Extreme Packaging | Ideon Culture

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Extreme Packaging

“if its the right thing to do, guided by our values, and delivers Wow, [team members] can make that choice”Cameron Christie

At the end of December, Ideon had the pleasure of hosting Casey Miller, Patti-Jo Wiese, and Katherine Sharp from Six and a Half Consulting. Afterwards, Casey wrote a blog post on his site, and it sure made all of us at Ideon feel great about what we do.

Take a minute to read about what we do, why we do it, and how it Delivers WOW to all stakeholders. Thank you again to Casey, Patti-Jo, and Katherine for stopping by!

Cameron Christie
Leader | IT/OT

2017 Outstanding Workplace of the Year Award

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2009 | 2014 | 2017


We understand that all team members add value and are the core to our successIdeon Value

Ideon Wins at #BEA40!

On November 23rd, Ideon took home the 2017 Outstanding Workplace of the Year Award at the 40th Annual Richmond Chamber of Conference Business Excellence Awards. It was a beautiful event hosted by the River Rock Casino and Resort, complete with great food, awesome entertainment, and the some of the best companies from Richmond.

We are committed to develop all of our team members to help them grow and find fulfillment in an open culture. We understand that all team members add value and are the core to our success. These are two of Ideon’s seven values that we embrace everyday, knowing that if we do the right things now, success will follow.

We were honoured to be nominated again for Outstanding Workplace of the Year, especially after winning the same award in 2014. Three years later, it is no less special to us to win it again; it helps solidify that our focus on our Team Members is the right thing to do.

Thank you to everyone who influences Ideon to be the best every day; thank you for Delivering WOW!

Ideon Packaging

Christmas Toy Shopping 2017

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Be proud Ideon!Rick Van Poele

Great Work Team!

Success in business doesn’t happen from just one thing. Success takes the right people, the right culture, the right customers, focused leadership, a little luck, and a community that allows you to grow and flourish. Ideon is incredibly thankful for all those pieces of our success puzzle, and is committed to making a positve impact, especially close to home.

Ideon’s 4theKids initiative is to Deliver WOW to our local communities, and we are incredibly proud of Team Ideon’s contributions this year. Team Ideon raised a record $13,000 and Ideon’s executive added an additional $4,500 allowing us to spend $17,500 on toys for Canuck Place and the Richmond Christmas Fund.

To everyone who has supported our efforts to give back, thank you; we couldn’t have done it without you.

Colin Piro | CSR

Rapid Growth

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Delivering WOW

Box Manufacturing
Delivering WOW is not just a statement at Ideon, it is our promise.Ideon Packaging

Delivering WOW. This statement embodies Ideon Packaging better than any other, but what does it mean?

It means a culture that allows our team members to grow and drive change.

It means a level of support that exceeds our customers expectations.

It means doing the right thing, every time.

Rapid growth challenges the commitment to your mission, vision and values; it highlights the cracks in your foundation, the deficiencies in your processes. Ideon’s FITT (Finding Innovation Through Teamwork) program uses Lean methodology to allow our Team Members to Deliver WOW, while continuously improving what we do. Delivering WOW is not just a statement at Ideon, it is our promise.

Ideon turned sixteen in October and our focus on Delivering WOW has allowed us to grow rapidly; Ideon was recognized in Business in Vancouver’s 100 Fastest list this year. It was incredible to see our name alongside the other fastest growing companies in BC and we are proud of what we have accomplished. Thank you to everyone who has helped Ideon to grow, we look forward to WOWing you for many more years!


Designing a Digital Experience | AICC BoxScore

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Designing an Experience

First Published Aug 7, 2017 at AICC BoxScore

Original Article

Box Manufacturing
“With digital, we are able to design and deliver a highly customized mock-up POP display before we even meet with the customer, so it’s completely ready for them to see when they come in.”Rick Van Poele

Back in 2012, Ideon Packaging ventured into the digital world with the purchase of an HP Scitex FB7600 press. We have since upgraded to HP’s 15500 corrugated press, complemented by two ESKO Kongsberg (XP and XPA) cutting tables.

With the addition of digital, and being an early adopter of the technology, we have been able to carve out a new market in our local packaging industry for digitally produced packaging and POP solutions.

In a recent article on Ideon’s digital print capabilities, our President and CEO Rick Van Poele explains that “with digital, we are able to design and deliver a highly customized mock-up POP display before we even meet with the customer, so it’s completely ready for them to see when they come in.”

Designing an experience is likely the most impactful element that digital brings to our business.

Rick goes on to say that “most brands have realized package design needs to be dynamic to entice customers, but many are now realizing that the concept has to extend to a memorable and unique POP display, in order to engage with the customer on a personal and emotional level.”

