Spearhead Family: John Coffman, Quality Control Manager

For our Spearhead Family post this month we are highlighting our newest Spearhead Group team member, John Coffman, Quality Control Manager. John joined Spearhead this February and shares insights below on what it means to be part of our team.

Tell us about joining The Spearhead Group. What makes you excited to join the team?John: There are many reasons why I am excited to join Spearhead. I was so lucky to find a job close to home based out of the Quality Lab in Yardley. It was meant to be! The company’s passion for sustainability and quality really factored in my decision to join Spearhead. Not too many companies put their money where their mouth is when it comes to quality and sustainability–Spearhead does. They are always actively thinking and working on ideas with long-term benefits. It’s exciting to be a part of. In addition, my role allows me to be hands-on in our test lab with the awesome products we work with and develop.

Tell us a little more about your background and what excites/inspires you to work on product development? I graduated from Temple University with a History and Political Science degree, and soon got involved in Quality Control, working at U-Haul’s manufacturing plants. I think what I love most about my career path in Quality is being on the floor collaborating with production and engineering staff, as well as vendors and suppliers to troubleshoot problems and find solutions to manufacturing processes. This is when I can most directly apply problem-solving skills while getting to know the people I work with and do business with. It’s awesome!

The Spearhead Group has 5 core values (1. Focus on Sustainability and Diversity; 2. Innovative Thinking; 3. Do the Right Thing; 4. Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues and Suppliers; 5. Go the Extra Mile with Entrepreneurial Spirit). How do you practice these values?

  • Focus on Sustainability & Diversity: Like many people, I love being outside and enjoying what nature has to offer. As a result, I have been very conscious of the amount of waste I contribute to the world and try to cut back where I can. It is important to me to work for a company that values the environment. Spearhead walks the walk, and the team is always thinking of sustainable designs when it comes to packaging. I love it.
  • Diversity: I don’t think civilization would have gotten this far if it was not for being open to and accepting diversity. This was one of the things I loved most about Temple University. I had friends and classmates from all around the world and the campus was so accepting of everyone. It created discussions that were so valuable and fun that it makes me wonder how anyone would not want to create this type of environment.
  • Innovative Thinking: Innovative thinking is so important to problem solving and process improvement, something I confront every day in manufacturing. Spearhead applies innovative thinking not only to Quality (for example, creating new performance tests for our products) but also to development, enabling us to constantly move forward.
  • Do the Right Thing: The first thing that comes to mind is the important message behind the Spike Lee classic movie, Do the Right Thing. Doing the right thing is extremely important not only in business, but in life. It’s a way of living and working that really speaks to a person’s character and integrity. Whether admitting to a mistake, being truthful to a client or a friend, or just following a traffic law, our actions affect everyone around us….so, Do the Right Thing!
  • Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues and Suppliers: I think this value goes hand in hand with Doing the Right Thing. When working with clients, suppliers, and coworkers, we are all in this together. Not against one another. With that in mind, being considerate of certain conditions, whether a client or supplier, can only contribute to a productive and open relationship.
  • Go the Extra Mile with Entrepreneurial Spirit: Having this type of attitude and work ethic is important in the manufacturing and business sectors because of the constant changing world around us. The ability to adapt and be open to change is constantly tested by the pace of change in technology and manufacturing processes. As companies continue to automate, new problems continue to arise. As a person who works in Quality, this keeps me on my toes and constantly thinking of ways to be proactive and anticipate issues that may arise. You know, the fun stuff!

Spearhead’s Autocartoner Investment Accelerates

Our New High Speed Autocartoner is Set to Revolutionize the Market

In 2020, The Spearhead Group made the bold decision to invest in a high speed AFA Systems Autocartoner at their Kentucky Flagship location within the office of Spearhead PioneerAcuity Packaging & Logistics. Since this investment, Spearhead has supported more end-to-end inquiries for projects. The reason is simple, most clients want to see an end-to-end, holistic solution to their packaging needs. This means design and development of cartons, not only to fit their brand and sustainability goals, but also to address operating efficiencies all the way through to the final co-packing.

