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The mission has been set and the vision is clear. All Florida Paper is flexing its muscles, but not in typical ways for a distribution company. Establishing itself as a company that is more than just warehouses, trucks, and inventory, All Florida Paper has grown to fully accept the responsibility of changing its business approach in order to be the best distributor of paper and janitorial/sanitation products through its sustainability initiatives. It fully understands that sustainability is a way of doing business with an awareness of the company’s impact on society. Based out of Miami, FL, it has constantly pushed the envelope in its business innovations to make environmental sustainability one of the cornerstone pieces of how it conducts business better and smarter.
All Florida Paper’s sustainability initiatives include: bringing greener lighting to its 130,000 square foot warehouse, reducing its carbon footprint on the road, making recycling its buzz word, promoting eco friendly products that have low-maintenance energy requirements, as well as reducing its paper consumption by more than 60% throughout day-to-day operations. Founder and president Armando Caceres has lead the charge in the expansion of these initiatives through the belief of employee empowerment and encouragement.
“About 20 years ago, the company was founded by a married couple, Armando and Marisol Caceres. They started from the bottom. With a small initial investment and a truck, they started buying and distributing. Eventually they moved into this building almost 10 years ago. They are very responsible owners, who are involved in daily operations," said Macarena Acre, company controller. "Unlike absentee owners who just collect a check, they are always working. It's a very strong foundation here."
All Florida Paper has been able to sell its distribution service in the most efficient ways possible.
· It has introduced and installed Roadnet Route Planning Software to help increase its resource utilization by delivering more while driving less. This innovative software has reduced its carbon footprint on the road delivering amazing results. The response to increased delivery volume hasn’t forced All Florida Paper to send more trucks on the road. Instead, the software use in designing smarter and more efficient deliveries has saved valuable resources.
· In continuing the trend, it has installed double computer monitors for all employees and required all sales reps and delivery trucks to have iPads in order to process all orders. This has reduced the paper consumption by more than 60%, created faster service, and has allowed the company efficiency to skyrocket.
· All Florida Paper brought on a whole new compostable, bamboo, and non-degradable fiber line to replace some of the foam products it services.
· All Florida Paper has introduced eco-friendly tissues and towels that are Green Seal certified. It also promotes eco-friendly chemicals, especially Spartan Chemical products that are manufactured from renewal resources.
· All Florida Paper has developed and executed innovative strategies that continues to lift its recycling rates through different recycling and packaging optimization initiatives. This includes reusing pallets and directing all possible waste material from waste streams.
· All Florida Paper is involved in the Miami-Dade Public School by donating all of its damaged and obsolete dead stock products, instead of disposing of them.
· It is empowering all employees by adding several layers of management in order to get ready for expansion across the entire United States. All Florida Paper prides itself in having Hispanic women comprise almost 80% of its top management.
The company was founded in 1993 by current president and CEO Armando Caceres. His story begins with his family's migration from Communist Cuba to the United States when he was a child. His parents sacrificed everything they built in Cuba and left it for a dream in America. They settled in Miami, FL and began constructing a dream that brings so many people to this country. This dream was to have the opportunity for freedom which meant that Armando could have the access to achieve anything he dedicated himself towards. This dedication led Caceres into learning and understanding the components and viewpoints of how to successfully build a brand that would help others. In helping others, he wanted to transform the lives of his employees and provide a valuable service to customers through a collaborative approach. Ultimately, respect and empowerment throughout the South Florida communities was his goal for his business as he felt that this was the true essence of how business should be conducted.
In 1993, he fulfilled those dreams and founded All Florida Paper, a business that services Miami, FL with innovative distribution solutions. The first warehouse was launched with almost 5,500 square feet of space with only two delivery trucks. All of this was achieved through four employees including Mr. Caceres. The drive to produce a high quality service in a highly competitive industry brought forward numerous obstacles that put the business to the test. There were days that Mr. Caceres committed the full 24 hours in order to establish his company and show how loyal and committed he was to delivering the best distribution service. Visiting customers, handling the administration work/tasks, and later loading his own truck to deliver the materials is what Mr. Caceres did on a daily basis. Creating a culture and making customers realize that it was more than just business was the main focus. Establishing relationships is what took All Florida Paper to where it is now, a brand that is recognized globally.
What are your ideas for a Better World?
Macarna Acre, company controller
“The world is missing so much kindness. My idea for a better world would be solved just by respect. Not with people, but everything. If you respect your environment, you respect the ocean, the animals, the people, your home, your area. I think everything else follows. If you are going to do charitable things, you should do them out of kindness. If you are doing them to promote a company, then get a marketing department. That shouldn’t be the goal in the end to what you are doing.
I hope we live in a world of better acceptance. I think a lot comes from education. If people are educated, they are more likely to lead to make rational decisions. I think a focus on good education is very important, to me personally. I just don’t mean textbook education, I mean cultural education. I don’t think that people who are culturally educated go and do these terrible things. Put education at the forefront and give everybody a global perspective regardless of ethnicity, regardless of religion. I think that’s the other part to that; communicating, learning how to communicate with words and not violent actions.”
All Florida Paper's biggest impact has been its ability to become one of the leading, privately held distributors in the United States, supplying its services to B2B customers ranging from supermarkets, hospitals, hotels, and schools. All of the businesses that it services get to be positively influenced and experience a product based on environmental sustainability. It has been able to take its talents globally, by providing redistribution and exporting services throughout 25 countries across Latin America. It has made every day household products and containers interesting to talk about. It has developed a strong bond with its .customers that extends far beyond the services that are offered.