Designing an Experience

Designing an Experience is likely the most impactful element that digital brings to our business, and it also happens to be one of the primary deliverables of design for any product or service. Whether through variable print or data within an order, changing structure or graphics without additional tooling costs for the customer, or being able to do test or soft launches without sacrificing brand imaging, Ideon can create a brand experience for our customers—and their customers—that they get excited about. Think back to the groundbreaking products we have seen in recent years; they were all cases in which the experience created by the new product had not existed previously and broke customers’ existing paradigms—the iPod to music and Tesla Model S to automobiles, to name a couple. Digital allows us to do the same with packaging on a rapid and repeatable scale.

Design-driven sales

Design-driven sales is an extension of designing an experience. Our design team regularly partners with our sales team to target certain customers and create a POP display that is a complete shift from what they’re currently getting. Our structure and graphic teams are given creative control to create a “wow!” experience. In some cases, we’re in a competitive situation, and in others the customer is not currently buying POP due to legacy paradigms. In either scenario, we come in with a full-production prototype, and customers instantly understand how they can benefit from digital. In some cases, potential customers have placed orders for the exact prototype our design team created. We brought them something they didn’t realize they wanted or didn’t know was possible.

A Shift in Paradigms

A shift in paradigms and educating the market has been one of the bigger hurdles for us. Externally, we have needed to educate customers on the advantages and benefits of digital compared to what they previously thought was possible, open their understanding to letting their imaginations run wild from one order to the next, and engage marketing departments in the sales process. Internally, the design process itself is a lot different than in traditional corrugated, with electronic workflow and rapid version control needing to be a focus.

I would be remiss if I didn’t put a lean spin on this digital topic. Granted, digital is not for everyone, and like all packaging solutions, digital has its fit. But in the area of small- to medium-run POP, container variations, and other forms of packaging, digital will help reduce waste for the benefit of your customers.

  • Reduced or eliminated inventory—buying exactly what is needed, no more tooling (good for you and your customer).
  • Reduced waiting—shorter production lead times.
  • Increased value—Superior print quality over flexo, stock, and other short- to medium-run POP options.


Mike Nunn
VP | Operations

Thank You Steve

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The Guru has left the building! Steve Baier was instrumental in helping create the culture that exists today at Ideon. We wish Steve all the best in his retirement and thank him for his contributions during the first 15 years of Ideon; you will be greatly missed.

“It’s like teaching a pig to sing: It wastes your time and it angers the pig”

Steve Baier – Guru

ideas… people… packaging

Welcome Warren!

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Ideon Increases Presence on Vancouver Island

This is Warren Smith. Like many Warren’s before him, this Warren is special. What makes this dashing, funny, beautiful Warren so special? He is Ideon’s new Sales Rep on Vancouver Island! Warren’s many years of packaging experience, along with Ideon’s exceptional quality and customer service, are sure to help all Island customers in fulfilling their packaging needs. Email warrens@ideonpackaging.com to get in touch.

Welcome to the Ideon Team, Warren!

Basics Before Innovation | AICC BoxScore

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Innovate on the Basics, then try to Change the World

First Published Nov. 29th, 2016 at AICC BoxScore

Original Article

Box Manufacturing
“How often is your team being trained and retrained on the basics of corrugated?”Mike Nunn

What’s the next best thing? How do we continue to add value? When can we develop something innovative and groundbreaking?

These questions apply to more than just lean; they can be asked of the packaging industry or any business. With rapid advancements in technology, the drive to come up with new ideas, products, and solutions seems to be limitless. However, maybe a focus on the foundation and basics needs to be the top priority before trying to innovate. In the lean world, one of the toughest things to do during kaizen is develop a less wasteful process. To literally think outside the box, remove your existing paradigms of why something may or may not work, then partner with the stakeholders to come up with the third alternative (Covey reference) that is waste-free.

Find Your Focus

There are many proven lean tools and concepts to draw on—such as single piece flow and kanban—but it’s the focus on basics that is missing in many organizations. It is the complete understanding of the basics that will drive true kaizen, which is also what created those tried and true lean concepts and tools in the first place.

In lean, you can’t focus on learning advanced problem-solving tools like kata until you have the basic ability of seeing and measuring waste. However, all too often this is what I see and hear. Lean leaders and professionals are out learning new tools and going to more seminars, while back on the plant floor, only a select few people can identify all the forms of waste and give examples from their work area. Fundamentally, I believe this is wrong.

The original (yes, basic) forms of waste are: transportation, excess inventory, wasted motion, waiting, overproduction, overprocessing, and defects. There are people who would argue there are more forms of waste, but they’re just trying to innovate and be new. Basics … we’re talking about basics, man. Basics.

In the packaging world, you can’t design and manufacture an innovative new corrugated box without first understanding the basic characteristics of corrugated board. Moreover, you can’t ignore these basic characteristics either. Corrugated fundamentals need to be taught and retaught within our organizations. How often is your team being trained and retrained on the basics of corrugated? Hopefully, at least when they’re hired.

