3 Ways to Make Your Company More Environmentally Friendly

You hear the craze about being “green” and becoming more “environmentally friendly.”

Your customers want it. Millennials, the single largest generation of Americans ever, love to see it from businesses.

And in addition to customers wanting to see this from you, you can substantially reduce your costs when you go green. In some cases, you can actually turn a profit where you didn’t have one before.

How?

Check out some of these innovative approaches:

1. General Mills Profits from Their Waste

This company used to send all its solid waste to landfills – at the cost of $100 a ton. Oat hulls, the remnants of Cheerios after they’re made, used to cost that much when hauled off.

But General Mills learned oat hulls can be burned as fuel. And now they have customer scompeting to buy it. General Mills actually turns a profit on removal of Cheerios’ oat hulls – instead of paying $100 a ton to get rid of it.

2. Costco’s “Dumb” Lighting Move

“Dumb” here doesn’t mean stupid. It actually refers to the fact Costco doesn’t use smart lighting to reduce its electric bills. The “smart” controls the company first considered took way too long to offset their cost of purchase and installation.

So what did Costco do?

If you’ve been in their stores, you know they use skylights to allow the sun to offer some help. This works well in Western states with lots of sun year-round. But you’ll also notice it in states all across the nation – even those with long, overcast winters.

In addition, Costco also installed LED retrofit kits that reduced lighting wattage from 100 to 35. A manual dimmer was also installed to allow employees to reduce lighting below 35 watts.

In the Pacific Northwest, Costco gets a 3-year payback on this approach. In sunny California, this falls to about a year.

3. TaiKoo Hui Guangzhou Mall

This mall currently ranks as the epitome of green on a large scale. It includes waterless urinals, graywater flushing (reusing water used in sinks), and it repurposes food waste as compost.

To top it off, the lighting and HVAC systems are all built highly energy-efficient.

Innovation is one of the main reasons America remains a leading superpower. And at a national level, it’s how you can remain competitive and appeal to your market.

So what will you do with the capital saved? Pass it on to your customers, or invest in new projects that drive your company forward?

4 Strategies to Reduce Your Freight Costs

Shipping costs can be a real nightmare. It’s hard to tell when they’re getting out of control. But to even the best of businesses, problems with freight costs happen.

So if you find yourself wondering what to do about your freight costs, relax. Be glad you discovered the problem, rather than letting it silently kill your profit.

And if you have just such a problem, or if you now realize the importance of it at your own company, here’s what you can do to reduce your freight costs:

1. Ship On Off-Peak Days

A group mentality develops in nearly every aspect of business. Most companies want their product on Thursday so they can shelve it on Friday and sell it over the weekend.

But you can save around 10% on your shipping costs by shipping on Friday – an off-peak day. Mondays tend to be off-peak days too. If you sell non-consumer goods, shipping off-peak makes for a great savings opportunity.

2. Find a Consolidation Program

Want to save 25% versus unconsolidated loads? Combine your LTL shipments with other companies to help you both save some good cash.

You can start by searching at your local Chamber of Commerce. Or you could also contact a 3PL and ask about their retail consolidation program.

3. Stick with Long-Term Business Relationships

Using this approach, you can score an additional 5% that’s inaccessible to your competition. By “inaccessible,” we mean it would take them years to get the same discount.

You may feel tempted to end your current carrier relationships and find new ones to get lower prices. That’s one way to do it.

But, you can get nice advantages with longer-term relationships. This gives your carrier more time to create other relationships so they have a more efficient shipping network. With greater profitability on their side, they have the room to give you better rates. Plus, if you sign a multiyear contract, you can lock in those lower rates for some time.

4. Proactively Manage Lead Times

The more notice you can give your carrier, the better they can plan how their shipping works. That means they can offer you a better price. Their biggest cost is often paying for a semi-trailer that sits idly at your facility.

By managing your own lead times more efficiently and giving advance notice to your carrier, you can win up to 20% more off your shipping costs.

