The Innovative Packaging with Ijlal Ahmed feature #77 of Together Talks
"Together Talks" feature #77: The Innovative Packaging presented by KLS, freight company
Some Background on The Innovative Packaging
For today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to interview Ijlal Ahmed, Founder, of The Innovative Packaging. The company provides designing, printing, and packaging under one roof. They strive to give their clients the quality they desire at an affordable rate. The Innovative Packaging is your premier destination for top-tier printing and packaging solutions. A dynamic and innovative company dedicated to transforming your creative visions into tangible, eye-catching products. With a commitment to quality, sustainability, and cutting-edge technology, they have established themselves as a leading force in the world of printing and packaging. Whether you're a startup seeking to make a memorable first impression, an established business looking to revamp your branding, or an individual with a unique project in mind, they are here to exceed your expectations. Join them on a journey where innovation, precision, and customer satisfaction converge to redefine the possibilities of printing and packaging.
The beginning of the company started in 2020. The Innovative Packaging was founded here in the States at the tail end of the Pandemic in 2020. Ijlal's family has run a printing and packaging business for decades in Pakistan. While working with many companies we are familiar with here in the US, they never had brought their business over to serve this market directly. That changed when Ijlal was visiting friends in 2020. He didn't realize that a simple conversation would become his first client and the start of his business.
His friend was starting a soap company manufacturing here in the US. He needed help finding someone to handle the printing and packaging. Ijlal said he could handle that. His friend took him up on the proposal but just wanted to start with the design. Ijlal told us that once the design was done, his friend wanted to continue the process. Next was the manufacturing and shipping of the product here to the US. "While I was here we had everything done and completed and in hand here in the states from Pakistan in about 20-25 days.", Ijlal shared. Such quick turnaround time they were allowed Ijlal to manage the product and contribute to the product reaching the market. He also realized that there was a real opportunity to provide these services here in the US.
When helping his friend, he didn't have a company, a business, or anything except the knowledge and resources to get the work done. While he joked that was technically his first client, it ultimately ended up being the seed that would manifest into his business today.
But I didn't have company back then I didn't have anything back then. So that was technically my first client. He did mention the initial challenges though when creating The Innovative Packaging. "We ran into two issues. One being it is taboo when companies here that the operations are in Pakistan. Two that we haven't been here in the US for a long time. It was extremely challenging for us to get an opportunity to show companies what we offered and could provide for their company and their products.", Ijlal explained.
They started out using pseudo names, trying to lessen the instant judgement they received from prospects. Ijlal and his company were trying every tactic they could to be taken as a serious player in the printing and packaging space. But he shared with us he luckily met some incredible people while here in the US. In time it allowed him to gather enough traction and support from now clients that they were able to resort to being who they truly are. They were no longer judged by where they are from or their birth name, but rather by the quality of their products and service. Ijlal mentioned that creating these connections with businesses is what they strive for. As a result, he loves sourcing new business with startups. He explained he loves building a personal connection with his clients, and rarely does that happen with big corporations. Rather, he can develop that bond with a Founder and give them the benefit of the doubt that he yearned for when he started The Innovative Packaging.
Owning the manufacturing
While the manufacturing plant being based in Pakistan caused initial challenges for the company, it has proven to be a huge competitive advantage. The reason? They own their manufacturing. Ijlal explained why this is such a critical component and how it benefits the customers, "A competitor of ours secures a client and then outsources their work to India, Bangladesh, or even China. If there is a change to something they have to go through their vendor, but ultimately they are at the mercy of this vendor. We excel because we own this process. If a customer has a change, we control that. We don't have to wait for a partner of ours." This ability to be flexible, nimble, and adaptable allows his company to provide superior turnaround times.
This customer service focus has allowed The Innovative Packaging to increase their presence here in the states. Ijlal mentioned that while their operations back in Pakistan and the UAE work with large companies like Nestle and Coca-Cola, their focus here were newer companies. He mentioned that being able to support and help these companies grow is very fulfilling. "Rarely can a startup place an order for a small quantity. We offer that because we believe in the relationship with our clients. Not everyone can come out of the gate ordering 20,000 quantity. I've had clients first order with me be for 50 units or they spend $350. And now years later they are ordering 15K, 18K, 20K every month. We designed our operation to provide an option to a company regardless of their size.", Ijlal told us.
The people is the focus of building these relationships. Ijlal commented that being able to speak directly to the Founder when dealing with startups brings an element of trust in using his company. From sharing samples of past customers, to testimonials of happy clients, to bringing an idea and vision to life is such a fun and creative process. Speaking with founders and creators he credits is something he is extremely comfortable doing. "I understand where they are in their journey and can relate. Our goal is to help them meet their need. No two companies are the same, and our level of care and customization brings a tailored approach to every client we handle.", Ijlal mentioned.
