Versa Pak has been a member of the Packaging Distributors of America organization for many years now, and it’s a relationship we value — connecting us with distributors and other suppliers to help us support our customers. You’ll find us at the PDA annual meeting every year, and we’ve even been fortunate to be a multiple-time winner of their Supplier of the Year Award.
We spoke with Barb Dammann, Director of Client Services, and George Strobel, PDA President and CEO, about our relationship with PDA, and how it has benefited both sides. Keep reading to learn more.
What is the Packaging Distributors of America or PDA?
The Packaging Distributors of America is an organization of independent industrial packaging distributors that provides and facilitates an environment to openly share ideas and presents a platform where members are willing to help each other with service, sourcing and business opportunities. PDA provides value-added ideas, programs and services to help the growth of our members and suppliers.
Those services could include training and member development, such as forums, but the biggest value is the open discussion between members at the events — suppliers to suppliers, suppliers to distributors, distributors to distributors and distributors to suppliers.
“They start to develop different business relationships, and they find ways to help each other,” Strobel noted.
PDA has been around and currently is comprised of 27 distributors and 36 suppliers. However, PDA is selective when it comes to how many members and suppliers are part of the organization.
Versa Pak and PDA
Versa Pak joined PDA as a result of a recommendation from a distributor who had been doing business with Versa Pak Sales Manager Jeff Knapke — BGR. Strobel met with Knapke and learned about Versa Pak and how they were built.
“That made a big part in the decision to bring them on,” Strobel said. “Anybody can produce films; anybody can produce bags; but it’s how you treat your customers and what your business philosophy is. That’s what attracted me to Versa Pak more than anything else.”
He credited Versa Pak’s communication, work ethic and commitment to the customer as some of the ways the company has shone within the organization.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re going to find a way to say yes; they’re going to find a way to get it done,” Strobel noted. “They’re not going to say, ‘Oh, we’re limited by geography,’ or ‘Oh, we’re limited by XYZ;’ they just say, ‘Yes, we’ll find a way to get it done.’ And that’s the attitude that endears them to the distribution community within PDA.”
Supplier of the Year Award
Versa Pak has been selected as the Supplier of the Year during PDA’s Annual Meeting multiple times — most recently in June 2021 and also in 2018.
Nominations for that award start with the distributors — they are asked to provide information on the top three suppliers who have supported them in the marketplace based on their needs/or a supplier who has gone outside the realm of normal business for them.
The votes are ranked and scored; the supplier with the highest score wins. In the event of a tie, Strobel is the deciding vote based on who does more for the organization.
“The distributor community is built on trust,” Strobel said. “If you don’t trust your supplier, you’re either A. not going to do a lot of business with them or going to be forced to do business with them — you’re surely not going to recommend them to be Supplier of the Year.”
“They’re going to find a way to get it done and they treat everybody well,” he added. “They’re not going to say, ‘We can’t do it.’ They will say, ‘We can’t do it for these reasons, and if these reasons can be overcome, then we can do it.’
“The community looks at Versa Pak and says, ‘This is the guy we want to do business with because this is how we’re treated. We’re treated more as a partner than a person.”
Versa Pak and the Packaging Distributors of America: A Strong Partnership Together
Overall, Strobel and Dammann credited that trust and the value Versa Pak brings to the organizational relationship.
“We value our relationship with Versa Pak tremendously; they’re a top-notch supplier,” Dammann said. “We’re just really grateful they’re part of the group.”
Strobel echoed that sentiment:
“The relationship between Versa Pak has been a really strong, good solid relationship. We’re always hearing from Jeff that PDA means a great deal to him, and we feel the same way. … We’re really, really happy that they’re part of this group.”
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