JONES PACKAGING INC.
The face of manufacturing has evolved significantly over the last century, and no one is better positioned to attest to this than Jones Packaging Inc. (Jones)—a company that has reached a level of success likely unimaginable to its founders four generations ago. Today, Christine Jones Harris and her husband, Ron Harris, lead the company, carrying on the family traditions of hard work, continuous innovation, valued partnerships, purposeful investment, and flexibility: characteristics they believe are fundamental to business growth.
Jones’ history can be traced back to 1882, when Christine’s great-grandfather, Henry Jones, founded the business. A prolific entrepreneur, Henry foresaw the potential of the pharmaceutical packaging market, which has since remained a main focus of the company’s business strategy across all three of its divisions (printed packaging, contract packaging, and health care).
Since Christine and her husband bought Jones from the other remaining members of the Jones family in 1996, the company has maintained its unwavering commitment to quality and patient safety, an approach that has attracted many of the world’s most recognized pharmaceutical and consumer brands. Jones also proudly supports the medication dispensing market through sales to pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities across Canada and Europe.
Serving this diverse and international customer base has led to a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years, including a second printed packaging facility and distribution centre in Guelph, overseas operations in the United Kingdom and Spain, and a contract packaging service provider in Toronto, which recently moved into a new state-of-the-art plant. The Toronto acquisition was the result of anticipating the trend of outsourcing the packaging of drugs, allowing Jones to become further entrenched within the drug manufacturing industry and its supply chain. Jones’ products are shipped around the world from both the Toronto-based facility and the London printed packaging plant, and are dispersed to Europe and Northern Africa from overseas locations.
The globalization of the company has also led to the establishment of key alliances with some of the most widely respected international brand and pharmaceutical packaging organizations. These relationships not only give Jones a high profile within the industry and around the world, but also provide the company with the opportunity to bring new ideas and best practices to the Canadian and North American markets first.
To support the expansion of the business, Jones made the strategic decision to move its head office and primary printed packaging converting facility across the city in London, Ontario in 1999. “Moving to the new, compliant facility was a huge step to propel our business forward; we now have 220 employees working at this site alone,” says Ron Harris. “Most of our employees are from London and bring strong skill sets to our operations. And, as a result of their deep commitment to the work, we have long-tenured staff with very low turnover.”
All four generations of Jones have recognized that people are the company’s most valuable asset. Not only does London have “a strong labour pool” for the printed packaging and healthcare divisions, but it offers many new graduates and summer interns from the graphic design program at Fanshawe College.
“IT TURNS OUT THAT BEING PHYSICALLY LOCATED IN LONDON IS GREAT FOR OUR BUSINESS,” NOTES CHRISTINE.
London is in close proximity to the U.S. border, as well as Toronto and Montreal—two healthcare pharmaceutical centres in Canada. “For our U.S. market, if you draw a line from California to Boston (the two largest biotech hubs), London falls right on that line. We are a well-positioned partner in that market’s vertical supply chain.” Christine explains.
Looking ahead, Christine and Ron see Jones becoming a more service-oriented company. As the business model changes, there will be a need for employees with different skills. Options are not restricted, and could include anyone from entrepreneurs with college degrees to workers with strong technology backgrounds.
As has always been the case for Jones, partnership is still key to its success. “Our world is getting smaller in terms of the marketplace, and information is exchanged quickly, so we have to react faster to be competitive,” argues Ron. “Bigger corporations have more resources. However, for small and mid-sized companies like us, we have to reach out to people.” Christine spends a substantial amount of time developing new partnership opportunities—her primary responsibility as principal of strategic initiatives and alliances.
One of those key relationships lies with the National Research Council (Canada) (NRC). “Collaboration with the NRC offers significant benefits and value,” says Ron Harris. The NRC provides Jones with access to laboratories and developing materials, and it brings manufacturing engineers and PhDs to our site. Also, given the extensive export aspect of our business, Jones works closely with Export Development Canada (EDC).”
In terms of its relations with educational institutions, Jones has worked with students from Fanshawe College’s international business program on a number of market research projects. The company also collaborated with the Schulich School of Business at York University as part of a strategy development project related to contract packaging. In addition, Jones has actively engaged in outreach to pharmacy schools across Canada, such as the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, related to the company’s activities in the healthcare sector.
