service to its customers.
Q: What would you say is the mission behind Pratt Industries? How is the company uniquely suited to satisfy its customers’ needs?
Cliff Vilcheck: Our agricultural packaging program at Pratt Industries is extremely tuned-in to the corrugated packaging needs of our customers—growers, packers, and shippers of fresh produce throughout the U.S. What makes us unique amongst our competitors is our absolute commitment to servicing our customer, making their lives easier, and always bringing innovative new packaging ideas to the table for them. Exceptional service is at the heart of who we are as a packaging supplier. That’s very important to us and it’s why we’ve grown so rapidly over the last ten years.
Q: What can you tell me about Pratt Industries’ recent growth in the Northeast?
CV: The Northeast has been a very important growth area for us in recent years. We listen very intently to growers in the region and make certain our customers understand that we aren’t in business to simply offer what everyone else is: a box. Our boxes are top-notch, but the service we provide that comes with that box is every bit as important, if not more important. Our service-first model is unmatched. We challenge ourselves to find new ways to save customers money through new designs, structural adjustments, and packaging efficiencies through machine placements.
Q: I understand Pratt Industries is experiencing growth in Texas as well: how was that growth initiated? Can you speak to Texas’ importance as a growing region, a market, and a conduit through which produce travels from Latin America?
CV: Texas is a huge priority for us, so much so that we’ve built two massive manufacturing plants in the State of Texas since 2010. The latest plant to be built, in Rockwall, recently came online in 2017.
Our growth in Texas was sparked in large part to good personnel listening to growers, hearing them, learning what was missing in the market and filling that need with an innovative product along with outstanding service. Limes were the commodity that we focused on. We made some simple design adjustments to a very common lime box after listening to growers in the area and the success of that box and our commitment to servicing those customers has led to tremendous growth.
Q: What are Pratt Industries’ goals for these two fronts on which it is expanding?
CV: We’re growing throughout the entire country because service and innovation are what growers want. Retailers are constantly in search of new products. We understand that growers are tasked with constantly bringing something new to the table. So, we’re always trying to help them on that front. If we can be vigilant about helping our customers grow their business through innovation and exceptional service, then we know we’ll always be in high demand.
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