Coming into a company and designing a complete container system gives us our greatest thrill at Flexcon.
So when consulting and engineering firm, Fortna, asked us to do a total container makeover for a world-leading cosmetic retailer’s new distribution center, we jumped at the chance.
The customer was an iconoclastic beauty brand known for doing things their own way. Head to toe perfection and coordination is an ethic they espouse in their products and services—as well as in their supply chain.
In creating their latest distribution center, they embraced the leading edge of automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) as well as worker-friendly processes. The result was a distribution center supply chain with uncommon attention to detail right down to the containers they chose.
Challenge: A company committed to flawless beauty demands a perfect container system.
Central to this cosmetic retailer’s brand is a fanatical commitment to its customers and employees. Containers play such a big role in so many processes and jobs employees do, that the company wanted containers that worked well in every function they performed: supporting efficiency, leveraging ergonomics and protecting products.
To achieve that, they needed a supplier who could understand and respond to their needs—and, as is always the case, they needed to contain costs. Challenge number one was creating a system of containers that maximized performance while minimizing the overall number of container types. By reducing the number of container types in a facility, an organization can control costs—not an easy feat when purchasing from multiple vendors.
Another challenge was creating a system that used standard sizes whenever possible. In doing so, the company could limit the expense of creating custom containers.
Solution: Perfection is the culmination of all the right features in just the right combination.
Bringing Flexcon in early in the planning process helped this company to design a system of containers and accessories that was meant for each other.
Flexcon met with Fortna and the customer to understand every container use and the unique function in each case. Working closely with the client enabled Flexcon’s team to provide containers that met individual needs and worked well together. “It’s really a way to make a positive impact on every person, process and product in a company,” explains Ken Beckerman, President and CMO of Flexcon. “Because containers are literally part of every aspect of business.”
The close collaboration also enabled the team to identify cases where one container model could do the work of multiple containers. By looking for efficiencies in this way, Flexcon was able to reduce the number of container-types the customer thought they needed, saving them money without sacrificing performance.
The work was complex, but the solution Flexcon’s team provided was vastly simplified. Flexcon’s systemwide view and understanding of the company’s operations mitigated the risk of miscommunication and mistakes. Teaming up with Flexcon came with the added benefit of working with one point of contact and source of accountability. Flexcon was part of the process and a partner in ensuring the company received their deliverables in time to meet their deadline.
Deliverables: Flexcon provided the total package in-house.
- 7,000 attached-lid containers used throughout the factory when picking orders and also when shipping to and from retail stores
- 90,000 molded shelf bins specially selected to fit the customers’ products perfectly while also maximizing the cube utilization of their shelving
- 5,000 stackable, nestable containers used for order picking, conveying and as a buffer
- 20,000 custom nestable, hopper-front reinforced corrugated plastic containers designed specifically to fit carts and shelving
Benefits: When containers integrate and anticipate, it’s a beautiful thing.
Flexcon’s consultative approach and full service capabilities enabled the team to see the customer’s big picture and design a solution of containers for them that excels in every instance: on dollies, in the pick line, while storing, over conveyors, during sortation and with ASRS.
“Flexcon is one of the only, if not the only, container manufacturer that can provide a comprehensive, integrated solution under one roof that includes standard models, custom designs and all the complementary tools that optimize a container chain like pallets, dividers, lids and carts,” Beckerman explains.
Experienced project management enabled Flexcon to hit a hard deadline that will have the facility online in time for its peak season. Flexcon’s established process of listening for details, guiding through expertise and responding throughout the approval phase kept the process rolling like an assembly line. “Our job really is to make containers the easiest part of the job. It’s what we’re there for,” Beckerman says.
By bringing Flexcon in early, the team was able to spec the best solutions in the most economical way. “By having us involved throughout, we could address challenges on the fly. For example, when a mysterious odor caused concern, we were there to explain where it came from and how it would fade in time,” Beckerman recounts. “And when the fire marshal had questions about flammability and footprints, we were there to provide answers.”
Conclusion: Perfection comes from attending to every little detail.
Flexcon’s commitment helped the cosmetics retailer realize the full benefits of an optimized container solution. We also had the expansive product line to make it work. That includes dividers that enable efficient work and protect products, dollies that fit containers snugly, plastic pallets made for the containers they hold and more. Our extensive product line and expertise enabled us to provide for every need in the best possible way. It was a beautiful thing—just the way the customer wanted it.
What would the perfect container solution look like for your company? Set up a call to find out.