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Learning Corrugated Packaging over the Summer

Oct. 20, 2015 – By Vina Le

This summer, I had the pleasure of working with Packaging Corporation of America in Roanoke, Virginia. The experience was beneficial, and I never thought I would gather so much imperative material about the corrugated board industry. It was a fascinating learning process as I got to work with my supervisors in many segments of the company’s system. My goal this summer was to learn the foundation of a packaging industry, so the corrugated board industry helped me understand that it is important to learn that processes influence designs. Without knowledge of how systems work in an operation, designs will not be correctly produced. My experience in PCA consisted of various responsibilities and experience including customer service, design, management, plant operations, and sales and accounting.

My plan, for my career, is to one day combine my interests in design and plant operations with networking amongst customers and employees. alongside with that idea, I would like to focus my packaging developments in a cosmetic industry. Learning about the corrugated industry was extremely helpful with jump- starting my career, and I hope it continues to help me gain more opportunities to network and gain connections that will further develop my skills set. I learned that the quality of relationships depend on how efficient and reliable people are. For example, in sales, many of the salespeople working for PCA are highly dependent on communicating well with their current and prospective customers. Making sure that the customer understands their options and promoting their sales is important for the company because they are directly communicating to their customers. I learned that sales- people have an important role in packaging corporation of America’s sales segment.

Money is a driving force for many companies like PCA, and it’s important to organize that money and report in a fashion that concisely represents how much corrugated boxes are being produced, how much utility was used, what were costs of a returned product, and how can we fix certain quality issues that many corrugated box converters deal with? I learned how my previous experience with deterministic operations research can be applied to situations like this, and it was interesting to see how it worked in a large-scale industry. Applying VBA coding and the Microsoft Access program really helped me understand how the distribution of packaging works. Overall, I am satisfied with the experience and I hope to continue my work ethic in this company for the time being.



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