Taking Packaging Beyond the Box

CWS Contract Packaging
Written by Pauline Müller

There is nothing standard about CWS Contract Packaging, which works from three facilities in Norwich, New York. With partnerships in cosmetics, drugs, and retail firms across America, this packaging provider has been praised for its service, flexibility, and quality by international giants such as Proctor & Gamble, The Himalayan Institute, StemSave, and others. CWS Packaging is based on a commitment to quality, ethics, and people. I spoke with Eric Moore, vice president, who shared the story of this packaging leader.

The organization was founded in 1964 in upstate New York, born of the dream of several parents to create meaningful employment for their differently-abled, adult children. What followed was a manufacturer of packaging that is second-to-none that was led for its first fifty years by Chief Executive Officer John McHale. The company grew to where it is today, with around five hundred people giving their best every day. Here, everyone shares their talents in a progressive workspace where they make an important contribution to their community and their country.

With almost fifty years’ of experience in the industry, the organization is especially prized for its ability to integrate with its clients’ operations as a fully-fledged extension of their engineering, packaging, and merchandising divisions. As it owns all the technology to fulfill a huge array of packaging needs, CWS blends in as a remote team, meeting even the most demanding specifications as a matter of course. Its expert developers employ computer-assisted design (CAD) to render project-specific diagrams that serve to build customized lines.

Packaging design is a lot easier when one has options. As part of its customizable fulfillment service, CWS Contract Packaging is geared to create complete packaging projects, and there is a lot of choice from blister packaging to shrink wrapping. This includes a host of environmentally-friendly technology and material options, as well as design, tooling, filling, thermoforming – heated shaping – manufacture, assembly, kitting, display, packaging, and much more. As expense is always a consideration, the company is well-versed in coming up with economical production methods that make for seriously competitive rates, even on high-end or complex packaging.

Each product’s process is carefully planned. Once the project management team has identified the clients’ needs with the help of a detailed questionnaire, compliance details are noted. Each manufacturing sequence is considered, followed by an in-depth client risk assessment. The goal is to render every piece of packaging effectively and perfectly.

Following the planning phase, the customer services department ensures that all information is recorded, after which quality assurance steps in. This group works alongside customer services to make certain that each client’s specifications are handled according to its industry’s standards. A meticulously scheduled manufacturing process follows, placing the organization’s standard lead-time at around four to six weeks.

CWS does not manufacture cardboard boxes, but it does offer all the support services needed. Once the design is complete, turning the packaging vision into reality usually starts in the company’s tooling facility, where dies are placed, manufacturing starts, and materials pass through electrical or mechanical subassemblies before being added to the final product.

With its broad range of packaging and technological capabilities, this company takes adaptability to the next level. Not only are its facilities equipped with mobile walls on casters, but most of its machinery can also be moved around easily. This means that it can reconfigure its overall set-up quickly to suit each project.

Warehouse facilities and transportation also feature on its list of services. Its global distribution service is made possible by a custom, web-based program designed by the company’s in-house information technology specialists. While clients are certainly not forced to use the CWS system, it is convenient. True to its reputation for flexibility, the company is equally as happy to integrate with its clients’ software.

CWS Contract Packaging goes out of its way to make sure that its partners enjoy unsurpassed service. This means that each client’s account is managed by the same customer liaison officer for its lifespan. Service quality is analyzed annually through an in-depth survey which yields consistently great responses.

Another aspect that sets it apart is the company’s impressive accreditations that permit it to manufacture FDA-approved packaging for medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, and food as well as labeling for cosmetics and food. It is also certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). “Our differentiating factor is world-class systems. In contracting packaging, there aren’t a whole lot of operations out there that have the accreditation that we do,” says Eric.

“Our business expectations created a world-class quality, service-driven operation. [Thanks to] our former CEO’s vision of becoming accredited, there are very few workshops like us in the United States today,” says Eric. This is also why the company is viewed as a top operator by many of its contemporaries, he believes.

Even though it is registered as a tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization, CWS Contract Packaging takes great pride in not being reliant on government funding, generating around eighty-seven percent of its revenue from private enterprise. The minimal funding that it does get from government mitigates the added expenses involved in creating layers of safety and support for its employees like transport provided by professional facilitators, a cost which standard businesses do not have.

When asked what he loves most about the organization, Eric’s response is immediate. “Our collaborative solutions-based mentality,” he says, is what lets the company, “work as a family here. I’ve been here for twenty-one years, so we have a lot of history together.”

For him, developing relationships is at the core of his approach to leadership, as he believes that this enables collaboration between people, which leads to solutions. The fact that many of its employees have been with the organization for three decades proves its commitment to the wellbeing of its people. Eric also believes that the quality of its team ensures the quality of its products.

“Our people go above and beyond to create quality products, bar none, every single day. It is amazing how much pride and ownership they take in the quality of the products they produce,” he adds.

To take the organization into the future, its management is working with life plan managers from the Organization for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to identify candidates who are likely to be a great fit for the company. CWS is also looking at qualifying a certain number of its existing employees as full-time, without putting their social benefits at risk. This will allow it to diversify by collaborating with other community organizations like local vocational offices, high schools, and groups that support veterans in need of employment.

Lastly, it is working to make its distribution and storage service options more accessible through integrated technologies that promise to give clients a better all-round experience. CWS Contract Packaging is a great example of how thinking out of the box can make a genuine difference in communities.



Recycled Rubber and Plastic Bottles

Read Our Current Issue


Daisy Chains and Golden Gates

April 2024

The World in a Grain of Sand

March 2024

Harvesting the Sun

February 2024

More Past Editions

Featured Articles