The Independent Carton Group (ICG), an association of 18 independently owned and operated folding carton manufacturers, is pleased to announce that Clearwater Paper Corporation and Henkel Corporation have both been presented with the ICG Supplier of the Year Award for 2016. The award is presented annually to the ICG supplier that receives the highest marks on performance evaluations completed by ICG members for the prior calendar year. This is the first time in the history of the award that the member evaluations resulted in a tie, causing the group to present two suppliers with the coveted award.

“In six years of presenting this award, we have never had a tie, and while we could have initiated a tiebreaker, it was clear from the evaluations that both Henkel and Clearwater Paper earned the award and deserved recognition,” said Andrew Willie, executive director emeritus of the ICG.

Clearwater Paper and Henkel are both past recipients of the ICG Supplier of the Year Award. In fact, this marks the fourth time since the introduction of the award six years ago that Clearwater Paper has received the award. It is the second such recognition for Henkel. Willie noted that, while these two companies continue to vie for the top spot, the vast majority of the ICG’s more than 40 suppliers achieve high rankings on the performance evaluations. Members rate suppliers on quality, delivery, accuracy, service, expertise and other key performance metrics.

“We use the annual performance evaluations as a basis for selecting the award recipient – or recipients, as was the case this year – but we also meet with each supplier and share members’ feedback with them in order to make improvements and strengthen partnerships,” said Willie.

The 2016 ICG Supplier of the Year Awards were presented this week during the group’s general membership meeting in Philadelphia, hosted by Dee Packaging Solutions, one of the ICG’s 18 members. Joseph Wrona, business director, was in attendance to accept the award on behalf of Henkel. Robbin Rodgers, director of sales, Lynn Weatherly, quality manager at the Arkansas mill, and Barbara Eble, northeast region sales manager, accepted the award for Clearwater Paper.

Clearwater Paper supplies ICG members with solid bleached sulfate (SBS) paperboard for use in the production of folding cartons and other paperboard packaging products. The supplier contract was first inked in 2002, and Clearwater Paper’s commitment to the ICG has always been evident in both its participation in group events and in its collaboration with individual members.

According to Rodgers, it is through a shared spirit of independent operation and the institution of many touchpoints that Clearwater Paper is able to ensure a strong partnership with the ICG and its members. Sales and customer service managers constantly communicate with ICG members in their regions, while the converting solutions team’s presentations at ICG technical conferences and time spent onsite at members’ facilities are all aimed at optimizing plant operations.

“We are honored to receive the ICG Supplier of the Year Award this year and humbled for receiving this award for the second year in row,” said Linda Massman, president and CEO of Clearwater Paper, who had the opportunity to interact with ICG members during the group’s general membership meeting in California last November. “We work hard to anticipate and meet customer needs. As such, we have appreciated the opportunity to work with the ICG for the past 15 years, and very much look forward to continue to enjoy building this long-term relationship based on integrity and mutual trust.”

Henkel, the largest producer of adhesives technologies in the world, supplies ICG members with adhesives, sealants and functional coatings for folding cartons, cases, corrugated boxes, labels, board lamination, packaging windows, and other packaging features. The adhesives partnership has its origins in an agreement between the ICG and National Starch and Chemical over a decade ago, and it continued upon Henkel’s acquisition of National Starch’s adhesives business in 2008.

Wrona noted that there is a direct correlation between the strength of Henkel’s partnership with the ICG and the strength of Henkel’s supply chain. To him, the 2016 ICG Supplier of the Year Award is evidence of the Henkel team’s ability to understand the unique goals and challenges of each individual ICG member and then customize adhesive solutions that deliver value to them.

“Working with the ICG is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job,” said Wrona. “The ICG has built an environment of fellowship around shared values and common interests, where members and suppliers alike have the opportunity to learn from one another and form lifelong bonds. We are grateful to be receiving this award again from a group of companies we so highly respect.”

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