Allied Plastics takes your products from engineering to your retail customers
In the early stages of the pandemic back in July 2020, Allied Plastics received a call from a prominent kitchen/bath products manufacturer. Demand for home improvement products was exploding and the company needed help keeping up. The company also had a brand new product that would require a certain level of plastics manufacturing capability.
“This company already had an initial design and even had the material selected,” says Jon Larson, OEM sales manager at Allied Plastics. “They looked to us for recommendations on the tooling design in order to produce the styling they wanted. We ended up working 10 tools through at the same time. It was quite an undertaking.”
Allied Plastics continues to produce a large volume of this product, which happens to be a shower wall surround. “This shower wall surround uses a subway tile pattern,” Larson points out. “Much development was focused on getting the grout lines just right, because the client wants them to look as realistic as possible. Our experienced team was able to come up with a way to make that happen.”
In addition to forming and trimming the shower walls, this project also entails packing them with hardware and assembly instructions, as well as boxing them up. This turnkey solution is what makes the product Retail Ready.
“The client sends its trucks to our distribution center to load up product and transfer it to their own distribution center,” Larson says. “From there the client can ship product out to its retail partners. We’ve been producing three or four truckloads per day. This has been a huge project that has really given us an extra boost of confidence in our expanding Retail Ready line of business.”
Handling that kind of volume requires significant manufacturing and storage space. Fortunately, Allied Plastics nearly doubled its warehousing capacity when it opened a new 85,000-sq-ft distribution center in September 2021. The new DC also helped free up additional space for manufacturing, further boosting Allied’s productivity.
“There is no doubt that our investments in our people, equipment and facilities have played a huge role in helping us deliver on a project of this size,” Larson relates.
Retail Ready requires the right competencies
When Allied Plastics provides a RETAIL READY product to a client, that product is ready for display in a retail setting. That takes a lot of pressure off the retailer, which is music to a retailer’s ears.
“It costs a retailer money every time someone has to touch a product,” says Mike Sheridan, business development manager for the consumer products group at Allied Plastics. “We’ve gotten to be pretty good at this. Our Retail Ready products can be found at leading retailers and home centers across the country.”
When it comes to Retail Ready manufacturing, the packaging component is very important. Not every plastics manufacturer is willing or able to take it on. But at Allied Plastics, Sheridan says the packaging scheme is based entirely on the customer’s shipping and merchandising needs.
“I always ask our customer if they have a vision for what the label and trade dress should look like,” Sheridan says. “Do they need a label somewhere on the outside of the carton? Barcode placement is also extremely important. Everything today is about logistics—making sure the product can get through distribution as efficiently as possible and still look great when it’s merchandised in a store.”
For example, one of Allied Plastics’ Retail Ready projects involves a product that hangs on a peg hook. Thus, the packaging component includes a hanger, as well as a full-color label to help sell the product in a succinct way. “All the retailer has to do is open a box, grab a product, and hang it on a hook,” Sheridan points out.
In another instance, the client’s primary logistical concern was maximizing shipping capacity. So Allied Plastics designed the product to have the smallest footprint possible. By identifying that need upfront, Allied was able to move into the design and tooling stages with a clear understanding of what needed to be done to meet the client’s expectations.
“Our core competencies are designing products and manufacturing them in the most efficient, cost-effective manner,” Sheridan says. “We also place a lot of emphasis on needs assessment. In order to provide the right Retail Ready solutions, we have to understand what our customer is trying to do and what their challenges are. That is our focus from inception to conception.”
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