Made in Michiana: Jamil Packaging

With shopping and other business moving to the Internet in droves, there has never been a greater need for cardboard boxes. One local company is helping fill that need in a big way. This week's Made in Michiana takes the ABC 57 morning team to Jamil Packaging in Mishawaka.
2017 will officially mark the cardboard box's 200th birthday. The first one was made in England in 1817. Fast forward two centuries and you'll find Michiana's Jamil Packaging is one of a handful of companies at the forefront of the cardboard box industry. And leading the charge is General Manager David Diroll.   

"We virtually have customers in all industries, whether it be automotive, RV, Pharmaceuticals, distribution companies," Diroll said.

Mainstream companies like Weber Grill use Jamil's products every day, and they all start right here at their new facility in Bristol. The factory opened last year to help streamline their business.
"What we've done is we've invested back into our supply chain, where as we would buy our products from other suppliers that would actually manufacture the corrugated sheet we got together with some partners and decided to form our own supply chain," Diroll said.

That investment became known as "Alliance Sheet."

"We have the largest corregater in the Michiana area, in North America and the western hemisphere," Alliance Sheets General Manager Doug Shaeffer said.

Shaeffer was brought on to run the new facility.

"We're very high tech. We're very sophisticated. We've come a long way in the 30 years that I have been in this industry," Shaeffer said.

It's sophisticated enough to crank out two billion square feet of cardboard each year. Alliance now supplies all of the corrugated materials that go into Jamil Packaging's products, as well as several other companies.    
"It was important for the family and our business to have this location so close to our box plant. Literally 25 miles away," Diroll said.

With it, the company added 85 hourly and salary jobs to the local economy. 

"It was important for us to have it in Elkhart County to let our customers know and our associates know and just the general public that it's important for us to create jobs in the local market," Diroll said.

So, what actually goes into making them? The answer is simple. Not much.

"We start with big rolls of paper," Shaeffer said.

Those paper rolls are so large, they are brought directly in by rail cars.

"They are the biggest paper rolls in the Western hemisphere, and then we run them in our corrogater and we combine two liner boards and a medium together to make a corrugated sheet," Shaeffer said.

From that point forward, the machine takes care of most of the work, but it's not just any machine. 

"There's only 7 corrugators like this in the entire world and we are number 7," Shaeffer said.

Once the paper comes out the other side, it looks like the cardboard material you would see in any standard box. It's now ready to head to Jamil's box plant in Mishawaka, where the cardboard will be used to make specific orders for their customers.

"We manufacture corrugated boxed, displays, interpackaging products," Diroll said.

With this facility, they are able to send out nearly 25 truck loads a day.

"In the days of old box manufactured would have a week to two weeks lead time to get an order. Those days are long gone. It's more 3, 4 to 5 days now. Our company by having Alliance Sheet here we are literally turning orders in sometimes same day and more often or not 75% of our orders get shipped next day," Diroll said.

That out-of-the-box thinking has kept these boxes going out for several decades. And they hope to continue for several more. 

If you have any ideas for our Made in Michiana series, send us an email at [email protected]

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