by Tap Marketing
June 17, 2019
After 100 years at its downtown Cleveland location, Tap Packaging Solutions is preparing to move from Superior Ave. to Tiedeman Road. It’s an 11-mile move that represents an incredible journey and transformation of this employee-owned, Cleveland-based paperboard packaging manufacturer that has continued to pursue success in the face of many challenges.
Due to the renaissance of downtown Cleveland – including the renovations of the Superior Ave. Arts District and Cleveland State University expansions – Tap’s block of real estate between E. 21st and E. 22nd and Payne and Superior reached a value unprecedented, which motivated senior leadership to look at the possibility of selling its most valuable asset and relocating.
After several years of deals and real estate scouting, come this Fall Tap will move into a new larger, leaner facility that boasts 204,000 square feet and a more modern layout for increased efficiencies in the city of Brooklyn.
If you take a step back to the turn of the 21st century, after the digital photography revolution had drastically changed the significance of Tap’s core product line of paperboard photo mounts, you’d find a single strategic decision that shaped the future of the business. The company’s leadership made a decisive move to remain committed to its employee-owners and the manufacturing capabilities it had invested in over the past 100 years. While the photo market turned to cloud-based photo sharing, web-based services, and digitally printed products, companies like Shutterfly and White House Custom Color flourished. Today the Photo Market is flooded with Color Labs who meet the needs of professional photographers – and deliver an online, lesser expensive and more customized experience for receiving digital or digitally finished photo products.
That was not the route of Tap Packaging Solutions. Instead, they turned to the Consumer Packaging Goods Industry – specifically Confection to start – because the packaging used by chocolate companies required the finishing Tap specialized in. Today, sales to consumer product companies make up 50% of Tap’s top line sales and represent the strategic direction of the company’s future.
However, despite a declining market, photography packaging is still a significant aspect of Tap sales and customer base. With the recent ambitions of a new Marketing Team, Tap’s Photo Stock Line and e-commerce website have received an overhaul and an exciting spike of interest and new customer acquisition. With 20,000 photography customers nationwide, Tap plans to continue to support and participate in this market, providing professional, premium folders and holders for photographic prints.
The transformation of this 120-year-old manufacturing company is no small feat – and as most employees would agree – has been challenging and even frustrating as the company has juggled competing priorities, an evolving customer-base with unique expectations and a wide variety of capabilities that keep Tap employees on their toes and working long hours as they try to figure out the perfect combination that wins business, sets them apart in a highly competitive field and keeps a profitable bottom line.
In many ways, this move symbolizes the success Tap has experienced over the last several years and its future plans for double-digit growth. Moving into a larger, leaner and higher capacity facility equipped with a new 8-color Heidelberg XL printing press with in-line Cold Foil, strategically aligns with the expectations of its current customer base, which now includes Procter and Gamble, General Mills, and General Electric. As Tap continues to grow with these key accounts, the company will continue to elevate its offerings, innovation and performance. And this new facility will empower them to do just that.
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