Are we partners to our suppliers?


At Clute Packaging we continually strive to provide the best value to our customers and we
are always searching for ways to improve our service. With this in mind, we came across a great blog post that we felt would be beneficial.

ThomasnetEarlier this month, a popular blog we subscribe to called Thomasnet published a post entitled “Partners vs. Suppliers – Which One Are Buyers Looking For? “. After reading it we decided to do a little exercise and see how we stacked up.

First of all, the reason this post got our attention is because it hits right to the sweet spot
of our philosophy at Clute Packaging, and that is that we have built our business on
becoming partners with our customers. They trust us to provide the best solution for
their packaging requirements, and that goes way beyond just selling and installing

The blog post on Thomasnet lists five factors that can position a business as a supplier
and not simply a vendor. We decided to see how we stacked up:

1. Prove your value
Our association with Pro Mach allows us to be a total end to end packaging solution, with
an easily accessible parts supply and tremendous resources for consulting.

2. Price is not king
Anyone who has read our previous blog posts realizes our position on price. We strongly
recommend to our customers that they consider the overall value and not just the cost of
equipment. As it says in the post: “upfront cost savings don’t always translate to longterm
value, and can actually end up costing more over time if there are quality or reliability issues.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

3. Tell your story
The post says “Putting a human face on your business creates a connection.” We think the fact that we are a family business that has been growing for 30 years allows us to check this box!

4. Be upfront and proactive
The key phrase here is “how you differentiate yourself from the competition.” We think
that the philosophy that has guided our company for the past 30 years speaks to how we
strive to differentiate ourselves from other suppliers in this industry. Our standard
practice of complying with CSA Z432-4 guidelines even though it puts us at a price
disadvantage sets us apart from companies that sell on cheap price only.

5. Go beyond the transaction
This is something we do as a matter of course, and we always have. Our association with
Pro Mach affords us very unique opportunities to be “innovation leaders” and keep our
customers aware of new technologies.

In summary, we found this exercise very enlightening. It is good to know that we cover all
the points in the Thomasnet post on how to be partners with our customers. One thing
that we felt should have been mentioned, however, is what we will call Point 6:
“Always strive to be better today than you were yesterday.”

If you would like investigate partnering with us for your end to end packaging
requirements, call us at 1-888-402-5883

SUNSET Produce brought greenhouses to North America


About 60 years ago there were no commercial greenhouses in North America.  That’s when an Italian immigrant named Umberto Mastronardi, who had arrived in Canada in the 1920’s from Italy, travelled to Holland to study greenhouse technology.  Upon his return to Canada, he built the first greenhouses on this continent and today, Mastronardi Produce Ltd. (MPL), under the SUNSET Produce brand is the largest greenhouse company in North America.

From those humble beginnings MPL has become not only a leader in the business of growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouses, it has also become a model of innovation, safety and corporate responsibility worldwide.  Among the many accolades MPL has received:

  • Named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
  • Joined the Non-GMO Project and received its certification in 2010
  • Developed highly efficient transportation network with distribution locations in Ontario, Mexico,  Michigan, Florida, Colorado and California
  • Developed a comprehensive food safety program that utilizes the internationally accepted Safe Quality Foods (SQF) standards

MPL employs a VP of Food Safety who holds a doctorate degree and two microbiologists to monitor every aspect of their operation. This allows  MPL to monitor the appearance of bacteria and molds  that could reduce shelf life in their products.  It also allows MPL to detect a food-borne threat well in advance of government regulations.

How important is this?  That question was answered in 2008 during the Salmonella outbreak.  As president and CEO Paul Mastronardi explains:

“The industry was frozen in the middle of a Saintpaul salmonellosis outbreak, which is a rare and very dangerous strain. CNN approached us, because at the time the food industry thought an effective traceability system couldn’t be done, but we had one in place since 2002,” admits Paul.

Since that time, the province of Ontario has made traceability systems like the ones MPL uses mandatory.

Mastronardi Produce Ltd. and its SUNSET Produce brand has as its motto “Goodness Grown Naturally.”  Here are some examples of how they put that motto into practice:

  • Created the only carbon negative greenhouse in Canada (as audited by a third party).  This is GENIUS:  The MPL team designed the greenhouse to connect to a nearby industrial plant, which supplies the greenhouse with its excess heat and CO2 to warm the greenhouse during cold winter months.
  • MPL’s popular tomatoes not only grow in state-of-the-art greenhouses producing lower gases, they grow in earth-friendly recycled coconut husks using fewer chemicals and fertilizer from recycled leach water from the plants.
  • MPL also prioritizes the use of alternate fuels, and the company has even developed an integrated pest management system to avoid pesticides and insecticides naturally.

We at Clute Packaging Systems are very proud of our relationship with Mastronardi Produce Ltd.  We believe that their core values as a company line up perfectly with ours, and that can be seen in how we do not simply supply a service at the lowest possible cost, but we over deliver to do the right thing every time.

If you would like to discuss your packaging system, contact us any time.  We would love to add your company to our list of satisfied clients.