Careers at Bemis Company
Bemis Company’s mission is to provide packaging that reduces food waste, enhances food safety, and makes consumers‘ lives easier.
Bemis Company is a provider of packaging products. The firm operates two reportable business segments:
- U.S. Packaging Segment – Consists of all food, consumer, and industrial product packaging manufacturing operations located in the United States. Specifically, it includes multilayer polymer, blown, and cast film structures to produce packaging sold for food and personal care product applications, as well as non-food applications. Accounted for 67% of total sales in 2015.
- Global Packaging Segment – Consists of all packaging-related manufacturing operations located outside of the United States as well as global medical device and pharmaceutical packaging-related manufacturing operations. Specifically, it includes multilayer polymer, blown, and cast film structures for the production of packaging sold for various food, medical, pharmaceutical, personal care, electronics, and industrial applications. Accounted for 33% of total sales in 2015.
Judson Moss Bemis had been involved in a number of short-lived enterprises, including a real estate investment business. Determined to found a permanent venture, he sought to gain insight by visiting his cousin Simeon Farwell, owner of a bag factory. After touring the facility, he decided to enter the bag business. Farwell supplied essential machinery, accepting one-third ownership in exchange.
The new outfit, called J.M. Bemis and Company, launched in 1858 in St. Louis, MO. The city was a great market for its offerings as it served as a trade hub all along the Mississippi River. At the time most bags were hand-sewn, making many customers skeptical of the firm’s machine-made products. Bemis tried to overcome this hesitance by providing a guarantee against ripping for every bag.
He also differentiated the firm by offering custom-printed text on the bags (e.g., clients’ names). This innovation helped drive business, and by the end of the first year the firm was manufacturing 4,000 bags per day. Farwell’s friend Edward J. Brown joined it as a partner, and his strength as a salesperson helped spur further growth. Farwell left, and the firm was renamed Bemis and Brown.
During the Civil War, the company increased its production of burlap sacks, which further boosted its fortunes. In 1867 Bemis’s brother Stephen joined and became a partner. In 1873 Brown left and the company was renamed Bemis Bro. and Company, and later Bemis Bro. Bag Company. By the 1880s, it ranked second in the world in terms of production volume. By the end of the century, it was #1.
By the 1960s, while still making cotton and burlap bags, the firm’s focus had shifted mostly towards paper, plastic, and custom-made packaging. In 1965, in an effort to reflect how diverse its product portfolio had become, it changed its name again, to Bemis Company. In 1966 the company went public and was listed on the NYSE. Over the next few decades it grew through numerous acquisitions.
Benefits at Bemis Company
Business model of Bemis Company
Bemis has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its offering at all industries that require packaging products.
That said, most of its clients are in the food industry, with the remainder primarily operating in the personal care, medical, pharmaceutical, chemical, agribusiness, construction, and electronics sectors.
Bemis Company offers five primary value propositions: convenience, risk reduction, accessibility, innovation, and brand/status.
The company offers convenience by making life simpler for customers. Its packaging facilitates easier opening and reclosing of containers, as well as portioning of their contents.
The company reduces risk by maintaining high quality and safety standards. Its packaging features an oxygen and moisture barrier that combats bacteria and optimizes product freshness. This in turn reduces food spoilage, increasing safety and reducing food waste. For pharmaceutical and medical applications, the packaging provides sterility as necessary.
The company creates accessibility by presenting a wide variety of options. It has acquired numerous companies since its founding. In the past three years alone, it has purchased Foshan New Changsheng Plastics Films and the packaging operations of SteriPack and Emplal Participações S.A. These actions have enabled it to diversify its portfolio of offerings and expand its capabilities.
The company places a strong emphasis on innovation. It operates the Bemis Innovation Center, a facility designed to move packaging ideas from the concept to the commercialization stage more quickly. Specific activities include rapid prototyping, hands-on research, and collaboration. The center also enables customers to test out how the company’s packaging affects their products inside and outside of the store environment. Specific activities here include shelf-life testing, product evaluation/trials, focus groups, consumer eye-tracking, and collaborative team sessions.
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It bills itself as the largest flexible packaging company in the Americas, with revenues of $4.1 billion in 2015 and 18,000 employees worldwide. It has won a number of honors, including the following:
- The Highest Achievement Award for the Campbell’s Ready Meals pouch from the Flexible Packaging Association (2016)
- A Diamond Finalist Award for the Doril Enxaqueca medicine package, given by Dupont for Responsible Packaging, Technological Advancement, and Enhanced User Experience (2016)
Bemis Company’s main channel is its direct sales team, which operates through offices located in North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific. It also utilizes some additional unspecified distribution channels. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and participation in trade shows and conferences.
Bemis Company’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Bemis Company’s business model entails designing, developing, and manufacturing its packaging products for its customers.
Bemis Company’s key partners are the suppliers that provide it with the raw materials it needs to manufacture its products. The major materials it uses are polymer resins and films, adhesives, inks, paper, chemicals, and aluminum.
Bemis Company’s main resources are its human resources, who include the design technicians, product development experts, and engineers that design, develop, and manufacture its products, the sales people that promote it, and the customer service personnel that provide support. The company maintains important physical resources in the form of the following manufacturing facilities:
- U.S. Packaging Segment – Operates 27 manufacturing plants in 13 U.S. states, 26 of which it owns directly and one of which is leased from a third party.
- Global Packaging Segment – Operates 34 manufacturing plants in three U.S. states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and ten non-U.S. countries, 28 of which it owns directly and six of which are leased from third parties.
Bemis Company has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions.
Its biggest cost driver is cost of products sold, a variable cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing, research/development, and administration, all fixed costs.
Bemis Company has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from sales of its packaging products to its customers. Sales usually occur through the signing of long-term contracts.
info: William F. Austen earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Marine Engineering at SUNY Maritime College and a Master’s degree in Engineering Administration at George Washington University. He previously served as EVP and Chief Operating Officer of Bemis.
info: Michael B. Clauer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California. He previously served as Chief Financial Officer of BWAY Corporation, Apogee Enterprises, and Open Port Technology.
info: William E. Jackson earned a B.S. in Geology at the College of Wooster and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Geology at Stanford University. He previously served as VP of Global R&D for Dow Building and Construction at Dow Chemical, and worked at General Electric.
info: Sheri H. Edison earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Southern California and a Law degree at Northwestern School of Law. She previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Hill-Rom, Inc.
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