Armed with those four strategies, you’re positioned to save on your freight and reinvest that capital into other initiatives that can drive you past your competition.

How to Green Up Your Supply Chain

Sometimes, you might question why you should make your supply chain greener. Sure, you can see the obvious benefit to the environment. But if it costs your company money, how will you remain competitive?

Fortunately, you can absolutely improve the green-friendliness of your supply chain. And you can cut your costs (or turn a profit) too.

Here’s some ideas to learn from to inspire your own initiatives at your company:

1. Container-Making Company Maersk Slashes Carbon Dioxide Emission

Can a container-making company actually be green? They get hammered in the media all the time. But, they make products essential to your lifestyle and the American economy.

In 2016, Maersk actually achieved a goal they wanted to accomplish in 2020: they reviewed 2,000 of their suppliers and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 25% for each container.

2. Toyota Does It Well All-Around

Toyota was named a Best Global Green Brand from 2010 – 2013.

Why?

They’re implementing a series of six challenges that will result in zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Their goal is to:

  • Manufacture cars that emit 90% less carbon dioxide by 2050
  • Eliminate the carbon dioxide emitted by their manufacturing processes
  • Switch to alternative energy sources
  • Minimize and optimize water usage
  • Create a system for using more recycled resources
  • Restore harmony with nature by planting trees and implementing other environmental initiatives

Now that’s about as green as you can get!

3. UPS

UPS believes the future of its business rests on its ability to meet demand, while also reducing environmental impact. They set a goal to drive one billion miles with alternative fuel by 2017 – and actually met this goal in 2016.

By 2025, they want 25% of their electricity use to come from renewable energy sources. By 2020, they want 1 in 4 of their new vehicles to operate entirely on alternative fuel. 40% of all ground fuel use will also be from sources that don’t include gas or diesel.

When you consider the size of their 8,300-vehicle fleet, that’s significant energy savings!

So, what did you learn? You may be able to directly implement some of these practices in your own supply chain.

And maybe not.

Perhaps instead these examples merely serve to inspire your thinking. Regardless, you now have more tools for environmental friendliness at your disposal.

What Makes Elkay Plastics So Amazing

When it comes to plastic bags, you just can’t top Elkay. They have the broadest selection of plastic bags you can find anywhere.

They’re not all about selection though…

So what makes Elkay such a big deal? Why do we happily share their name with our customers?

Here’s why:

1. Consistently High Product Quality

Elkay’s products are ISO 9001:2008 certified. And they also pass CFIA and Annual Food Safety Audits.

You may already be familiar with the common ISO standard. As a quick review – it measures an organization’s ability to manage their processes and keep customer service high.

The CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) regulates the safety of food, plants, and animals. And you know how tough and unforgiving any regulating body can be.

2. Elkay Offers Expertise in Helping You Grow

Elkay doesn’t just end their service by giving you bags. Actually, their sales team acts as an extension of your own sales force. With their expertise on your side, they help you choose the right product for your customers – and sell more.

3. Their Packaging Saves You Time and Money

Elkay’s bags frequently ship in cartons with individually labeled inner packs. Since you receive their product in a clean, orderly way, your labor costs stay under control. You don’t waste time receiving and shipping product. And you don’t waste the product itself.

4. Environmentally Friendly Options Available

Elkay remains highly aware of plastic bags and how they can affect the environment. To support this view, they manufacture many of their bags with d2w controlled-life additives.

What are those?

When exposed to sunlight, those additives accelerate the decomposition process. Rather than taking decades, Elkay’s plastic bags take about two years to fully decompose. And they do this without sacrificing the strength or quality of their bags.

5. Intensely High Level of Customer Service

Elkay’s customer service reps undergo rigorous training and certification. When you talk to their team, you get the right answer the first time you call.

You don’t waste your life away waiting on hold. And you get accurate answers quickly.

So, when we recommend Elkay for your company, take that seriously. They’re every bit as good as they sound.

Why You Should Jump for Joy When We Recommend Automated Packaging Systems’ Products

At Pollock, we’re happy to recommend vendors when they make sense for our customers.