Both Ron and Christine feel strongly that employers and schools could be doing much more to educate young people about the different professions that are available in the manufacturing industry. To that effect, Jones has been working with Professor David Wood at Ivey Business School at Western University for two years, aiming to increase awareness of these career opportunities among high school students.
In the future, Jones intends to continue to grow in new and existing markets with a focus on quality, innovation, and strategic expansion. “We have a comprehensive strategic plan for each division of our business, and we are dedicated to executing those ideas,” says Ron Harris. Christine adds, “These plans reflect our commitment to remaining a long-standing and respected manufacturer within the region, while aiming to take packaging to a whole new level around the world.”
Find out how Jones Packaging can help you with your packaging ideas by visiting their website.
Jones Packaging Inc. (Jones) is an international manufacturer of printed and contract- packaging and medical dispensing and delivery. Jones is a national and global industry leader.
Headquarters: 3000 Page St, London, ON, N5V 5H3, more than 340,000 sq.ft of space
Other facilities: 4 manufacturing/warehouse sites in Canada, distribution facilities in UK and Spain
- Ron Harris, President & CEO
- Chris Jones Harris, Principal
Year established: 1882
Number of employees: 350 employees for all sites
Revenues: 90 – 95 million CAD
Line of business
Advanced packaging manufacturing
NAICS: 561910 Packaging and Labeling Services
Specialties Printed Packaging: Folding Cartons, Shrink Sleeves, Pressure Labels, Leaflets, Packaging Line Consultation.
Contract Packaging Services: Blister Packaging, Pouching, Vial Filling, Cold Chain, Secondary Packaging
Healthcare: Vials, Jars & Bottles, Compliance Cards, Bags, Prescription, Labels, Operational Pharmacy Supplies, Automation, Long-term and Acute Care Medical Carts
Customers: include some of most recognized global brands, such as Nestle
Exports: Europe, Caribbean, United States, Middle East
Actively pursuing exports in South America, some European countries and United States.
Henry Jones and Frank Lawson started the company in 1882. The company continued developing advanced packaging competency, introducing the first child-safety vials and blister cards to the Canadian market. Chris Jones Harris and her husband Ron Harris purchased Jones Packaging from their family in 1996, becoming 4th generation Jones owners.
Lots of competitors both locally and globally, the packaging industry is already a mature market, and marketplace is getting smaller.
- International Packaging Group, PharmaPact (Europe), PAC—The Packaging Association, Consumer Health Products Canada (industry association) Consumer Health Products Association (consumer and industry non-profit), Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management, Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, Canadian Pharmacists Association, 5 other senior/long-term healthcare associations in BC, AB and ON
- The company has a strong relationship with National Research Council Canada (NRC) and Economic Development arms
- Chris is a past-board member of the London Economic Development Council
- Has participated in the Scientific Research & Experimental Development program, as well as the Industrial Research Assistance Program.
Education Institution partnerships:
- Jones Packaging Inc. works with design groups at Fanshawe College; hires co-ops and interns studying at Fanshawe College.
- Had a formal relationship with the International Business Program at Fanshawe College.
- Works with David Wood at Ivey Business School
- Works with the Schulich School of Business at York University on an MBA project.
- Has a partnership with pharmacy schools across Canada -with a current particular focus on the University of Waterloo.
- Help package pharmaceutical/health products for North American market
- Consult for companies on North American distribution and regulatory environments
- Hard to find sales people in the manufacturing sector
- New markets for health care packaging
- There is a current trend of outsourcing packaging in the Pharmaceutical manufacturing industry
- Transitioning to a service oriented business in marketing
- The ever-changing exchange rate
- Capital-intensive industry – capital expenses are in USD, and revenues are in CAD.
- 2007, 2004 – acquisition of contract and compliance packaging leaders, respectively
- 2013 – developing “smart packaging” with NRC—connect with smartphones, log when medications are taken, give reminders!
- June 12, 2015 – visit from NRC president, Minister of State Ed Holder, London MP to announce $5M federal investment in NRC, part of “factory of the future” program
- Nestle smart carton—the new portion-control Smarties box
- Gold, 2015 PAC Packaging Competition for Nestle Smartie carton and Colio winery gift box; as well as 2 silvers