Samuel Strapping Systems
Issue Fall 12
Being able to hold things together is an essential skill for anyone if they want to succeed, and at Samuel Strapping Systems that’s the core of its business. The Mississauga, Ontario-based company specializes in the supply of packaging and unitizing solutions utilized by multiple industries to bundle products together for shipping. These include steel and plastic strapping, strapping machines, seals and buckles, stretch film machines and labeling.
Vice President Kevin McCarty says the company has made some significant additions to its capabilities in recent years, and as a result has grown into the dominant market leader in Canada. In the United States, Samuel Strapping Systems is more of an emerging brand, but McCarty says the company expects to grow substantially, and the service it provides is a big reason why.
Samuel Strapping Systems is a division of Samuel, Son & Co., Limited, a leading metal processor and distributor founded in 1855. The company’s strapping division was established in 1964, and McCarty says it took a big step forward in 1996 when it undertook a number of acquisitions and capital investments that made it into a much more rounded company than before. “It went from strapping to what we like to refer to as complete packaging, which is still strapping-related, but went beyond where we were,” McCarty says.
The evolution of Samuel Strapping Systems from strictly steel strapping to a more diverse set of services made it possible for the company to offer customers solutions, not just services, according to Marketing Manager Ryan Van Horne. With products such as edge protection, recycling equipment and label-making equipment, Samuel Strapping Systems has become a one-stop shop for many of its customers to provide everything they need to prepare their items for shipment.
Big and Flexible
The biggest reason Samuel Strapping Systems is able to offer customers that kind of service is the flexibility the company has, McCarty says. With a complete line of products at customers’ disposal, Samuel Strapping Systems is a big company but not an inflexible one. McCarty says Samuel Strapping Systems not only manufactures numerous products, but it also distributes other related products manufactured by others, and is represented by a strong sales force in Canada and the United States. McCarty says this allows Samuel Strapping Systems to offer its customers anything “from a $100 hand tool to a multimillion-dollar system.”
“We have a pretty big organization in support of that,” McCarty adds.
Even though Samuel Strapping Systems already has a diverse and fully loaded product line and the ability to provide customers with fully realized packaging solutions, the company continues to strive for new ideas. McCarty says the company devotes a lot of time to improving its capabilities and reliability.
The company also spends a lot of time working on improving its employees, providing them with all the training they need to handle all of the products in stock. McCarty says that because the solutions Samuel Strapping Systems offers are customized, they include multiple systems engineered to work together. That means employees – especially service technicians – have to be jacks of all trades to serve customers with the greatest efficacy and efficiency.
Another area in which the company continues to make big improvements is automation. Van Horne says the company has successfully integrated robotics into its services so that customers can have even greater efficiency in their packaging. McCarty says these services are moving Samuel Strapping Services higher up the manufacturing chain.
“Not only are we bundling the package, but we’re putting the package together for you,” Van Horne says.
Developing new services and solutions will be important in helping Samuel Strapping Systems gain a greater share of the U.S. market, where it currently is in the second or third position. McCarty says having greater diversity of services will not only help the company reach the market dominance in the United States that it has in Canada, but also will help it survive the changes that are taking place north of the border.
“The biggest challenge we have is that steel strapping is our core Canadian product, and it is in decline,” McCarty says. In response, the company is developing new products and solutions to prevent it from participating in that decline. Already, he says, the company has made inroads with polyester and polypropylene strapping, baling wire, stretch film and edgeboard which have become emerging products in the Canadian market for packaging and bundling.
Developing new products and solutions will continue to be the way going forward for Samuel Strapping Systems. McCarty says that although many companies simply offer products at commodity pricing, experience and expertise are harder to come by. “You can go to the store and buy a commodity, so our biggest challenge is providing the solutions for using that product more effectively,” he says.