Dolores Rodriguez and Milagro Packaging.

Position:SPECIAL BUSINESS EDITION: SUPPLIER DIVERSITY: EXCHANGING BUSINESS
 
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HOW DOES A small Dundee, Michigan, packaging company form a prosperous partnership with auto goliath Toyota Motors Corp.? The answer: with some strategic partnerships and steadfast grit.

Milagro Packaging LLC, which provides packaging services and material such as plastic, foam, corrugated, metal and wood, has enjoyed a thriving partnership with Toyota since 2001, when it formed a joint venture with Concept Packaging. The collaboration allowed Milagro Packaging to offer a minority option to Toyota, which enabled the small-cap company to offer more products and services to the auto giant.

Key to Milagro Packaging's successful performance as a Toyota supplier has been establishing a close working relationship with the automaker and its associates at all levels of manufacturing and distribution, Milagro Packaging founder Dolores Rodriguez told Latino Leaders Magazine.

"Working across all of the business units of Toyota, suppliers, NAMCs, TMS and TEMA have been an important part of our relationship," Rodriguez said.

Toyota has been instrumental in helping Milagro Packaging become a better company and supplier by providing guidance and assistance throughout their 16-year relationship, Rodriguez explained.

"Toyota helped us implement the Toyota Production System process throughout our manufacturing and distribution facilities," Rodriguez said. "National Action Plan of Climate Change (NAPCC) provided hands on assistance when we started our support facility in Ontario."

Despite all of the company's successes, Ms. Rodriguez explained that she constantly faces an increasing number of challenges as a small business owner.

"The number of companies that have moved a significant amount of manufacturing off-shore has reduced the opportunity to grow," she said. "The number of regulations placed on small business by the government create significant additional costs. We are constantly looking to diversify into new products and markets. Selling more services that do not involve a product has helped grow our revenue."

Without question, Toyota has been a major player in Milagro Packaging's growth. Also playing a big role in the company's growth is the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

USHCC is America's largest Hispanic business organization, representing over 4.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses across the United States that together contribute more than $668 billion to the American economy annually. The organization also serves as the umbrella...

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