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Customer needs first
Ijlal first experience with running a business was during his time in University. He ran a clothing company. Repping multiple brands required him to work with manufacturers to have the inventory ready. One thing he realized was the quantity required to have an order placed. Being in college and trying to run a business, there was only so much finances available to keep the business running. Not only those expenses but also warehousing was another component that created challenges for him. Living this experience firsthand allowed Iljlal to tailor his approach to his clients now in a way to support them, not bleed them dry.
"My concern for startups has always been building a relationship with them at the start. Earning their trust goes a long way to us creating the rapport that is possible.", Ijlal shared. They attempt this from the beginning with these startups by not getting into bidding wars or having minimum order amounts. These types of companies can be working out of an office or their home or garage, inventory in mass quantities does not help them. Instead, The Innovative Packaging Company works as an ally as a partner to provide the exact need at any given moment for a client. Getting in touch with the right person and understanding where they are in their journey is one of the most important questions that Ijlal likes to ask a client.
Packaging was always an interest for Ijlal, he found a real passion for it. The ability to develop and create something out of nothing and bring a client's vision to a tangible product is such a rewarding position for his company. He mentioned how what they provide isn't a cookie cutter approach, it isn't a basic product you make in mass quantities. Rather it is customized product, 100%, for each client. He reminisced on being back in Pakistan and always being able to see new products come out and how eye-catching they are, being able to replicate that here in this new market has been very inspiring to Ijlal.
"Every time I work with a new client and we go through the process it reinvigorates me. This is what I want to work on every day. Meeting incredible people and helping develop their ideas to create new products and grow their companies.", Ijlal shared. The packaging industry has given him that opportunity. It motivates Ijlal to network even more and meet incredible people who he can help with his company's products and services. He said that is the main goal is continuing to develop and maintain these relationships they are creating.
In his blood
This industry is in Ijlal's blood. His grandfather and father are both in the industry and have been running this type of business for nearly 50 years. Ever since he was a little kid, it is all that he has known. Ijlal mentioned he has traveled worldwide, including the Middle East, Europe, and the US. When he came here back in 2020, prior to starting his business, he started taking notes on products here in this market. He believed that he could enter this market and make real sustainable impact for companies.
One way they create this is using fully recycled material for all of their products. The environment is a huge concern for The Innovative Packaging Company. Ijlal explained he posted an image on his social media of one of their projects and got tremendous feedback from prospects. He said that was the holy grail of feeling like they made it. They wanted prospective clients to understand what is achievable and what working with The Innovative Packaging truly entails. Their focus on quality and service speaks volumes. They also focus on removing stress and anxiety from their clients. Ijlal explained, "You get your products from us. We will provide the designs and work to empower them with the tools to provide a streamlined operation for them. We tell our clients, leave the printing and packaging to us and you focus on all other aspects of running your business. Allow us to get every single component done for you."
First, but most crucial step
He explained that printing and packaging can be very tricky, but it is imperative because it is the first thing a prospective customer sees. Packaging speaks about a company's product. Many companies aren't willing to change their packaging manufacturer because of perceived challenges that come with it. The Innovative Packaging is hoping to alleviate some of those concerns and provide a better and smoother option for companies' needs.
The company is hoping to create a platform for clients and prospects to answer every question they have regarding their packaging needs. One element in development is AR that they hope to integrate in the next couple of months. The app will allow the packaging to be shared with the client over an app providing a 3D model in front of you. Again, the focus here is fully customizable solutions for their clients.
Ijlal mentions, "A company's product on the shelf or on a website with people not liking it results in the product not being sold. Often times the product in the packaging can be secondary when trying to gain market share. The challenge companies face is garnering interests and attention from prospective customers." Their quality of product and commitment to creating the vision of the clients they work with have resulted in tremendous retention for The Innovative Packaging.
Piece of Advice
The conversation with Ijlal ended with him sharing his advice.
"It's not easy. People say it's easy at the start. It's not. Sometimes, we worked every day, and we weren't getting a single line.
As I told you before, we couldn't close a single line. We were begging people to give us their business.
But it takes work. But a lot of luck is involved because I've seen many people shut down their startups and everything.
A lot of luck is involved, but that's just 20%.
80% is your hard work. So I feel if you keep on working hard and be consistent in what you're doing, I think consistency in any startup is the key.
So I feel if you're being consistent with what you're doing, you're doing it with a good heart, you're doing it not to rip people off, you're always going to get success.
You're always, always going to get success. So it's for me, it's always been consistency, commitment and hard work. That's it."
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KLS wants to thank The Innovative Packaging and Ijlal Ahmed, Founder, for today's "Together Talks" feature. Keep up to date with The Innovative Packaging by following their blog on their website, check it out here. Follow along for the The Innovative Packaging journey with their social handles below!
Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with The Innovative Packaging feature #77
*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!
Our precise and reliable effort.
We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.
Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.
Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.
The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.
Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.
Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.
You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.
For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.
This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.
Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.
Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth
LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).
Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.
FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.
Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution
What makes KLS different?
There are thousands of freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.
Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.