…And you should be elated when we recommend Automated Packaging Systems.

But why?

What makes them such a great catch?

Here’s what:

1. They Specialize in Putting Systems to Use to Give You More Value

Automated Packaging Systems’ competitive advantage lies in combining machines, materials, and services into solutions customized just for your company. Some programs are available exclusively to customers using certain product types. And these customers get a variety of preferred services and incentives also.

2. Sophisticated Bagging Machinery Works for You

Every machine this company builds has been engineered for high productivity and efficiency. Automated Packaging Systems’ focus on this never stops.

Their bagging machines have been engineered to be so reliable that many customers use them more than 3 decades after purchase – without any sacrifices in quality or productivity!

And if you do decide to purchase one or more of their machines, they have such a broad selection they’ve got one specifically suited to your needs. With all this working together for you, you typically see positive ROI on your investment in under a year.

3. Guaranteed High-Quality Packaging Materials

Yes – Automated Packing Systems’ manufacturing facilities are ISO 9001 certified. And they also exceed the rigid tolerance standards of the Flexible Packaging Association. In addition to this, their products and processes meet or exceed industry-specific standards and regulations.

Regardless of the type of packaging you require, you can relax, knowing you have a high-quality product that allows your business to run smoothly.

4. Consistently Convenient Service

Qualified and experienced reps field your phone call. Tech support helps your machine and company operate at peak performance. And you can even get training so you can perform your own basic repairs – and operate your machinery with efficiency. Over 8,000 spare parts remain on stock so Automated Packaging Systems can quickly get you what you need and maximize your uptime.

So when you hear us say that Automated Packaging Systems will make a good fit for you – grin with excitement.

It’ll only lead to good things for your company.

5 Benefits of the Right Packaging for Your Products

Do you have custom-designed packages for your products?

You may not have considered why you would do this. Although, the fact you’re reading this article means you have some curiosity on the topic.

So why would you create custom packaging? Here’s why:

1. Reduce Material Costs

You know you have to operate on slim margins to stay competitive. Custom packaging fits your product perfectly. That means lower costs, which means more money available to grow your company in other ways.

2. Reduced Shipping Costs

Dimensional weight shipping is a fair approach to carriers moving your product around the country. By comfortably fitting the greatest volume in the least space, you get the best shipping costs. And that’s something no retailer can argue with.

3. Get Your Product Noticed

Every market segment likes a certain feel to the product they want to buy. Hit that feel spot-on, and you make it easy to keep your product flying off the shelves.

For example, have you seen Duluth Trading Company commercials? They absolutely rock their connection with men and women who work blue-collar jobs:

Your packaging needs to have that same effect. And it isn’t always easy to do.

4. Reduce Refunds

Ever had it happen where you bought a new product, and the handles broke? Then your product gets damaged and you need to take what you just bought for a return.

Or if you didn’t do that, you made the conscious decision to not return to that retailer.

It happens. And even some nationally-known retailers consistently have this problem.

Custom packaging puts an end to the wasted time and money this causes.

5. Improve Logistical Efficiency

Yes, you can design your custom packaging to fit as efficiently as possible in a semi-trailer.

This reduces the number of trips you need to make. You use less gas transporting your goods.

And once again, you have more money available to make other investments.

Once you understand all these benefits to custom packaging, it’s hard to justify doing anything else. Keep them in the back of your head as your company moves forward.

Bissell Deep Cleaning Equipment Keeps Your Building in Top Shape

If you’ve been reading our President’s Club vendor profiles of late, you’ve heard exclusively about a number of product manufacturers. Mostly, they’re making consumable commodities you use in large volumes.

Today though, we’re changing things up a little. Bissell manufactures deep cleaning equipment – and it’s been doing so since – get this – 1876. As you might guess, their goal is to help your company create the cleanest environment possible in an environmentally friendly way.

Company founder Melville Bissell actually invented the floor sweeper – also back in 1876. Today, the company keeps his same focus on quality and innovation.

