You’ll never think about envelopes the same way again. Stamped with innovation and creative impulse, the products of JBM Envelope Company have added intriguing new dimensions to the most basic of business tools. Dan Harvey explains how the Ohio-based company expands the envelope concept.
When it comes to innovative special envelopes, JBM Envelope Company has its customers – and, in turn, their customers’ needs well covered.
The Lebanon, Ohio-based business is a leading manufacturer of small open-end envelopes. “We make a niche envelope,” says JBM President Marcus Sheanshang. “When most people think of envelopes, they picture the kind of commercial envelopes that open on the long dimension. A small open-end envelope opens on the short dimension. While we do make some commercial envelopes, most of our business is in small, open-end envelopes,” adds Sheanshang.
JBM’s primary customer base is other envelope companies, he informs. “We also do business with resellers, but we don’t sell retail. Other companies in the industry sell both to the trade and direct to the end user. This creates confusion, so we use a different approach to make sure our customers feel more comfortable.”
As such, the company serves as a source for orders ranging in size from 25,000 to 25 million envelopes and even more. “The end-user markets where we participate include banking, hospitality, and municipality envelopes,” says Sheanshang. “We also make packaging envelopes for recycling ink jet cartridges, hardware envelopes and seed packets.”
According to Sheanshang, his father, Greg Sheanshang, founded the company in 1985, initially setting up operations as a brokerage business. “He had previous experience in the envelope industry and decided to go out on his own, selling primarily to banks, because banks had money to pay for envelopes. For the next four years, things proceeded well. Then his primary vendor raised his prices 30 percent.”
To make a long story short, that circumstance convinced Greg Sheanshang to make the envelopes himself, and ever since 1989, that is what JBM has done.
Today, JBM has geared its capabilities and manufacturing equipment around the design of small open-end envelopes, which is one of several elements that distinguish it from other envelope companies. In the past five years, it has realized annual double-digit growth. “We’ve become a leader because we are customer-oriented and innovative,” says Sheanshang. “By adding new equipment and capabilities, we can manufacture any number of different products. For instance, we’ve created envelopes with tamper evident-type patterns that ensure the integrity of the envelopes. Whatever is inside remains safe and secure.”
JBM has also developed RFID blocking envelopes. “This product has created a big buzz in the industry, as people have become increasingly concerned about their credit card information being stolen,” says Sheanshang. “We make small credit card envelopes that help break up the signal that travels between the two pieces of hardware. It is another value-add that we can provide for an envelope.”
JBM’s product line started with banking envelopes. These not only include the credit card protectors, but the standard drive-in and coin envelopes as well as statement envelopes.
The envelopes are not only functional; they’re an effective marketing tool, too. As the company points out, banks can order drive-in envelopes designed with eye-catching graphics that communicate different bank offerings.
Another area for JBM is the hospitality industry. Hotels provide the key card envelopes to reinforce their brand as well as to protect the magnetic strip. JBM also produces their cash receipt envelopes.
JBM also garners business from municipalities which require envelopes in a wide range of areas for utility payment and parking violation envelopes. Usages can be quite practical. Take parking violation envelopes, for instance. “We developed a water resistant paper that helps increase the financial return for municipalities by providing the violator an easy, convenient way to make the payment,” says Sheanshang.
Further, JBM has stepped up its activities in packaging, where envelopes offer several significant opportunities. The company can provide customers with envelopes that are extremely rugged and secure, and that provide a safe cushion for the most delicate or hardest of items. “We have been getting more into the packaging side recently, with items such as seed packets and hardware envelopes,” says Sheanshang.
An interesting example is gift card and receipt envelopes. This sector of the market plays perfectly to JBM’s strengths of a high quality die cut envelope. “Retailers in particular want to convey a quality appearance to their customers. They understand the value of spending a few more dollars on a high impact piece. Our artists particularly enjoy creative work because it allows them to use our flat sheet printing capability to create eye catching graphics on special papers. Throughout the run everyone who touches the order has a particular pride in their work.”
Beyond those areas, JBM also produces envelopes customized for a variety of uses. All a customer needs to do is communicate an idea and JBM deploys its capabilities to bring the idea to life. The company has a full-service art department that creates custom designs and color mockups. “We run a G5 Macintosh network and do a lot of internal design work,” reports Sheanshang.
With technological capabilities that range from art and pre-press, to offset and flexo printing, to cutting and folding, JBM’s Lebanon production facilities are essentially a one-stop shop. “Our flatsheet offset printing department is just one of the things that separates us from the competition,” says Sheanshang. “It provides our customers a competitive advantage when they compete against someone that might be trying to offer a lower price point. We may not produce the least expensive envelopes, but we offer the kind of value that our market seeks.”
In other words, the heavy coverage four-color process printing that the department deploys brings customers more value for their dollar. “That’s what people look for today,” says Sheanshang. “They’re no longer satisfied with the one- and two-color printing. They’re looking for pieces that have a much greater marketing impact. For instance, the banking industry finds that the added graphics and color offer a better way to spread their marketing message.”
The facility includes other technological differentiators. “We have a number of roll-to-sheet presses that enable us to print faster,” says Sheanshang. “We do not need to sheet the paper prior to printing. That gives us an economic advantage, because of the costs involved with buying sheeted paper. We also have a number of different die-cutting presses that cut the envelopes before they’re taken to our converting equipment. We have more than 60 pieces of equipment for converting envelopes.”
JBM is not only an artistically creative innovator that adapts to new technology, it is an organization committed to the satisfaction of customers and employees. “Right now we have 165 employees, and I’m proud to say eight employees have remained with us over twenty years,” says Sheanshang. “The way we treat both employees and customers has helped us grow and become more productive.”
“My father started scholarship programs for hourly employees’ children at noteworthy high schools in Cincinnati. We understand and appreciate what our employees help us accomplish. The scholarship is a way to say thanks and help their children get into a good college.”
With customers, JBM goes out of its way to help with special requests and issues, even if this approach creates complexities for its own operation. “We’re looking for the long-term relationship,” says Sheanshang. “We prefer customers that can grow with us, as opposed to a customer that places an order every now and then.”
JBM seals its products with excellence and innovation. Its progressive approach has already engendered great success, and the innovative vision of its management promises continued accomplishment.