All Florida Paper provides social benefits by providing more jobs to the community because of its continuous growth and expansion. Through this expansion, the company has taken on many new layers of management that weren’t there five to eight years ago. This expansion is attributed to top management empowering employees. The company prides itself on tackling new innovative ideas in teams pushing forward the concept of open communication and productivity. During the interview, Acre said, “Now we have another layer of management. You see people working hard, working here a long time who deserve to rise. I think that we have a new wave of leaders and its really exciting.” Employees are excited to work there and it shows in the high retention rate.
The company plans to expand with the opening of a new warehouse in Orlando in the next two years, with a further expansion to Georgia in five years. All Florida Paper has taken their core values of people, service, innovation, integrity, and responsibility to reach more customers, future employees, and global communities.
Interview: What United Nations’ Goals do you guys address?
"4-Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5-Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
“So that gender equality, you know that 80% of our management is women, Hispanic women.
Yeah our Sales Manager is a woman, our VP is a woman, of course me, our Customer Service Manager is a woman, our Accounting Manager is a Woman, trying think who else. I’m thinking 80%, maybe it’s a little less than that.”
8-Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
“That’s definitely the case, we have a Safety Manager… we also have a Transportation Manager to make sure that all of our drivers are out on the road no more than necessary and lawful. If our drivers go over their hours they are instructed to stay overnight and drive back the next morning. We make sure all of the guys in the warehouse have safe equipment, new equipment, and repaired equipment.”
9-Build resilient infrastructure promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
“We are always doing something and constantly pushing the envelope.”
10-Reduce inequality within and among countries
“We don’t care, you want to work, you meet the job description…sometimes our job description does require for you to be bilingual, so I can’t put someone in collection who doesn’t know how to speak Spanish because then there will be that barrier in communication. We have sales reps from all over, but this has never been an issue here.”
12-Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
“We just redid our warehouse lights and it was a big investment, a capital investment on the company’s side. Not only did we gain the benefit of saving on our electric bill and all that over the years, but also they are very energy efficient lights. That was one of the purposes and reasons we decided to go with these lights. You reduce your footprint, like I said with growth for us comes with responsibility. The lighting fixture saves 2 tons of CO2 annually. They are motion sensor and sectional. Another thing that we did is buy a routing system that keeps us less time on the road and therefore less emission on our trucks and from a company standpoint it helps be more efficient. We are recycling a lot of our cardboard boxes, all of our stuff comes in cardboard boxes, so anytime we have boxes we take them apart, they get compacted and taken out. Our pallets, we recycle our pallets, so we do our part in that sense.”
16- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
“I don’t think we ever had a problem there. We communicate a lot, we have policies for certain things happen. One of the things I learned at the seminar they sent me is that you need to have a policy for things that can wrong, so people know what to do.”
What is All Florida Paper’s Business Innovation?
“We have brought in new product lines in the last few years. We brought in a whole compostable line to replace some of the foam because foam is non-degradable. So you’ve heard a lot of the problems with people throwing foam cups and stuff in the water (ocean), it causes a huge problem. Actually in Miami Beach they’ve banned foam from Miami Beach, so as supplier we really needed to step it up and go out there and find some alternative sources to the foams. We turn those around, all of the cafeterias, all of our businesses that are in Miami Beach, we sell some compostable, biodegradable fiber products, bamboo products, sugar cane products, everything form cutlery to bags. We are still actively looking for products that are sustainable and help the environment and eliminate waste.”
“With technology we have installed double monitors for everyone in the office which has brought down our printing significantly. Its cut 60% of our paper use. We also gave all of our sales reps iPads. It really has reduce our paper consumption.”
All Florida Paper has an extensive list of benefits that include:
· Saving money on transportation by using the Roadnet Route Planning Software.
· Saving money on electricity as a result of the new florescent lighting system in the warehouse.
· Reducing expenses on paper consumption by providing all office employees double monitors and field employees iPads for transactions.
· Expansion plans to go from one city to three distribution cities in the next five years.
· Increase its revenue by becoming redistributors for countries in Latin America.
· It has saved money by establishing innovative empowered teams for each project, which has eliminated loss of revenue due to poor decision making.
· Expansion of its brand has allowed it to add different management layers which has created more jobs.
The company prides itself on having positive and beneficial influences in the environment by carrying out its sustainability initiatives on a daily basis. These environmental benefits include saving two tons of CO2 annually from the installation of high-output, linear fluorescent lamps; and introducing new compostable and bio-degradable fiber and foam products, especially when the city of Miami Beach banned restaurants from using foam cups. It has reduced its carbon footprint through planning software and has promoted eco-friendly products. These eco-friendly products are Green Seal certified, while others include five Design for the Environment labeled options. The last big environmental benefit is having recycling as its buzzword. It has significantly reduced the amount of garbage trashed by operating its recycling initiatives.
The company’s biggest social benefit is the donated materials it provides for Miami-Dade Public Schools and the numerous community outreach walks that it has done like the Cancer Walk. During the interview, Macarena Acre is quoted: “If you respect your environment, you respect the ocean, the animals, the people, your home, your area, I think every else follows.” The benefits for All Florida Paper are astounding as the company simply says, “Partner with us, and Let Us Show You What We Can Do.”
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Macarena Arce, Controller