Clearly, Bissell has been in the industry longer than everyone else. And they’ve certainly created a nice competitive advantage over that time.

But what specifically makes Bissell a smart choice? Find out below:

1. Focus on Making Their Products Improve Your Efficiency and Increase Your Bottom Line

Look, it’s not often you hear of a commercial cleaning products maker who also understands how to reduce your costs. Most want to focus on their product and cleanliness.

Bissell certainly understands both. At the same time, they also design all products to make your cleaning operations more efficient, which in turn reduces your operating costs. While every company is well-intended, few remember to see how they can actually improve your bottom line.

2. Products Specially Designed for Every Industry

Every company designs products for specific purposes. But we can’t think of one that creates commercial cleaning equipment for particular industries.

You can see this evidenced on Bissell’s website. To find the product you want, you actually search by industry first, and then find the product that makes sense.

Most companies do the reverse. And you can bet it makes a huge difference to the performance you get from the deep cleaning equipment you purchase from Bissell.

3. Product Spotlight: Hurricone Cordless Floor Dryer

Have people tracking in snow that melts on your floors and keeps them wet? Do you simply need to dry a recently cleaned area of your store much faster?

That’s where the Hurricone Cordless Floor Dryer comes in. It’s actually shaped just like a “Caution Wet Floor” warning cone you see in the store. But it also includes a battery with an 8-hour run time that pushes air out the bottom of the cone to dry your floors faster.

That protects your company’s reputation and minimizes the chances of a lawsuit being successfully taken against you.

When it comes to commercial deep cleaning products, you just can’t beat Bissell. And you now know why we heartily recommend them every chance we get.

Amazon’s Retail Market Domination Isn’t Unbeatable

While Amazon certainly has control of the retail market here in 2018, and seems positioned to remain the dominant retailer for years to come, they aren’t unbeatable. And traditional brick-and-mortar powerhouses can do more than they realize to snatch back market share.

Yes, you read that right. The state of the retail market isn’t totally out of your control. You can still compete. However, you have to be as quick and willing as Amazon to adapt.

Here’s how you can position yourself to outdo the competition here in 2018:

1. Your Brick-and-Mortar Stores Need an Experience that Reinvents Convenience

One retail consultant entered a Bonobos store. They could have just tossed a few discounts his way and called it a day. But obviously, that’s not a sustainable business model.

Instead, an engaging salesperson helped him quickly find the right size of clothing for him to try on. They already had their floor space set up as a showroom so you could quickly and easily see what to choose from.

Two days later, the products this consultant wanted show up at his door. Attached is a friendly and personalized note from the salesperson.

And then Bonobos made it simple to go online and make follow-up purchases.

Now that’s a different, and highly personal, experience.

And it’s what you need to recreate to offer customers a reason to shop at your store instead of buying from Amazon.

2. Why Costco, T.J. Maxx, West Elm, Lululemon and Ulta Can’t Slow Sales Down

These stores have bottom lines that still rock. Going up and to the right on their charts is an expectation, not a miraculous event.

Why?

Clearly, they focus on value pricing.

But they also make it easy to discover new products. It’s difficult to replicate this experience online.

Costco offers a marketplace-like experience because it has such a large and spacious interior. On Saturdays, they also have employees handing out food samples, which enhance the marketplace atmosphere even further.

3. All Your Sales Channels Must Work Together

We won’t name the company, but suffice to say it is a nationally known retailer. And in fact, a similar experience happens at another one.

Their website loads slow. Sometimes the product pages don’t load at all. The checkout process frequently gives you multiple frustrating errors, which it makes it a pain to purchase.

Now, those are just the basics of online sales. And some of the largest retailers in the nation have trouble with that.

Today, consumers expect you to have a similar sales experience across every channel you sell on. Retailers have known this for some time, but few do it well.

So, when your customers order online, what do they experience?

Have you tried shopping and browsing your own website yourself? Have you tried going across multiple sales channels to see how it feels?

