Orchids Paper Products poised for growth
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 02, 2013
2/02/13 at 7:24 AM
Read about manufacturing in northeast Oklahoma Regional production facilities are vital to the economy.
PRYOR - Products from Orchids Paper can be found in many national chain stores, from Dollar General and Aldi to Family Dollar and Walmart.
Yet with more than $97 million in sales in 2011, president and CEO Bob Snyder brags that Orchids' executive office is a large construction trailer sitting outside the company's two factories in Pryor.
It's not a temporary arrangement, either. The boardroom, also in the trailer, consists of three long tables simply pushed together.
"We'd rather spend our money on the things that matter," Snyder said. "This is a competitive industry, and we want to get where we want to be."
Coming off nine years of expansion and construction that cost nearly $100 million, Snyder said the once-struggling company is poised for major growth.
Each year, Orchids Paper Products Co. manufactures about 56,000 tons of bathroom tissue, paper towels and napkins, mostly as private label brands for Dollar General, Aldi and other retail discounters.
Through the years, the company, even before Snyder's arrival in 2007, has conducted major upgrades to its manufacturing and processing units.
The factory employs about 300 people, a workforce that has increased only slightly during the last decade despite major increases in capacity, Snyder said.
Many of the upgrades have involved improving the equipment to make higher quality products.
"There's been a revolution among retailers in their private labels," or generic brands, said Dan Daniels, vice president of sales. "They're demanding higher quality products to compete with name brands. It's a higher margin for them, and they want to capture those sales."
For paper towels and napkins, that means a heavier, sturdier product, with custom quilting and color designs. For toilet paper, that's a higher quality, more expensive paper that is softer.
Orchids Paper, formerly based out of California, went through a messy bankruptcy in 1995 before the Pryor plants were purchased later that year by a private group that wanted to preserve the profitable division of the company.
Orchids Paper went public in 2005, when it had about 260 employees. It is now valued at about $168.88 million, according to data from the New York Stock Exchange.
Chief Financial Officer Keith Schroeder, who once ran the company on an interim basis, said stock offerings have helped Orchids expand and upgrade.
Snyder said nearly every manufacturing employee at the company is running machines and robots and that almost the entire process is automated.
"We've gone from a bunch of assembly line workers to a team of skilled employees," Snyder said.
Orchids is reaching about 90 percent capacity, running three to four shifts and steadily growing production during the last five years.
While Orchids officials don't have firm plans for expansion, Snyder said the company is reaching the point where they are thinking about more upgrades.
"You need to plan about two years in advance to increase paper production," he said. "It seems like we just finished, but we need to start thinking again about how to grow."
On Friday, Orchids Paper Products was given the Entrepreneurial Excellence in Oklahoma Award from state Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
Fittingly, the small ceremony was held in the company's executive offices, inside the construction trailer in front of the factory.
Orchids Paper Products Co.
Bathroom tissue, paper towels, napkins
CEO: Bob Snyder
Original Print Headline: Orchids Paper blooming
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
Toilet paper rolls speed past Mark Matlock as he works on a conveyor belt at the Orchids Paper Products factory in Pryor on Friday. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World