success-stories

How General Films Created a Custom Packaging Solution

In the heart of North Carolina’s furniture manufacturing region is the city of Hickory, home to Century Furniture. Founded in 1947, Century is a wood and upholstery-furniture manufacturer that designs, builds and ships furniture from its base an hour outside of Charlotte to cities across the U.S. and to more than 40 countries all over the world. The company’s furniture is sold in boutiques and stores that cater to customers who appreciate finely crafted luxury furniture, impeccable design and outstanding quality.

To ensure its high-end products make it to their destinations unscathed, Keith Nichols, Century Furniture’s Plant Three operations manager, is always looking for ways to make the furniture packaging process more effective and efficient, and to minimize returns. For the longest time, Nichols said, the company would use plastic shrink bags from its local supplier to wrap its sofas, loveseats and chairs, as well as a film that wrapped around smaller pieces.

“FOR THE PACKAGING PROCESS, WE LOAD THE SOFA ON A CARDBOARD TRAY, WRAP DRAPES AROUND THE SOFA, PUT THE WHOLE THING IN A SHRINK BAG AND THEN HEAT SHRINK,” NICHOLS SAID. “BUT I WANTED TO GET AWAY FROM THE SHRINK BAG WE WERE USING BECAUSE IT TOOK SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY TO SHRINK.”

Nichols began looking for a new solution in 2012, but all the film suppliers he contacted either didn’t have a solution, or weren’t interested in finding one. “I thought that was it,” Nichols said, and he resigned himself to sticking with the same packaging film that his competitors were using.

Two years later, Nichols got a phone call from Wes Hendley, of General Films. Hendley had recently been hired as General Films’ national accounts manager after having worked with Nichols in the past.

“He remembered that his old company hadn’t been able to help us and thought, with a little work, General Films might be able to find the answer,” said Nichols.

After a trip to Hickory to analyze Century’s packaging process, shrink bag and packaging film, the engineers at General Films believed they could develop a film that would shrink faster while delivering both superior strength and a better seal.

“THE FIRST BAG THEY CAME BACK WITH WAS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN WHAT WE WERE USING AND DID THE JOB, BUT GENERAL FILMS WASN’T SATISFIED,” NICHOLS SAID. “THEY KEPT TWEAKING IT AND GOT US A BAG THAT WAS EVEN LESS EXPENSIVE, GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND TO FIND THE BEST POSSIBLE PRODUCT FOR US.”

The final bag and film General Films created for Century Furniture is designed to shrink more in length when heated, rather than width. This resulted in both a stronger and thinner film that shrunk tighter and faster. For Century Furniture, the operational and financial results of switching to General Films’ products was immediate and beyond expectations.

In product costs alone, Century Furniture saved about 43 percent on bags and film by switching to General Films, Nichols said. But, there were operational efficiencies too.

“Using the new bags and film, our packaging process sped up, which meant we were able to reduce the head count on that team,” said Nichols. “That’s saved us $60,000 - $70,000 a year in labor and benefits.”

Since the switch, Nichols said Plant Three now uses General Films’ bags and film exclusively.

“I’M VERY SATISFIED,” NICHOLS SAID. “RIGHT NOW, I’VE GOT SOMETHING MY COMPETITORS DON’T.”

ABOUT GENERAL FILMS

To learn if General Films can help your furniture manufacturing operations realize greater efficiency, more secure packaging and labor cost savings, visit www.generalfilms.com or call 888-436-3456 to speak with one of our experts.

More than 20 years of trusted quality between General Films and Vision Plastics

Denny Brashear President, Vision Plastics, Louisville, KY

For more than 20 years, Denny Brashear has worked with General Films; matching the needs of his clients with the specialties of General Films’ products. Denny is the president of the Louisville, Kentucky-based Vision Plastics, a manufacturer’s representative organization. General Films is one of his primary lines. 

“One of the most important qualities we see in films is the ability to duplicate a run, and General Films consistently duplicates their runs,” said Brashear. “Whether it is a week, a month, or several years later, you know the quality and specs received the first time will be matched in subsequent runs.”

Brashear’s food and industrial packaging customers who purchase General Films’ products use mostly mono layer materials.  One of the things that keeps him returning to General Films is the customer service.

“Besides the consistent quality of General Films’ products, their customer service is a major benefit,” said Brashear. “They are very accommodating and go out of their way for customers. This is a difficult industry to learn, and they have a lot of experience; you know you are in good hands. They also track everything. From order acknowledgement to invoicing, they are very thorough which gives customers a high level of confidence in their ability.”

“I have a great history with General Films. They have outstanding quality and service, and that is everything.”