Gone are the days of purchasing value added packs (VAPs) from multiple sources and awkward coordination with separate co-packing sites. In the past, co-packing sites rarely viewed VAP planning details until materials landed at their facility, creating a scramble to figure out the most effective assembly solution. Through our Spearhead end-to-end solution, clients can consolidate every part of the process with multiple partners to design efficiencies from the first creative process to final assembly. Our autocartoner builds to specification to ensure high speed, lower-cost assembly, all with just one-point of contact for our clients.“Our autocartoner program has been a great resource for client inquiry and collaboration and makes great business sense,” said Robert Catalano, Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Founder of The Spearhead Group. “Programs like VAPs pose systemic challenges on time, bandwidth, and budgets. High speed autocartoning allows us to address integrated brand goals every step of the way, creating efficiency and sustainability. Our autocartoner is just the latest example of how we strive to enhance client solutions and find new ways to revolutionize the marketplace.”If you want to learn more about how your next program can benefit from our Autocartoner solution, please reach out to Lana Toler. We will be happy to review your needs – but don’t delay! Line time is filling up for 2022. We look forward to sharing our latest Spearhead innovation.

Spearhead Continues to Develop and Sponsor University Programs for Innovative Change

Spearhead is once again developing and sponsoring University Programs to continue to advance R&D of innovation in PBE™. The challenge for this year’s Spearhead University Programs will be to create the most sustainable Value Added Package (VAP) in the market.

In 2021, we coordinated programs with two schools: Istituto Europeo di Design in Torino, Italy and Ibero University in Mexico City, Mexico. This year, The Spearhead Group is proud to announce the selection of three universities, including one in the U.S.  We anticipate over 20+ teams of students to participate in this exciting program across three countries. We will be sharing more details throughout the year; stay tuned to our LinkedIn and Blog for our final University selections.

“When it comes to PBE™ innovation, R&D and sustainability, I have found that working with bright and upcoming students results in a tremendous amount of new and unique ideas,” said Robert Catalano, Chief Innovation Officer & Co-founder. “For years, the packaging space has become fairly static, pushing out new graphics over new carton engineering. However at Spearhead, we pride ourselves as market disrupters by constantly pushing for change. The only way we can achieve change is by driving innovative thinking first and not wait for market trends. We strive to make the market trends. Creating and sponsoring university programs is just one of the ways we go about accomplishing this.”

 

National Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 17th marks National Random Acts of Kindness Day. What random act of kindness will you share with someone today? Do you have any planned service for 2022?

While reflecting on what random acts of kindness makes people think of (maybe something nice, something immediate, usually for a stranger), this day also reminds us of planned service opportunities to help others. In 2021, the Spearhead Gives Back Program was developed for employees to give back to causes that they believe in and gives two days of PTO per year to volunteer! What is more motivating than knowing your company appreciates that everyone in your company has a passion for a cause or project?!

Lana Toler, Spearhead’s Marketing & Innovation Manager, is a huge advocate for the Arts (including music!) in schools. “I am very appreciative for Spearhead’s Gives Back Program, which allowed me to donate my time to The Producers, a non-profit organization that enhances student experiences in Youth Performing Arts School by providing substantial programmatic and material support for classroom learning and production expenses that are not included in the school budget. I volunteered, with my son, to park cars during a yearly art fair St. James Art Fair in Kentucky. We parked cars for 8 hours in the parking lots of his High School, where he is a member of Youth Performing Arts School as a percussionist. Between 4 parking areas, we raised $16,780 parking cars! The goal was $14,000 and the money goes to help support the arts and in particular in 2021 replacing all of the tubas!”

If you have the opportunity to make a difference for your cause or project, schedule time to volunteer today!

Spearhead Raises the Bar Again for R&D and Sustainable Physical Brand Enhancements™

Spearhead is once again raising the bar for R&D and Sustainable Physical Brand Enhancements™

Over the past several years, The Spearhead Group has been successful in eliminating 100% of the plastic in our Physical Brand Enhancement™(PBE™) offerings and reducing paper usage in our cartons and rigid box designs by up to 30%. This has resulted in our reducing CO2 production emissions by thousands of metric tons, and we are just getting started.

