3000 Page St, London, Ontario, N5V 5H3
Year established -
Major expansions -
1999, 2004, 2007, 2013
US, EU, Asia-Pacific,
Jones Packaging is an international manufacturer of printed and contract-packaging and medical dispensing and delivery.
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 whose four generations of ownership and leadership have had the privilege to bear witness to a level of advancement that has taken the business to heights likely unimaginable to its founders. Today, with fourth generation family member Christine Jones Harris and her husband Ron Harris at the helm, history has proven that hard work, continuous innovation, valued partnerships, purposeful investment and flexibility are fundamental to business growth.
The company’s history can be traced back to 1882, when Chris’s great-grandfather, Henry Jones, founded the business. A prolific entrepreneur, Mr. Jones foresaw the potential of the pharmaceutical packaging market, which has since remained a primary focus of the company’s business strategy across all three divisions – Printed Packaging, Contract Packaging and Healthcare.
Since Chris and Ron bought Jones from the other remaining members of the family in 1996, the company has maintained its unwavering commitment to quality and patient safety, an approach that has attracted many of the most recognized global 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 over recent years, including a second printed packaging facility and distribution centre in Guelph, overseas operations in the UK and Spain, and a contract packaging service provider in Toronto, which recently moved into a new state-of-the-art plant. This important 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. Products are shipped around the world from both the Toronto-based facility and the London Printed Packaging plant, as well as into Europe and Northern Africa from our overseas locations.
The globalization of the company has also led to the establishment of key alliances with 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 be the first to bring new ideas and best practices to the Canadian and North American markets.
To support the expansion of the business, the company made the strategic decision to move its head office and primary printed packaging converting facility across the city in London 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,” said 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 provides the opportunity to hire 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,” noted Chris Jones Harris. 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 vertical’s supply chain.” Chris Jones Harris explained.
Looking ahead, Chris 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 people with strong technology backgrounds.
Also very clear is that partnership is the key to 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,” argued Ron Harris. “Bigger corporations have more resources. However, for small and mid-sized companies like us, we have to reach out to people.” Chris Jones Harris spends a substantial amount of time developing new partnership opportunities, the primary mandate of her position of Principal, 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,” said 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 worked with students in 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 Chris feel strongly that employers and schools could be doing much more to educate young people on the different professions that are available in the manufacturing industry. To that effect, Jones has been collaborating 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,” said Ron Harris. Chris Jones Harris added, “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.”
For more information about Jones Packaging, visit their website.
Published: August 8, 2016
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