It’s a headache scenario anyone in the packaging industry can identify with: the truck trailer door opens and the scene that unfolds is one of utter disarray. The transport journey was filled with hills, bumps, twists, and turns and as a result, the contents of every pallet are either scattered across the floor or worse—seemingly secure but ready to dislodge at any moment. It’s a scenario that can lead to thousands of dollars in damage and place the safety of workers at risk.
Here at Paragon Films, we tend to get a little wrapped up in our work!
We love hearing and seeing stories about our products. This is a blog article written by Dennis Salazar of Salazar Packaging.
In his memoir about his time as a steamboat pilot, Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain recalls a story about his mentor quizzing him about certain navigation landmarks on the Mississippi River. Twain repeatedly answered that he didn't know the names of the places he was being quizzed about, and went so far as to say he was "gratified to be able to answer promptly"; even though he didn't have a clue what the answers were. At the end of the quiz, his mentor got increasingly agitated and finally scolded Twain:
Tags: stretch film, stretch film equipment, load containment, on pallet stretch, shrink film, machine films, damage resistant film, hand film, shrink film customer service, testing stretch film, shrink wrap tests, stretch film gauge, film gauge
Tags: stretch film, stretch film equipment, on pallet stretch, shrink film, machine films, damage resistant film, hand film, shrink film customer service, testing stretch film, shrink wrap tests, value added film, torque machine film, stretch film lead times, stretch film customer service, stretch wrap customer service, shrink film tests, stretch film tests
When we want to research a product or find an answer to some questions, the majority of us pull out our phones and find our answers. Having the ability to find the answers with a few taps on our phone is easier, more convenient and frankly, the “now” thing to do.
In the stretch film industry, doing business on the West coast has always had its challenges. There is an over abundance of distributors, countless end users, several local manufacturers, and of course the "import market" that make for a competitive landscape. Import Films seem to ebb and flow based on the current economic condition of the stretch film market. The domestic and overseas resin markets appear to operate inversely. Thus, creating opportunities for overseas manufacturers to penetrate the US marketplace. Over the past several years we have witnessed a number of attempts to gain a foothold on the West Coast, but they cannot seem to maintain position. Why?
It's a common misconception that people believe stretch film and shrink film are the same thing. It's true that both shrink and stretch films are designed to unitize products onto pallets and both are generally made from polyethylene resins. Shrink films are produced on blown film lines and stretch films can be produced on either blown or cast film lines. Outside of those similarities, the two packaging systems don’t have a lot of other common characteristics.
Tags: stretch film, stretch film equipment, on pallet stretch, shrink film, machine films, damage resistant film, hand film, testing stretch film, shrink wrap tests, value added film, torque machine film, stretch film lead times, stretch wrap customer service, shrink film tests, stretch film tests
As gas prices continue to climb, consumers are becoming more mindful of how many miles per gallon their car can yield. It is important for the buyer to understand the value of each gallon of gas AND the value of each individual mile. Say that unleaded gas is $3.00 per gallon and diesel fuel is $3.50 per gallon. In cars that use unleaded fuel, you can get 27 mpg, with each mile costing the driver .11 cents. In cars that use diesel fuel, you can get 47 mpg, costing the driver only .07 cents per mile. Despite the higher initial cost, consumers in this scenario accrue significant savings in the long run by using diesel fuel. This concept can also be applicable to the stretch film industry. Although stretch film testing may cost money up front, it can save the buyer money over time. Stretch film testing is crucial in helping clients calculate how to make significant savings.
In parallel with price per gallon, consumers purchase stretch film based on cost per skid wrapped. Skids are broken down into price per roll and then price per pound. The goal of stretch film testing is to find the best cost per single wrapped pallet. Film testing is a practical way for Paragon to compare its stretch film to the stretch films produced by market competitors. The different tests also show current and potential buyers how different films compare with respect to stretch, strength, and unit cost. Recently, Paragon Reps were directly involved in Torque Machine Film testing. The goal of this testing was to show clients that Paragon’s thinner gauge films are efficient and effective. The thinner films have a comparable amount of strength and quality of containment when compared to thicker gauge products, which are ultimately more cost effective.
