Family Unity Propels Josh Packaging

by Greg Kishbaugh

Emigrating from pre-revolution Iran, cousins Abe Golshirazian and Nejat Rahmani arrived in America determined to unlock the rewards granted through hard work and determination.

Left to right (above): Elie Golshirazian, Josh Rahmani, Aharon Golshirazian. Left to right (inset, above right): Micah Golshirazian, Abe Golshirazian, Nejat Rahmani.

The two men laid down roots in Boston, Massachusetts, juggling work and learning a new language as they pursued their engineering degrees.

The two men understood that control of their own destiny meant starting their own business. Being their own bosses. When an opportunity presented itself, Golshirazian and Rahmani purchased a small Brooklyn, New York based company that manufactured and sold unprinted plastic bags. Operating in a cramped facility, barely 1,200 square feet, the two men were the sole operators of the fledgling company’s one machine.

Golshirazian and Rahmani immersed themselves in the business, studying, looking for ways to expand and grow. After a decade in the Brooklyn facility, the company relocated to a larger building in Oceanside and also moved into printed plastic packaging.

When the company settled into its current facility in Hauppauge, New York, Golshirazian and Rahmani enjoyed their most important milestone as the two men’s sons became involved in the growing enterprise, ensuring their legacy.

In 2015, Golshirazian’s two youngest sons, Elie and Aharon, joined the company, followed just more than two years ago when his two oldest sons, Shlomo and Micah, joined the business, along with Rahmani’s son Josh. With the addition of a new generation, the company welcomed a youthful and growth-oriented mentality.

The company, now nestled into a 38,000-squarefoot building, works diligently to utilize its limited space to the very best advantage. “A great deal of thought has been put into workflow, creating a circular flow, and we improve upon it every chance we get,” said Shlomo, Director of Sales and Strategy.
“Instead of hampering us, the tight space actually benefits us by forcing us to be really creative and innovative with our approach. We have been smart about always looking for ways to improve the operations and make it more efficient and time effective and look for new machinery that can save as much space as possible. Space is an incredibly important asset premium. It keeps people safe, it allows for operations to go smoothly, it minimizes mistakes, and it allows you to maintain the quality that obviously our parents have instilled in us.”

Josh Packaging is based on a foundation of improvement and evolving to meet the increased needs of its customers.
“The goal, really, is to get better every day, every week,” said Elie, Director of Operations. “It’s always been instilled in us from our fathers. The growth the company has experienced comes from continually working hard to get better every single day, every single week, every single month, every single year. We are always looking for new solutions to
the problems our customers may be experiencing.”

Josh Packaging runs with a Lean Manufacturing philosophy and, as such, puts a great emphasis on its communications with its customers and its rela tionships with OEMs.

“We run very little waste, and we strive very hard to minimize our raw materials and finished inventory,” said Elie. “This requires that we communicate very closely with our customers and run accurate projections for the future. Our fathers have always emphasized the importance of relationships, with customers, vendors and peers. It is impossible to run a Lean facility otherwise. In terms of machinery, whenever we do purchase a new machine, we’re very conscious about its footprint , so we work very closely with OEMs on how to best utilize all the equipment in our factory.”

The company’s relationships with OEMs led recently to the purchase and installation of a new Crystal press from Uteco.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Uteco,” said Elie. “We have three Uteco presses. In order to stay modern and keep our efficiency at its peak, we typically install a new press every 10 years or so. We have two Onyx presses in operation, having recently sold our oldest machine (which was only 11 years old) to make room for the Crystal press.

“A converter’s relationship with a machinery vendor can make or break the company,” Elie continued. “When our fathers purchased the company’s first press, it began a partnership with Uteco that has helped our company grow, prosper and expand. Every machine we’ve installed from Uteco has been great, but more important to our success was the service the company provides and the relationship we have built. Uteco has the same type of relationship with us that we strive to have with our customers.”

Before making the decision to move forward with the Crystal press after experiencing so much success with Onyx presses in the past, Elie travelled to Uteco’s headquarters in Verona, Italy, to see the Crystal in action.

The Crystal press is said to reach printing speeds of 600 meters per minute, its full automation capable of reducing job change times with less ink used and a reduction in waste.

“One of the add-on options with the Crystal press is the Flying Deck Make Ready,” Elie said. “This allows an operator to ink up and prepare the next station while it’s not in use, making changeovers much quicker.”

Especially designed to print on food packaging materials the Crystal is also suitable for various applications requiring a high level of automation. It features the Uteco Direct Drive Evo technology, which is said to ensure a perfect register accuracy between the colors for the entire press life.

The new press features a new ejection system for plate and anilox sleeve; Chamber Doctor Blade rotation of 90° for tool-less and on-press blade/ endseal replacement; programmable blade consumption / maintenance via the press HMI; between Color Dryer rotation of 180° for on-press air nozzle inspection; optimization of air nozzles geometry by means of a CFD fluid dynamics design; and automatic adjustment of the drying air flow with respect of the production speed with high efficiency motors + inverters.

Moreover, the Flexo Crystal press features:
• CrystalShopWare: Production, Management, Control and Monitoring Supervisor (e.g. Sleeve ejection system).
• Carbon fiber sleeve mandrels.
• Touch & Go: automatic setting–up of the contact point at the start–up.
• Kiss & Go: fully automatic impression setting at the start–up.
• PCT: press control during transition
• P2P: dynamic adjustment of printing pressures at cruise speed.
• PTC: Predictable Torque Control
• Integrated digital videocamera system.
• SprintWash: automatic washing system.
• Viscosity Controls: integrated in the machine HMI.