One of Spearhead’s Core Values is our commitment to sustainability, and we put that into everything that we create. We do this because when we look around we see so much waste resulting from single use packaging. For example, globally humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since large-scale production of the synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, according to an October 2021 study published in the Journal Science Advances. Of that total waste, only 9% was recycled, 12% percent was incinerated, and 79% accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.  The negative effects of plastics in our environment due to failing recycling programs as well as studies finding more and more microplastics in our oceans are compelling. In addition to eliminating plastic, we are commitment to the reduction in our overall paper usage in our engineered designs, which not only reduces the impact on forests, but also directly reduces the overall CO2 output into the environment (when compared to previously used package designs by our clients).

Spearhead will continue to deliver sustainable PBE™ by collaborating with our Strategic Material Pioneers and Spearhead Pioneer converters by offering environmentally responsible substrates and processes.

In order to achieve more advancements in sustainable PBE™, Spearhead is making more investments into R&D. This not only includes continuing to invest in more R&D equipment for Spearhead’s Innovation Lab, but also expanding our global University programs and co-op student teams. Last year Spearhead kicked off our first Co-op program with Drexel University taking on Christian Flores. This program is working so well that Spearhead has now committed to take on even more co-op students this spring to continue to grow the Innovation Lab.

If you are looking for an organization that takes sustainably seriously, please contact Lana Toler and let us see what we what we can create for you.

Spearhead Announces Supplier Partnership with Low Ego – My Focus Beads

The Spearhead Group is proud to announce that we are the supplier of custom made, limited-edition wooden boxes for an amazing brand called Low Ego.

Low Ego is an Atlanta, Georgia based company that focuses on the empowerment and compassion of its customers and followers. By understanding the company values and the ultimate goal of the brand, we incorporated and developed a magnetic top that is aligned in order to hold the My Focus Bead bracelets in place. The unique aspect of these wooden boxes is that they were developed by our R&D team in our Innovation Lab in Yardley, Pennsylvania which allows the Spearhead team to build out packaging and Physical Brand Enhancement ™ from concept to finished product using the most advanced technology available.

All My Focus Bead bracelets are handmade in the US and have a unique story about connection and drawing people together. One of the beads is magnetic, so when someone else has a bracelet you can connect to each other. We found the story to be intriguing which is why we incorporated a magnet into the box design.

About Low Ego –  My Focus Beads

Dating back to prehistory, humans have used beads as reminders. On each bracelet, there are four beads that hold meaning. There are a set of three beads that are assigned specific focuses. Feel free to follow the preset focuses or assign your own. What is important is that you have a reminder on your wrist that keeps you focused on what matters to you. There is also one solo hematite bead that symbolizes connection. No matter what we desire out of life individually, we are all still part of a collective. We believe that having a constant reminder that we are all in this journey together will empower the wearer with more healthy relationships with the people around them.

Spearhead Family: Kyle Keaveney, Assistant Product Development Manager

For our Spearhead Family post this month we are highlighting the newest Spearhead Group team member, Kyle Keaveney, Assistant Product Development Manager. Kyle joined Spearhead in this January and shares more below about his excitement to be a part of the team and work on product development.

Tell us about joining The Spearhead Group. What makes you excited to join the team?
Kyle: There are several things that excited me about the opportunity to join The Spearhead Group. First was the rate of growth, since Spearhead was founded in 2018 the company has grown at an exponential rate and is quickly becoming a leader in the world of packaging innovations. Secondly, despite the rate of growth, the group has held tight to its core values of client satisfaction and respect. As an employee looking for a long-term opportunity these are things that were very important to me, a growing company with strong corporate values. I am very excited to learn, assist and contribute to Spearhead on its journey forward.