The first step in stretch film testing is the stretch test. This test is conducted by first marking the film as it unwinds and is stretched through a machine. Next, the distance between marks on the wrapped pallet is measured. This test shows how far the film can be stretched in comparison to a competitor’s film. The next step is the force to load test. In this test, we determine the strength of the stretch film’s containment force. This is measured by stretching the film onto a pallet after it is wrapped. The force to load test allows the user to see if the integrity of the load has been compromised. The last step involves the cut and weight test. With this test, the stretch film is cut off of the individual pallet and weighed.
In several of the tests conducted, Paragon’s thinner gauge stretch film not only stretched farther than competitors’ films, it also retained a higher force to load when applied properly. The cut and weigh test is also a vital step in proving to users that Paragon’s films use less material while simultaneously yielding better results. We were able to prove that users can enjoy a lower unit cost by purchasing Paragon’s patented products. We also realized the importance of having properly working machines that are capable of wrapping pallets consistently!
In summary, these tests are vital to Paragon’s business. They show the clients, step-by-step, the immediate results and benefits gained from using Paragon’s high quality stretch films. The clients are able watch each of Paragon’s skilled Sales Reps perform stretch tests with precision and consistency. The results of film testing are a testament to the true value of Paragon products. Just as we compare unleaded fuel with diesel fuel to calculate cost per mile, we use stretch film testing to calculate cost per skid wrapped. These key tests determine which stretch film products will enable clients to maintain excellent load integrity at the absolute lowest cost per unit.
This blog was written by Patrick Smith and Allison Smith.
About the authors:
Patrick is the Sales Coordinator for Paragon Films. He has a passion for his role at Paragon and is always willing to learn from others. When he isn’t working, you’ll find Patrick fishing at the nearest lake or watching one of his favorite shows, Duck Dynasty.
It is easy to assume that regardless of where a sale is taking place, the process is the same. However, this is not the case. Selling stretch film in Mexico, for example, is much different than selling stretch film within the United States.
I have personally worked with customers at the border, and the sales experience was much different than I had originally anticipated. I was required to approach the sale with a global understanding, using different methodology than I was accustomed to. In the U.S., a sale requires more direct interaction with the distributor. For instance, a lot of effort is spent quoting the majority of the end users individually. Of course, plants are bigger in the U.S. than they are in Mexico. Therefore, they are worthy of the extra investment. However, in Mexico, you are able to utilize the price given by a certain distributor and work around their volume. This allows for possible growth and development. Due to the difficulty of this task, training and international proficiency are imperative to success.
Although sales over the border are possible, they can pose many challenges. For example, the likelihood of obtaining a trial roll or skid in Mexico is minimal. Hence, it is vital to stay with the distributor's rep consistently over a prolonged period of time. Only then will he or she be prepared to tackle a big end user without assistance.
Secondly, the negotiations of a sell can be quite difficult. This stage is considered the most arduous part of the job. Once you are able to successfully test the stretch film, you will need to present the results in a practical way. Basically, you must prove that your stretch film can fit into the buyer’s existing system. Sometimes, the buyer does not recognize the economical benefits regardless of the 10 to 30% savings per month that you may be offering. Cost per unit is the key, but you must consider the fact that approximately 90% of Mexican companies still have a price per pound mentality. With this mentality, regardless of the film gauge or footage you are offering, the buyer may not be convinced. In addition to the previously mentioned challenges, there are also extra costs that Mexican distributors must consider. For example: Import tax, additional freight, storage, etc.
At this point, you may have some questions. How do you manage to sell a US film in Mexico? What is the best way to deal with the challenges discussed above? Unfortunately, there are no specific answers. Every customer you encounter will have different preferences and demands when buying. These preferences are based on the specific systems each buyer already employs. These consumers may typically purchase by pound, by roll, by footage, by gauge, by number of skids or even by how many pallets they can wrap.
From the above information, it may seem impossible to sell stretch film in Mexico, but it’s not. If the distributor is fairly competent, you can sell added value products and keep the brand name in good shape. There truly are endless business opportunities across the border. In addition to the commitment and dedication necessary for this kind of transaction, Paragon Sales Representatives also uphold strong ethical principles. Loyalty and consistency are an important part of the sales process. Above all, Paragon Sales Reps continuously strive to satisfy the customer. These characteristics are vital for successful sales domestically and abroad.
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Tags: stretch film, stretch film equipment, load containment, on pallet stretch, shrink film, machine films, damage resistant film, hand film, shrink film customer service, testing stretch film, shrink wrap tests, value added film, torque machine film, stretch film lead times, stretch wrap customer service, shrink film tests, stretch film tests