2015 saw a change in leadership at BW Container Systems. After 12 years with the organization and after serving in numerous leadership positions, Pete Carlson was named President of the organization. Former BWCS President, Neal McConnellogue, was named President of Barry Wehmiller’s largest division, BW PaperSystems. We sat down with Pete to meet the man behind the Vision (and to see how the transition is progressing)
Q. What does it mean to you to lead BW Container Systems?
I feel very humbled and honored to work alongside our 522 team members worldwide. I am also blessed to have an experienced leadership team that embraces our people-centric culture and together we have crafted a vision for a better future.
Q. You seem like a goal-oriented person. Can you articulate your goal for the business?
As a leadership team, we have two primary goals. First, to create an environment in which every team member can effectively share their gifts and talents and go home safe, well, and fulfilled each and every day. Secondly, our goal is to create, communicate, and support the vision of a better future for our team members. What does this mean? A sustainable business model that provides innovative solutions for our clients and allows our team members the opportunity to grow.
Q. What makes you confident you can organically grow this business in a packaging market that grows at around 3% annually?
First, we have great people who build great products. Secondly, we have a solid foundation built over decades. This was accomplished by building strong relationships and providing trusted solutions in our core markets of brewery, beverage and container manufacturing. These markets have and will continue to drive great value for our organization. Most importantly though, our success has allowed us to invest in innovation and grow our people at the same time. Our goal is to maintain our position of significance in our core markets, while growing into non-beverage markets like food, wine and distillery, personal care, pet food and others. That is happening, as we speak.
Q. How do you grow in markets where you don’t have 50 years of history like you have in beverage and container manufacturing?
You certainly have to have the right people, technology and solutions. In recent years, we have been very focused on innovative products and technologies. We have invested heavily and are taking the business to a new level and into new markets. Our robotic case palletizers and our AdaptA buffering technology are two examples of products that have enabled us to provide great value to clients in non-beverage markets. At the same time, however, we have applied that mentality to some of our fixed automation product lines, like can end handling. We have also invested in a dedicated team to champion these technologies in the market place.
Q. BW Container Systems is one of the largest suppliers in the World for robotic automation in the Packaging industry. How does that make you feel?
We are very proud of our robotics initiative. We have had great success, and it’s exciting and energizing for our entire organization. We have well over 200 robotic installations installed globally in over 10 countries. It has allowed us to bring innovative and flexible solutions to a diverse client base around the world.
Q. Your team seems to have a great Vision. What are the biggest challenges to achieving this vision?
There are a number of common challenges that all Packaging OEMs face. In my mind, Consolidation is a huge challenge for all of us. Fewer plants means fewer clients, so we have to be assertive in maintaining relationships and relentless about bringing differentiation. A challenge that is specific to our business is diversification. We have been working hard to build a balanced business that touches many market segments. We have invested in technology, as I mentioned before, but we have also invested in people. We have hired industry leaders in non-beverage markets that bring expertise and relationships in both our core and non-core markets.
Q. What message would you like to send to your team members and to your clients?
We have great people. We need to provide them more opportunities for growth. We have great products. We need to expose them to more and more markets. We have a great purpose of touching the lives of people. We have the opportunity to touch more and more team members and clients as we grow.
Q. You have a lot of energy, and I hear tale that you are pretty creative too? Where does that all come from?
It usually starts after a venti coffee with milk, every day (smiles). My mind is constantly focused on continuous improvement – in our culture, in our approach to the market, in our technology, and in our performance!