Tell us a little more about your background and what excites/inspires you to work on product development?
I graduated from Kutztown University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a focus on policy and procedure. It was during my time at school that I began to thoroughly enjoy the application of policy in society and seeing the impact it has on people’s daily lives. This interest is what led me to my first job opportunity in the compliance field. My first professional role was as a Compliance Manager for a facility services organization, Fleetwash Inc., where I learned operational compliance with a focus on safety. I learned a lot through this position such as collecting data and formulating reports to be sent to the investors. But perhaps the most important thing that I took away from this position was the implementation of compliance at a hands-on level with crews on jobsites, and the actual application of the corporate regulations. This became abundantly clear during the height of the global pandemic. Some of my most valuable experiences at Fleetwash Inc. were on New Jersey Transit sanitization jobs when I was collecting bacteria samples pre and post treatment recording data of how effective the process was.

I then took a position with at Bed Bath and Beyond where I practiced corporate compliance and gained experience in product Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and enforcing safety requirements for a wide variety of products in the hardlines category with a focus on kitchenware (dishes and kitchen appliances) and furniture. That role provided me with valuable exposure to large corporation compliance and methodology. It is my prior experience with policy, safety and compliance that have led me to this new opportunity in product development at Spearhead. My goal now is to build on some of my product safety & compliance experience, and to learn and grow into the challenging field of product development.  I am very excited about this opportunity Spearhead has afforded me, to help manage and develop products from design through delivery.

The Spearhead Group has 5 core values (1. Focus on Sustainability and Diversity; 2. Innovative Thinking; 3. Do the Right Thing; 4. Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues and Suppliers; 5. Go the Extra Mile with Entrepreneurial Spirit). How do you practice these values?
The 5 core values of Spearhead is what sets us apart from our competitors making us a business model that is truly one of a kind.

  • Focus on Sustainability and Diversity:   I love the outdoors and hobbies such as biking, fishing, and camping are a few of my favorites. As such corporate sustainability is personally very important to me. Our environment is an extremely delicate resource and creating and practicing a sustainable business model allows me to know that my work is helping provide a better life for generations to come. Creating a diverse workplace is something all leading global companies are striving for. Diverse companies like Spearhead provide opportunities for people of all different backgrounds and perspectives to work collaboratively towards a common goal.
  • Innovative Thinking: A company that fails to innovate and think forward will fail as a company. Product development will provide me with the platform to demonstrate innovative thinking which is crucial to sustaining business growth in an ever-changing market. A recent example at Spearhead is the adding of a test lab to our headquarters when turnaround times for test lines in the industry are at an international standstill due to the global pandemic.
  • Doing the right thing: Doing the right thing may not always be the easiest thing to do, but clearly it is the most important thing. It’s who we are as people, always acting with integrity, and who we are as a company. At Spearhead this spans from ensuring we develop the highest quality sustainable products, being transparent and communicating throughout the process, to delivering the highest quality products and services to customers.
  • Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues and Suppliers: This value is incredibly important, as respect for all goes hand and hand in business. Treat others as you want to be treated. Being respectful to others is something that each person needs to feel valued and appreciated, whether it’s being respectful of someone’s background, point of view, decision, time or experiences.
  • Go the Extra Mile with Entrepreneurial Spirit: Spearhead was founded because of an entrepreneurial spirit and is demonstrated in our offices every day. Going the extra mile ensures that our clients are completely satisfied with the process and final product. By using the same entrepreneurial spirit that Spearhead was founded on I intend to develop relationships with each of the projects that I work on to take accountability and great pride in our products and services.

Giving Back: Robert Catalano, CINO/Co-founder Shares His Personal Causes

With the start of November, we all start thinking about the causes close to us that we would like to give back to. We reached out to Robert Catalano, CINO/Co-founder, about his  personal causes. Read below to learn more about our conversation with Robert and let us know about your personal causes.

What volunteer organizations are you involved with or have deep meaning to you?
SCORE, an organization that provides a wide range of services to established and budding business owners alike, is one that I am proud to be a part of. SCORE is a network of volunteer, expert business mentors,  dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. They provide continued advice and support.

Additionally, The Spearhead Group has  created and sponsored programs with global universities that specialize in design and engineering to provide PVC Rods that can be utilized for a larger community benefit.

What’s your volunteer style? Are you the person who ends up helping at the event or the project organizer?
I’m a project organizer.

Why do you choose to give back?
I give back because I know how hard things can be without someone or a support system to help and offer advice.