 

Automotive Supplier Profits From Team Spirit

Linda Cleveland CEO, Industry Products, Piqua, OH

LindaCleveland med"Being Proactive and exceptionally responsive is what sets General Films apart from the typical supplier," according to Linda Cleveland, CEO of Industry Products Company, a 42-year-old Piqua, Ohio enterprise that serves the automotive industry.

"We provide plastic watershields and other products to such customers as Honda, Toyota and BMW. Linda continues, These watershields protect the interiors of vehicles from moisture. As you might guess, these companies hold suppliers like us to very high quality standards, so the plastic film we die cut or vacuum from must be virtually flawless. We get that kind of consistent quality from General Films."

"Because we want to give our customers the best possible service and deal with a number of variables, we tend to have a lot of order changes and General Films is very accommodating. In the same way, whenever we bring them a special requirement like the need for a fire retardant material or the ability to print on the film, they react quickly with good solutions. The CEO, Tim Weikert, always impresses me with his depth of knowledge about plastic film and his willingness to have his people work with us to solve problems."

In regards to being proactive, Linda shares this story: "About 3 or 4 years ago, General Films came to us with a way to reduce our materials costs. They suggested that, for many of our applications, they could substitute non-virgin material without degrading our product quality. Frankly I was skeptical at first, but the savings have been substantial and we've had no quality issues. In my experience it's very rare that a supplier will come to you proactively to help you reduce the cost of what you are buying from them. It makes you feel that they are truly on your team."

For Mar-Pak It's All About Value

Jan Drennen of Mar-Pak, Inc, Marietta, Ohio

jan med Jan Drennen of Mar-Pak, Inc. knows a great deal about customer service. After all, the Marietta, Ohio-based company's success is built on satisfying their customers with top quality packaging products and services. And with more than 30 years in the packaging business, Mar-Pak is obviously doing its job well.

According to Jan, an important part of the company's ability to be a "one source resource" for its customers is working with the right suppliers, like General Films.

"General Films is the first supplier we call," Jan says. "For over twenty years they have delivered excellent products and customer service. If we have a special need for one of our customers, their people work with us to come up with the best solution. Whether it's Cindy in customer service, John or Tony in sales or even Tim Weikert, the CEO, they''ll do whatever is necessary to help us satisfy our customers."

"I have nothing but good things to say about them." Jan continues, "They're very professional and competitively priced. On the rare occasion when there is a product issue, they take care of it immediately. I do get quotes from other suppliers, of course, but when I look at the total value of cost, customer service and their outstanding track record, General Films is hard to beat."

Anderson Erickson Dairy Finds Business Relationship Not Just Business As Usual

Craig Colonno, Purchasing Director & Ice Cream Mix Manager, Anderson Erickson Dairy, Des Moines, Iowa

colono medWhen you ask me what I would tell others about General Films, I'd say they have good quality products, they listen to the customer, they help us solve problems, they react quickly, and their prices are fair. I like to say that this is a business relationship that has also become a great business friendship.

So says Craig Colonno, Purchasing Director & Ice Cream Mix Manager for Anderson Erickson Dairy in Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Colonno recalls his first encounter with General Films over 15 years ago: "We were dealing with another supplier that couldn't make delivery on some of the plastic fluid bags we use. Even though we weren't one of their regular customers, General Films got us out of a bind for several months by supplying bags that worked with our filling equipment. Frankly, I don't know what we would have done without them stepping in."

"We returned to our regular supplier out of a sense of loyalty, but a few years later we went back to General Films for our bags. Soon after, we worked closely with them to develop an automated web filler that would meet our specific needs. You might say we participated in the design of that filler and General Films was great to work with. They took me to see various fillers at other facilities and the prototypes they developed. Then they listened to what I had to say and acted on it."

"To this day they ask my opinion about new products or how to improve existing ones and actually listen to what I have to say. They appreciate and use the input from those of us who have experience working with these fillers and bags."

"In the same way, if I have a problem, they listen and quickly act to help us get back on track. Once in a while you have a panic situation like if we landed a new account that wants to get started tomorrow and requires a lot more bags than we have on hand. We can't tell a new customer they have to wait a week so that we can stock up on bags. But I can call General Films and they respond quickly to our needs; that's the real key. And from a quality standpoint, we haven't had any issues I can think of for the past several years."

"Although everyone's prices for plastic bags has gone up recently, General Films has remained very competitive and informative on all increases. They've had to raise some prices over the years, of course, but we feel they have been very fair about it."

The Anderson Erickson Dairy was founded in 1930 and continues to be family owned and operated. The third generation of family owners continues to live by the values of founder Iver Erickson while continuously investing in new technology to produce a full range of Quality You Can Taste dairy products.