If you don’t understand precisely how this works, it’s time to figure it out. Conduct user experience testing. Take feedback seriously. And make sure you have a team whose sole job it is to constantly research and implement this across all your sales channels.

You may not have the technological capabilities Amazon does. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete and increase your market share here in 2018.

Companies who take these tips seriously will find their stock charts quickly growing.

3 Ways You Can Use the Internet of Things to Improve Your Retail Operations

Confused by the true value the internet of things could drive for you?

You’re not alone. Retailers know about and believe in IoT as an idea, but they aren’t sure of the actual value and results it will drive for them.

Here’s some ideas to help you clarify what the Internet of Things could do for you:

1. Track Your Customer’s Behavior with Greater Precision than Ever Before

With IoT, you can track the number of people who walk past your store, the number who come through the front door, and whether or not they went in immediately. You could also learn if the way you set up your storefront convinced them to enter. You could also find out how many customers went up to the second floor, and the precise foot traffic to other sections of your store.

Armed with all this customer information, you can make all kinds of more intelligent decisions about the layout of your store. And you could easily win more sales per square foot as a result.

2. Create a More Personalized Experience, Which Leads to More Sales

No one can argue about personalization’s ability to drive more sales. It’s one thing you can use to compete against Amazon.

For example, you could make digital signs that offer messaging based on up-to-the-second market data gathered via IoT. Sensors on shelves could relay to your customers that you have low stock, which increases their urgency to buy. Your customers should feel like your store almost reads their minds.

3. Don’t Forget Your Loss Prevention Efforts

You can do more to thwart theft with IoT too. For example, you can equip jewelry cases with sensors that tell your employees they left the case open. Sensors can be motion-activated so your loss prevention team knows when a certain hot spot in your store has traffic and would be susceptible to theft.

What Do You Need IoT To Do?

The Internet of Things can be used to do nearly anything in your entire retail operation – ranging from anywhere in your supply chain to the point-of-sale. So the most sensible way to approach the matter would be to figure out your company’s biggest pain points. Then, learn how IoT could be used to solve those.

And remember, if you think you need help making a decision, you can always hire a consultant to help you out.

Why You Can Trust (And Love) Berry Global Products

Berry Global is a Fortune 500 manufacturer that specializes in plastic packaging products – and dozens of others. They have 18 different brand names they manufacture under.

Founded in Evansville, Indiana in 1967 (and still headquartered there today) it has grown into a company with more than 23,000 employees and $7.1 billion in revenue in 2017. As you can probably guess, this hasn’t happened by accident.

Jack Berry completed over 40 acquisitions, which began in 1988. And the company started trading on the stock exchange as of 2012.

What’s driven Berry Global’s success? And why do we happily recommend their products today?

1. A Relentless Focus on Growth

By “growth,” Berry Global doesn’t just mean financial growth. Sure, that’s a part of growth.

But growth really begins with employees. They receive constant training and development so they can help all customers grow, which frequently involves the design of custom solutions.

That in turn leads to product innovations, customer growth, and ultimately, Berry Global’s growth.

2. Excellence

What company would be as successful as Berry Global without an intense dedication to excellence?

Berry constantly refines and optimizes its processes and sustainability initiatives so it provides the highest quality products and services. And it does this by forming strong partnerships with every customer.

3. Product Example: Versalite

What’s “Versalite?” you ask. It’s one of many innovations that has its roots at Berry Global.

You know styrofoam cups. We’ve had them for decades. However, Berry Global wanted to figure out how to create a cup with similar insulation characteristics, but also superior performance (not breaking like styrofoam), and environmental sensitivity.

Using its experience in polypropylene, Berry Plastics developers created Versalite technology. Versalite is 100% tested by end market users and has been found to be fully recyclable. At the same time, it resists the punctures and cracking that plague styrofoam cups. And it insulates and keeps your drink warm too.

But that’s not all. You can also print any graphical design on the cup, which could of course include your own unique branding.

