When Tempo Plastics celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the award-winning Canadian flexible packaging provider and FTA member will be basking in its accomplishments and strong growth while projecting a discerning eye toward its future, which includes sustainability initiatives, keeping abreast of industry trends, continuing to invest in new equipment, and serving its valued customers who require high-quality graphics, consumer convenience and product security.
The privately owned business, managed by President Michael Mencarelli, Vice President of Quality Assurance Lee-Anne Giglio and Vice President of Marketing and Product Development Leonardo Giglio, is located an hour’s drive north of Toronto in Innisfil, where it specializes in custom-printed flexible packaging, which is supplied directly to manufacturers, food processors and advertisers. One of the few firms to offer extrusion to conversion under its roof, Tempo offers a variety of products from monolayer bags and films to various constructions, process printed laminated roll stock and pouches.
Quality is one of the firm’s points of emphasis. It has a mature ISO 9001:2015 quality system. Additionally, with a focus on supplying the food industry, it has a globally recognized Food Safety Initiative Standard of IFS PACsecure, a certification standard for primary and secondary packaging materials, which is designed to provide a high level safety and quality certification for food packaging material converters.
Tempo’s specialization in custom-printed flexible packaging has led the Canadian industry to take note and award the company for its print quality. “We’ve never been a company looking for accolades,” Giglio admits. “We’re a very humble firm that takes great pride in our products. Ten years ago, however, a customer suggested that we submit their flexible packaging product into an award competition because they were so impressed with the high quality of the printing. Since then, we’ve been entering different competitions and are elated to be chosen as award winners.”
At last year’s 2019 PAC Global Leadership Awards and the 2019 Canadian Leadership Awards, Tempo was part of eight awards, which it shares with its customers, including a Gold for Rebrand and Best of Show for Brand Marketing of Lovibles, and two silver awards for Compass Organic Apricots and Golfgreen NitroGROW.
Giglio is quick to emphasize that it is the firm’s 135 talented employees and its modern equipment that allow it to be selected for these awards. Its pressroom is dominated by an Evo XD, a key piece of equipment manufactured by Koenig & Bauer-Flexotecnica. Installed in 2013, the Evo XD is an 8-color model that allows Tempo to run film through it multiple times for additional colors or for registered surface lacquers such as matte varnish. It is joined by three other Flexotecnica Chronos presses, making Tempo the single largest Flexotecnica press operator in Canada and one of the largest in North America.
One of Tempo’s impressive pillars is its commitment to sustainability and its progressive mindset. Every product the company makes has a recyclable alternative to the traditional multilayer laminated structures, “with some limitations,” Giglio acknowledges, “but it’s a step in the right direction.” During the past year, sustainability in packaging has become a hot-button topic for manufacturers and consumers alike. Tempo has taken the lead by joining the PAC NEXT global initiative in its inaugural year and other organizations that promote sustainability as well as institute internal systems and offer specific products geared to this effort. Tempo has made it its goal to produce environmentally friendly packaging without compromising food safety within its 100,000 sq. ft. facility.
To better serve its customers, Tempo developed its HarmonyPack packaging solution, a recyclable structure available either as pouches or roll stock material derived from a single polymer polyethylene that can be recycled in the No. 2 polyethylene stream. Promoted as “guilt-free packaging,” HarmonyPack offers full HD graphics and barrier, if required, for shelf-stable products. It is applicable for products from small snack food sizes to large-format dog food bags. Intended markets include lawn and garden, frozen foods, pet treats, confections, nuts and seeds, coffee, bakery and snack foods. HarmonyPack is pre-qualified to use the “How2Recycle” logo, a standardized labeling system that visibly communicates recycling instructions to the public to offer reliable and transparent on-package recycling information to customers in North America. It made its debut last June at PakEx in Canada.
“We’re working hard to enlighten our customers and consumers about the push to eliminate waste,” says Giglio. “There’s been a major push among major companies to reduce their packaging waste to landfill. As a firm with a long and committed history to sustainability, we want to help our customers achieve these goals. We’re seeing that our customers have a heightened awareness about sustainability. We’re using this opportunity to both educate and provide them with solutions.”
Tempo’s customers are impressed and drawn to partner with the printer because of this commitment. One such customer is Les Aliments Dainty Foods, a Montreal-based packaged rice manufacturer, which was the first customer to utilize the new HarmonyPack product. Due to its advanced packaging technology, Tempo was able to print the pouches in six colors on its flexographic press and offer Dainty a stand-up, resealable pouch using a monolayer all- polyethylene (PE) film structure, which marks the introduction of Dainty’s new organic products line. To further emphasize the pouches’ sustainability capability as recyclable, Dainty decided to use the color green rather than its regular blue branding on other products.
While Tempo officially celebrated its 50th anniversary last month, the firm is eagerly preparing for a large party during the summer to mark the occasion. Giglio is planning an open house where Tempo’s employees, customers and suppliers will partake in a festive barbecue and tour the facility to see the firm’s newest equipment and services.
The management team at Tempo is proud of its humble beginnings and its historic growth. Joseph Giglio, Leonardo’s father, and his business partner, John Paterson, were the founders who designed the firm’s blueprint for success. The two men had been working in the bag converting business in Toronto when they decided to branch out on their own and start their own company. They opened Tempo Plastics in 1969 as a distributor purchasing and selling PE plastic bags. Their goal was slow and steady growth built on solid relationships with customers, suppliers and employees.
During the following years, the firm entered the converting poly bag market, began to extrude polyethylene film in 1973, and by 1976 had purchased its first flexographic printing press capable of printing six colors, quickly becoming vertically integrated under one strategic roof. In 1984, they moved the business from Mississauga to the small town of Innisfil, where they gained additional space. In 2008 they expanded the manufacturing plant to 100,000 sq. ft.—where it stands today—with talks of a potential future expansion to come.
Vision for the Future
The anniversary year also allows Tempo’s management to look to the future and plan for the next 50 years.
“Our management team is very hands on and attentive to the needs of our customers,” says Giglio. “While we’re going to continue to be a full-service HD flexo printer serving the short-run market, we’re also cognizant of the importance of using data to drive and control our decision-making. We’re doing our due diligence to understand the newest hybrid and flexo presses to build our infrastructure. These are important years where the industry is changing rapidly and there’s lots of moving parts. Our job is to focus on long-term growth and sustainability issues, and guide our company into the future with more complex and innovative product offerings while maintaining our reputation as a well-respected supplier in the flexo packaging market for our high-quality pouches. We’re a mid-size firm that is nimble enough to steer the ship in the right direction.”