What excites you about starting The Spearhead Group Give-Back Program?
As a company, it is important to look outside of your own corporate bubble, with our teams’ skills and talent, I see a lot of good that we can put out in our communities. Giving back feels good and it really is a great motivator.

We’re Proud to Announce Our New Co-Op Program with Drexel University: Introducing Christian Flores

We are excited to announce our new Co-Op program with Drexel University in Philadelphia. “Cooperative education at Drexel enables undergraduate students to balance classroom theory with practical, hands-on experience prior to graduation.” This program allows for Drexel students to be a part of a co-op program for a six-month period with an approved University employer.

This fall, we welcomed our first co-op employee/student, Christian Flores. Christian is studying at Drexel to obtain a Bachelors in Business and Engineering. Unlike most internships, Christian is getting a full hands-on experience right from the start. The Spearhead team welcomed Christian into the R&D lab to work closely with Robert Catalano, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer. Since joining just a few weeks ago, Christian has had the opportunity to participate in product development brainstorming, 3D print multiple new prototypes, design and laser cut multiple substrates and provide real time innovative solutions, all from a passionate and fresh new perspective.

“This Co-op position is very meaningful to me because The Spearhead Group gave me the opportunity to challenge my mind to think in new innovative ways,” expressed Christian. “I’m learning hands on about the R&D process and what it’s like to see a product through its development. Every day I spend at The Spearhead Group is another day spent gaining valuable skills, building connections, and putting my creativity to the test. I couldn’t be more excited to see what challenges and new experiences these next couple of months have to offer me. I’m confident that by the time the end of my co-op cycle ends I will have a work experience that will prove to be very useful in my future career.”

“This dynamic program is one that we wish that we had started years ago,” said Robert. “Christian is an extremely fast learner and has already advanced several of our R&D projects ahead of schedule. He is also bringing a lot of his own ideas to the team and we are keen on giving him more and more leeway to expand on some of his own R&D concepts.”

The Drexel co-op isn’t the first program that The Spearhead Group has worked on with innovative students at global universities. Over the last few years, The Spearhead Group has had the opportunity to sponsor programs at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) Turin and Ibero University in Mexico City. Robert and The Spearhead Group are interested in expanding their programs with Drexel to include 2 co-op students next spring. In addition, they are hoping to sponsor programs similar to IED and Ibero for other universities over the next year.

“Students provide a new perspective in innovation and The Spearhead Group looks forward to being at the forefront with them,” said Jessica Knee, Business Administration Manager at The Spearhead Group. “We are excited to not only provide these students with an opportunity now, but to also open doors for what they can pursue in the future.”

The Spearhead Group Wins Diageo “Special Project Champion Award”

We are so proud to announce that The Spearhead Group has won the “Special Project Champion Award” from Diageo. Each year, Diageo holds an award ceremony to recognize its suppliers. Diageo works with thousands of talented suppliers, and only a small pool are nominated. “Winning the Special Project Champion Award is an accomplishment shared by every member of our team. This award acknowledges all the heart and soul that we put into every project, and speaks to the true partnership between Diageo and their suppliers,” says Heather Fritzsche, CEO and Co-Founder of The Spearhead Group, Inc. Spearhead was also nominated for the 2021 Supplier of the Year Award; this is the second year the team has been nominated for this award.

The Diageo “Special Project Champion Award” is given to partners that have made a substantial, positive impact on one or more Diageo brands or critical projects, and demonstrated leadership by initiating and propelling new and creative project ideas on time, on budget, and through proactive risk and opportunity identification. CONGRATS TO THE SPEARHEAD TEAM!

Perry Jones, President of North America Supply, Diageo NA shares more about the awards on the website. Click here to read more: https://www.diageo.com/en/news-and-media/features/diageo-north-america-honors-top-performing-partners-at-11th-annual-supplier-awards/

Welcome to The Spearhead Group Blog

The Spearhead Group provides Physical Brand Enhancements to clients in the spirits, beauty and personal care industries. Headquartered in Yardley, PA midway between New York City and Philadelphia, The Spearhead Group offers companies a modern, full-service, consultative approach from concept to reality.

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