“We started our company with three core values: first being innovation, second being operational excellence, and third being customer intimacy,” says Dan Themig, President and CEO at Packers Plus. When that company was formed in 2000, it was a small startup. Today it is one of the largest companies in its industry, with nearly a thousand employees and a strong reputation for creative and progressive tooling in the oil and gas industry.
“If you ask most people about Packers Plus and what we’re known for, it’s bringing real game changing innovation to the industry,” says Themig. “One of the reasons that North America now has a plentiful supply of natural gas, as well as a plentiful supply of oil, is because of some of the innovations our company has brought forward.”
With further growth in the works and new territories to work with, Packers Plus has plans to keep bringing that innovation to the industry it supports.
Growing in Houston
“One thing we believe in is being close to our customer base,” says Marlon Leggott, Chief Production Officer at Packers Plus. This explains the company’s large presence in Alberta, close to Canada’s natural gas and oil fields, as well as its satellite operations in critical regions from Saskatchewan and Williston to Dubai. It also explains the new larger Packers Plus facility that is currently under construction in Houston, Texas. Featuring an engineering and manufacturing campus on site, Packers Plus is confident that the new facility will help the company provide its southern clients with significant added value on a level that it is currently able to provide in Canada.
“What we believe is that it’s going to allow us to bring a quicker design and manufacturing capability to the end user, as we can have our product on location in a much quicker time frame,” says Leggott. “It allows us to bring in some new innovation, so we believe from that standpoint it’s going to be a big benefit for our client base.”
According to Leggott, this added agility will also help Packers Plus differentiate itself in the competitive oil industry throughout Texas and beyond. “We can come in, design a product, and get it to our customers in a very quick and nimble way—most of the larger guys have a difficult time doing that—and this is also going to allow us to support some of the other areas of the world over the short term in a much quicker fashion just from a logistics standpoint alone,” he explains. With a stronger hub, the new Houston facility could open up major possibilities not just in the United States, but also abroad.
Anticipating the industry’s needs
In a competitive field like oil and gas, staying on top means not worrying about what the competition is doing, but focusing on the innovations that only you can provide. At Packers Plus, this philosophy is paramount and a strong predicator of the company’s success.
“One of the reasons we’re really known as an innovative company is that we tend to anticipate customers’ needs before they’re asking for it,” says Themig. “We don’t sit and analyze our competitors at any length, because if you’re just watching your competitors you tend to be a follower instead of a leader. Our goal and objective is to intimately know our customers so that we are able to respond when they have technology needs, and really to anticipate their needs.”
Packers Plus applies this focus on forward-thinking innovation not just to the products it manufactures, but also to its shop floor processes, from manufacturing improvements to full traceability through state-of-the-art ERP software. Even in 2009 when the industry was in a downturn, Packers Plus was preparing to the future, investing in robotics and automation to enhance its manufacturing capabilities for when the industry recovered. “This allowed us to lead the industry into hydraulic fracturing of shales and the open hole technology area once we came out of that downturn—it really was a boon for us,” says Leggott.
A forward thinking culture
Such a business model requires a lot of calculated thinking, but that kind of consideration is second nature to Packers Plus.
“It’s really ingrained in our culture—it’s a very entrepreneurial mindset,” says Themig. “Our view is that the world moves pretty fast—for us to remain leaders in innovation in the industry, and to maintain that reputation, we have to be able to anticipate the needs of the industry, engineering in a fraction of the time compared to our big competitors, and we have to be able to work in conjunction with our customers.”
By succeeding in those goals, the company culture of Packers Plus has played a vital role in propelling the company toward success. “It’s really given us a unique reputation in the industry,” says Themig. “That’s a massive accomplishment for a company been in business for just over 14 years.”
The necessity of quality
The tagline for Packers Plus is simple: “do it once, and do it right.” This could be a strong mantra for myriad businesses in any given field. But for an operation like Packers Plus, operating in the particular parameters of oil and gas, it’s especially critical.
“The reason that’s important is that the technologies we’re talking about are run to the bottom of well bores,” says Packers Plus COO Ian Bryant. “It’s a bit like a space rocket—if you have a faulty component you generally can’t get up there to fix it, and once our equipment is run to the bottom of a hole, it’s very rare that we’re going to pull it out again. That’s why it has to function right the first time, and that’s why we’ve been so passionate in our discussion of quality. If it doesn’t work when it’s down there, that’s a problem.”
As Bryant explains, the importance of attention to traceability and quality within its innovation at Packers Plus—and the peace of mind this gives to clients—is clear. “The value proposition for our customers is that all this excellence in manufacturing gives them reliability and repeatability, when our tools get to the bottom of a hole and have to work right the first time.”
Always looking ahead
“I’ve always been told throughout my career you’ve got quality, you’ve got deliverability, and you’ve got cost effectiveness but only ever have two of those three—you can never get all three,” says Leggott. “We don’t believe that, and as a matter of fact we’ve disproved that statement. We continually provide highest quality at the best delivery that’s also very cost effective. But we realize that, if we just stay where we’re at, that won’t be the case forever.”
This understanding keeps Packers Plus driving always toward new efficiencies and new innovations that will help move the industry forward. “So we continually look at our processes to make sure that we stay at that level and lead the industry into the next level,” says Leggott. “It’s just something that we don’t stop doing. It’s ingrained in our psyche here: if we’re standing still we’re going backward. So we will continue to move ahead in what we do.”