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What I Learned from Bill Gates

“Innovation…requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs”. 

Bill Gates

 

I arrived in this world just 7 days earlier than Bill Gates, and while I do not know him personally, I’d like to think we have walked a similar path in terms of marketing. In my mind, there are companies that seek to offer a solution the market desires and there are companies that seek to create a market desire to fit their solution. Bill Gates understood the market wanted to access the benefits of computing without the barrier of complicated code. Windows was the solution that met that need.

KODIAKOTTON® did not create the desire for an alternative to “Styrofoam®” (more correctly, expanded polystyrene foam “EPS”) packaging. The market had long sought such an alternative, specifically a solution that was both environmentally and economically sustainable. To be sure, over the years packaging professionals have designed alternative insulations for protecting temperature-sensitive product shipments. Cellulose based, starch based, reflective laminates and other materials have been introduced, but failed to meet two equal and primary requirements: the packaging had to perform like foam and cost no more than foam. Meeting those two requirements remained elusive.

Founded in 2005, KODIAKOOLER® (then known as Providence Packaging) was created to serve the needs of temperature-sensitive product shippers. As a full-service distributor, KODIAKOOLER stocked foam packaging, refrigerants, and other allied packaging products. Over the years, manufacturers asked us to distribute alternatives to foam, but performance and/or cost were always a barrier to delivering an equal alternative. A natural fiber manufacturer approached us in 2012 with an alternative, but again, the solution failed to meet the requirements of the market.

In 2014, KODIAKOOLER began a transition from distributor to manufacturer/distributor. After much research, we identified natural fiber resources and developed specifications to provide consistent temperature maintenance performance comparable to foam. We then established converting operations and began the work necessary to manufacturing and distributing a reliable, cost-effective alternative to foam. That solution later became our trademark brand, KODIAKOTTON.

Today, KODIAKOTTON is disrupting temperature-sensitive product packaging markets. Many shippers using traditional foam products are transitioning to KODIAKOTTON. We are serving food, pharma, and industrial markets whose products must be protected against the effects of extreme heat and cold. KODIAKOTTON is manufactured from natural fiber and is biodegradable, recyclable¹, and reusable insulation. Our customers tell us consumers and patients alike are thrilled to receive their food and medications delivered in packaging that can be easily and responsibly disposed.

Our markets and customer base are expanding rapidly. We currently operate three national manufacturing and distribution centers, two of which have just transitioned into facilities with 2-4 times more space. We are producing millions of box liners and mailer/pouches. Our new KWIKPACK® box liner delivers the KODIAKOTTON two-piece box liner is an easy-to-store, easy-to-assemble one-piece bundle.  Additional expansion plans are underway.

 

KODIAKOOLER did not create the market for a more environmentally responsible packaging solution for shipping temperature-sensitive products. We did recognize an existing market desire and, through creativity and collaboration, designed a solution to meet that desire reliably and cost-effectively.

 

¹ subject to local capabilities

 

~Bob Menzel, Founder and CEO of KODIAKOOLER®

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I receive my medication every 85days and before I had to switch my benefits, my pharmacy provider would send my meds (which need to be kept cold) in a giant styrofoam cooler. With no way to recycle as my local and even accessible distance recyclers wouldn’t take styrofoam. My need for medication already brings me down, but styrofoam pkging made it worse. I tried to give it away for people to use to transport groceries, for beach trips or camping but eventually I had too many coolers! The guilt!
    Thank you for coming up with an environmentally acceptable solution. While changing my healthcare benefits has been an expensive nightmare, your product definitely eases my pain!
    I’ve asked my composting company if they will take whatever I can’t use in my garden and in my shopping bags..fingers crossed!
    Denise

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