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Pivoting for Success: How Edson Became the Dominate Brand in the Paper and Tissue Industries

Written by Rodney Fokkens, Operations Manager at Edson

Most of us are old enough to remember when Amazon only sold books, when YouTube was solely a dating website, and when Netflix distributed DVD movies to its customers … through the mail.

Whether it was being better than their competitors in anticipating market preferences, having the foresight to embrace change, or simply being in the right place at the right time, these brands effectively pivoted their business strategy to become the global powerhouses they are today … and have not looked back since.

While these are just three of the more well-known examples, there’s a long list of companies that have achieved success by adjusting their product offerings to cater to a more specific target audience.

Count Edson as one of those success stories.

Although Edson today is an established, proven brand for delivering high-performance case and tray packing solutions for the converted paper, diaper, and nonwoven markets, it didn’t start out that way. Its story is one of not only perseverance but being able to adapt its products to fit the needs of the paper and tissue industries.

In 1962, Ed McCrudden and Hugh Anderson were commissioned to manufacturer a carton packer to assist in the packaging process … not for any paper product, but for candy of all things. In addition to creating their first machine in McCrudden’s garage, they needed a monicker for their startup, and they found inspiration by looking no further than their names, taking “Ed’s” first name and combining it with “son” from Anderson. And with that, Edson was born.

Edson 1000 Case Packer Built in 1970

In those early years, if you needed something packaged, they were there ready with a recommendation. Pretty much anything that was put into a box was fair game for the two entrepreneurs … including tissue. Turns out these soft, thin, absorbent products changed the company’s fortunes.

In the 1970s, many major North American tissue manufacturers had already embraced automation in their manufacturing operations. However, further down in the process, hand-packing products into cases was still the norm; automation had yet to reach to the end of line. Companies just did not see the value of investing in case packing automation. But as the decade came to a close, a few of the larger companies took the leap to automate this last section of production. And when they did, Edson was there with a solution.

Now, at the time, there was nothing unique about Edson’s designs specifically tailored to tissue products. However, their case packing solutions were applicable and worked well for what those customers needed. While it was a bit of luck that Edson was in the right place at the right time when paper manufacturers sought a new way to package their products, its solutions were exactly what they needed.

The paper industry itself can be a small universe with people moving from one company to another; everybody tends to know what everybody else is doing. If you have something good, others want to emulate it. This is where Edson became the go-to brand for case packers in the paper industry.

What has made Edson engineering stand the test of time is not resting on its laurels. The paper industry is one that packs many different SKUs in a wide variety of pack patterns and case sizes. That is why flexibility is such an important factor. Edson custom designs its machines to fit specific applications, but with a high degree of flexibility to adapt to changing products and case sizes. There are Edson machines built in the 1980s that are still operating within the paper industry today. That speaks volumes to their support of older units with parts and customer service.

Edson has not only survived the last 50+ years, but has thrived, and that’s because the brand keeps evolving in lockstep with the paper and tissue industries. Its 3600C compact case packer is a good example of that. New challenges facing manufacturers are limited floor space, smaller production runs, and tighter budgets. The 3600C answers these challenges while still delivering on the Edson brand attributes of consistency, quality, and reliability.

Through years of proven performance, and making the right moves at the right time, Edson has become the go-to case packing brand for the paper and tissue industries, and like Amazon, YouTube, and Netflix … they have not looked back since.

Rodney Fokkens is the Operations Manager at Edson.

He can be reached at Rodney.fokkens@promachbuilt.com


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