The Crystal can also be equipped with:
• Logipack. ReelBOT: automatic handling system of reels and shafts+cores.
• SmartMatch: reliable and quick color matching.
• Corona Treatment.
• 100% inspection systems for defect detection.
• In–line flexo or gravure units.
• UVi or EB curing systems.
With so much growth within the company, the question amongst the management team at Josh, naturally, has turned to the idea of a larger facility some time down the road.

“The way we are operating now is sustainable,” said Shlomo. “And it pushes us to be better. We are comfortable in our current space but if the opportunity presents itself we are willing to entertain it. We feel there are still many things we can do from an improvement initiative perspective.”

As for the future, Josh Packaging is a company built on continual improvement and so it will remain focused on that philosophy moving forward.

“We always have our eyes on new machinery,” said Shlomo. “Due to our relationship with Uteco, we also just installed a new Rainbow Laminator. It’s running extremely well for us.”

“When we think improvement, we try to break it down to people, process and machinery,” said Elie.
“In that order. There is nothing more important than the people we hire and the people who we work with on a day-to-day basis. It does not matter at all what kind of machinery you have if you don’t have

the right people to run it, you don’t have the proper leadership in place and there is not an environment of teamwork. We are always looking for high-quality people who can grow, learn and be an important part of our team.

“In terms of process, our industry is really intricate,”Elie continued. “So we are always searching for more creative ways to operate. How can we get our changeover times down? How can we reduce waste? How can we get throughput higher? During every manager meeting we discuss ways be a bit more efficient.

“And, finally, for machinery,” said Elie, “We are always open to hearing about how new technology can improve our company. As mentioned, we don’t like to hold onto machinery too long so our eyes our aways open for new advances and opportunities.”

Hiring and retaining employees had been a struggle for much of the converting industry for years. The management team at Josh Packaging says that their dedication to their employees has led them to a much different experience.

“There’s no doubt that hiring people has been a major challenge within the industry,” said Shlomo, “but that has not been our experience at all. The reason is that people want to work for our company. That’s a testament to the family atmosphere that our fathers founded the company upon. The relationships built within the company, with Elie and Aharon overseeing the production floor, have been extraordinary. Everyone is very transparent when its comes to communication and everyone’s input is welcome and appreciated. This is an incredibly attractive place to work and that’s allowed us to bring many experienced people on board and retain the quality employees who have worked here for many years”

Josh Packaging had an interest in earning its SQF certification for quite some time. Once the current management team was fully in place, the opportunity finally presented itself.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” said Josh. “In the course of about fourteen months, we went from zero to certification, pretty much starting from scratch. All of this ties back into the idea of continuous improvement, putting forward more processes and programs we’ve implemented to help us grow and get better.

“Getting the SQF certification meant that we had to update our traceability system, improve the sanitation system and maintenance programs,” Josh continued. “The basis of the program is so well aligned with our philosophy: improving quality, reevaluating all your customer relationships and making sure you meet their needs and constantly striving to improve the products you are producing. This is another example of when having a strong employee culture at the company is paramount. We couldn’t do something as ambitious as the SQF certification without the buy-in of everyone in the company.”

In addition to the new press, Josh Packaging has also just added an Atlas Titan slitter to accompany several slitters from Ashe. Josh credits the Titan’s

The Uteco Crystal Press at Josh Packaging.

double turret technology with adding tremendous capacity to its slitting operations. Josh has a Century Tech bag machine, and a pouch machine and Innolok machine from Hudson Sharp. Another recent addition to its production floor was a new mounting machine from AV Flexologic.

The company additionally just added a rack system from Flex Essentials, and solvent distiller from IFT was installed more than a year ago. The distiller is a closed-loop systems that collects the plant’s contaminated solvents and returns them at a 90 percent yield so that they can be returned to the process of cleaning machinery.

Being a family-owned and run company allows Josh Packaging the ability to make quick, decisive action. “Before joining Josh, I worked in the healthcare sector and there was so much red tape,” Shlomo explained, “it was very difficult to get anything done. But, now with Josh, we have such speed and agility that we can bring improvements for our customers almost immediately when we see a need. In that regard we really must give praise to our fathers, Abe and Nejat. Change is difficult and without the buy-in from our fathers, none of our growth could be possible. It’s been a big change for the two of them to watch as the second generation comes on board and implement so much transformation. They have supported all our decisions, and the growth of the company would be impossible without them.”

“With sustainability on the minds of everyone,” said Elie, “we’ve made a huge push in that direction, developing compostable, recycled and post recycled packaging. We’ve been committing capital and manpower to R&D the past several years, partnering with a number of suppliers. We’ve developed recyclable pouch projects, compostable pouch projects and post-consumer resin projects. Every new challenge has hurdles but we’ll never say no. We’ll discuss it, brainstorm, create samples and talk it over with our suppliers. We know our customers are demanding sustainability and we will work as hard as possible to come up with solutions for them.

“At the end of the day,” Elie concluded, “we just want to keep up with the trends and address all the needs of our customers.”

Josh Packaging has continued to consistently make changes for improvement. The company recently installed another two Hudson Sharp machines (Innolok and Pouch) to keep up with their growing market. Additionally, Josh Packaging has also successfully implemented and gone live on its ERP system (Netsuite). This project has been led by Micah Golshirazian and Josh Rahmani; the next stage will be to implement a connecting manufacturing software (Tulip) for operators that will bring actionable data for the team.