(2/19/18 – Central New York Business Journal) If you are looking for an explanation for how Schneider Packaging Equipment, a 47-year-old company in a mature industry, managed to grow sales by 90 percent in 2017 over 2016, company President Bob Brotzki offers a one-word answer: focus.
“We didn’t split the atom,” he quips. “We narrowed our focus and gained a ton of efficiencies,” adds Michael Brewster, Schneider Packaging’s director of sales and marketing. He says sales jumped from $12 million in 2016 to $22.3 million in 2017.
The 120-employee company, located on Guy Young Road in Brewerton (Town of Cicero), designs and builds packaging equipment, the machines that turn cardboard flats into boxes full of products.
“If you don’t know a lot, that’s an asset because you have to simplify things,” Brotzki says. He spoke with people in all departments and learned what they thought needed to be done. “The answers have always been in this building,” he says. “We had to break down some walls,” he adds. For instance, control engineers were moved to be closer to the mechanical department.
He also learned that the company had core products it had designed and could build at a profit and other goods that had to be custom-designed and custom-built. The company tightened its focus on the former.
“We were really hunting with a shotgun, now we hunt with a rifle,” says Brewster. That change allowed the company to boost sales without having to increase the number of workers on the payroll.
Brotzki and Brewster see growth moderating in 2018. The goal is an 18 percent revenue increase. Brewster, who has added an inside sales position to the sales and marketing staff, says that increase isn’t going to come from changing the focus.
The complete story by Charles McChesney appears in the Feb. 19, 2018, edition of the Central New York Business Journal.