Corrugated Box Industry

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CASE STUDY: EDMUNDS CORRUGATED PARTS AND SERVICES.

Larry Edmunds grimaced as he tossed his company’s latest quarterly earnings onto his desk. When Virginia-based Edmunds Corrugated Parts & Service Company’s sales surged past the $10 million mark a while back, he was certain the company was well positioned for steady growth. Today, the company, which provided precision machine parts and service to the domestic corrugated box industry, still enjoys a dominant market share and is showing profit, although not quite the profit seen in years past. However, it is no longer possible to ignore the fact that revenues were beginning to show clear signs of stagnation.

More than two decades ago, Larry’s grandfather loaned him the money to start the business and then handed over the barn on what has been the family’s Shenandoah Valley farm to serve as his first factory. Today, he operates from a 50,000 square-foot factory located near I-81 just a few miles from that old barn. The business allowed him to realize what had once seemed an almost impossible goal: He was making a good living without having to leave his close-knit extended family and rural roots. He also felt a sense of satisfaction at employing about 100 people, many of them neighbors. They were among the most hard-working, loyal workers you’d find anywhere. However, many of his original employees were now nearing retirement. Replacing those skilled workers was going to be difficult, he realized from experience. The area’s brightest and best young people were much more likely to move away in search of employment than their parents had been. Those who remained behind just didn’t seem to have the work ethic Larry had come to expect in his employees.

He didn’t feel pressured by the emergence of any new direct competitors. After slipping slightly a couple years ago, Edmunds’s formidable market share – based on its reputation for reliability and exceptional, personalized service – was holding steady at 75...
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