A Shared Vision

Beyond lean and packaging, the basics-focused mindset can apply to our businesses, too. Does everyone on your team truly know why you exist as a business, what your purpose is, and what your vision and mission are? Have you asked? In your business, these things should be considered the platform of decision. True north. The ultimate basics. Please don’t take it for granted that your team knows these basics.

Are you the best in your market/industry at your core business, or are you just one of many who is indistinguishable from your competition? Quality, customer service, speed to market, and people development are the basics you need to be focused on; be great at those things.

By the way, you’ll notice price wasn’t on my list. What if our energy were focused on the basics and doing everything with wow? What if we took all our energy and improved all the systems and processes that make our businesses tick? How good could your quality be? How fast could your lead time be? To what level could your customer service grow?

Tried and True

As an avid reader, I am always on the hunt for great business, leadership, or personal development books. To the contrary, I was recently listening to a talk by one of my favorite thought leaders on the topic of leadership and personal development, who talked about the desire for many people—like me—to continue reading new books in search of the next great book. However, this search for “new” can prevent you from truly absorbing, applying, and learning the fundamentals. He challenged the listener, instead of searching for the latest piece of development literature, to seek out the tried and true classics and read those books, then reread them and master them. I am on a mission right now to follow this advice by reading, again, the classics in my collection: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Art of War, and a few others.

Most companies focus on being OK at the basics while pushing to innovate. I challenge you to innovate on the basics, then try to change the world.

Mike Nunn
VP | Operations

Halloween 2016 at Ideon

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Thank you to our stellar Customer Service Team for such a spooktacular time on Halloween!

Congrats to Cory for winning the costume competition by dressing up as Cam, the Ideon technology guy and to Jessica for winning the “what’s in the box” challenge!

The Leadership Journey | AICC BoxScore

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Starting the Journey to Become a Leader

First Published Sep. 28th, 2016 at AICC BoxScore

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Box Manufacturing
“It’s up to you. You’re the only person who can get yourself to where you want to be. You have to make the choices and chart the course, then be disciplined and persistent with the choices you make.”Mike Nunn

I recently had a tremendously rewarding experience occur at work, where a young employee approached me to ask about their candidacy for an open team-leader role that reports directly to me.

Although he was not ready for this specific role, I still interviewed him to give constructive feedback and encouraged him to start the journey to leadership. Two days later, I connected with him again on our plant floor to ask whether or how he had processed what we discussed. He thanked me and said he would own it.

In addition to our meeting, he asked that I email him my thoughts from the meeting so he could refer back to them as he worked to grow into a leader. Here is what I told him.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to treat everyone the same—be one person. Start this now. If anyone ever gets—or already has—a feeling that you treat or communicate with different people differently, then your climb to leadership will be dead before you even get started. You need to interact with your superior and all other team members by showing the same respect, honesty, and openness—every time. This is integrity.

My Top Leadership Keys

Fail. Make informed decisions, but don’t be afraid to fail; it’s how you learn.

Reflect. Whether it went well or not, reflect on your results. Why did you get the result you did? What could you do differently next time?

Ask the right questions. Start with why, then how, and lastly, what. Why are you doing ______? How are you going to do _______? What needs to be done to achieve ________?

Set goals and expectations. Setting goals for yourself and your team is vital. Without goals, growth is left to chance and luck.

Think strategically. True leaders need to find better, newer, and less-wasteful systems and processes.

Be honest. Tell the truth, even if your voice shakes.

Learn. Never stop learning and acquiring knowledge; it’s the foundation for career growth.

Think positively. Don’t let the negativity of others affect your focus on positivity.

Serve. Leaders go first. They help their team achieve, and they lead by example.

Recommended Reading

Here is the list of books I recommended to this leadership understudy:

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I’ve read this book four times and gotten something new from it each time.
  • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. As I was reading this book, I felt like Hardy was talking to me, about me.
  • The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma. You have more influence than you know. Harness mastery and achieve your greatness.
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Ten thousand hours … that’s how long it’s going to take. Take for what? Read the book.
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling. Goal-setting, improvement, and accountability simplified.
  • Start With Why by Simon Sinek. If you want to inspire, start with why.
  • Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell. After reading this book, I bought a copy for all my team leaders.

Shadow the people who are already in the place where you want to be. When shadowing a leader, ask lots of good questions, and be open to constructive feedback. I don’t know any leaders who wouldn’t be more than happy to share their experiences and spend time with someone eager to grow.

Lastly, I told him, “It’s up to you.” You’re the only person who can get yourself to where you want to be. You have to make the choices and chart the course, then be disciplined and persistent with the choices you make.

At the end of our conversation, I gave him some tangible first steps to make some immediate progress toward leadership. First, read all the books on the list. Second, shadow the leaders whose level you wish to achieve. Third, embody the character traits of great leaders. Lastly, be yourself and have fun.

Mike Nunn
VP | Operations