So when you have Pollock recommend products from Berry Global, you can feel fully safe and secure that you’re getting amazing value for every dollar you spend.

Pollock Turns 100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 1, 2018, Grand Prairie, Texas

This year, Pollock celebrates the 100th year anniversary from the company’s founding in 1918 when Lawrence S. Pollock, only 26 at the time, organized the Pollock-Burt Paper Box Company.

By the time of its 50th anniversary in 1968, Pollock Paper was an established leader in the packaging industry, with offices and plants from coast to coast.  Over the years, Pollock’s distribution and packaging operations have continued to grow, and the company added an online office supply portal in 2012 known as PollockDirect.com. The company has seen many changes in names and products over the last century, and in recognition of all of the various paper, packaging, equipment, sanitary maintenance and office supplies it now provides to its customers, it changed its moniker to simply Pollock, as it’s known today.

Lawrence S. Pollock, III, current President/CEO of Pollock, commented on this important milestone by saying, “We are so excited and proud to celebrate our 100th year in business, servicing and supplying our customer’s requirements.  This means a lot to our family and our associates, as well as me, because of our rich history and a great foundation that was built over the years by serving our customers. I know our founder, and my grandfather, Lawrence Pollock, would be very proud to see that we have continued the tradition he began in 1918, and more importantly, are well positioned to take great care of our customers and family of associates for the next 100 years.”

As a kick-off to its year-long celebration, Pollock held its annual sales meeting on January 25-26, 2018, where it shared its expansive history and stories with its associates, old and new.  Also, at this meeting, Lonnie, III announced a huge birthday party to take place September 29th to celebrate Pollock’s centennial, inviting every associate to come together and take part of this once-in-a-lifetime historic event, along with a few other special promotions throughout the year.

To learn more about Pollock’s rich 100-year history, CLICK HERE.


ABOUT POLLOCK:  Since our founding in 1918, we’ve dedicated ourselves to a strong customer service culture which offers tailored one-on-one consulting, solutions and supplies for every corner of the workplace, from facilities cleaning and management to packaging resources and office solutions. Solutions that can increase efficiency, minimize cost, reduce dependence on manual labor and improve customer satisfaction.

For more information, visit www.Pollock.com or call 855-239-4153.

Marketing Contact:  Krystina Williams, krystina.williams@pollock.com, 972-337-3634

3 Tips for Online Commerce Success in 2018 And Beyond

While Amazon certainly plays a role in the struggles of other retailers, much of the latter’s loss of market share can also be attributed to failing to adapt to market changes. Leading retailers who have filed bankruptcy, or who have experienced significant loss in market share, would absolutely benefit from figuring out what the market wants while shopping online, and serving it to them.

With that in mind, these are the top things to strategize for in 2018 and the following years:

  1. Mobile Commerce Accounts for More Revenue Than Ever

    Just how much will consumers spend online? We won’t know until early 2019 after the data gets crunched. However, Forrester projects smartphone and tablet users could account for as much as $500 billion in sales. “Mobile commerce” means much more than having a website which looks nice on mobile devices. Rather, you must create a consistent user experience across all channels. Mobile users need to know everything about a product that they would otherwise learn in the store (including difficult-to-learn information like texture and size). And they need the extreme convenience they get with Amazon. You may not be able to duplicate Amazon’s convenience. But, the closer you can get, the better.
  2. Accommodate Digital Wallets

    Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Paypal, and Amazon Pay are the leading digital wallets. They make the checkout process fast, easy, and secure. Think this isn’t a huge deal? These 37 cart abandonment studies (done from 2006-2017) have found a cart abandonment rate of 55 – 78%. Wow! Many companies lose ¾ of their online sales after consumers put items in their cart. And to top it off, 78%, the highest statistic, was actually recently found in January of 2017. Not only should you accommodate digital wallets, but you need strategies for recovering those customers who add items but don’t purchase.
  3. Dedicate a Team to Understanding Online Customer Behavior

    For the most part, companies do not understand how their customers think and act online. They’re still stuck on the in-store experience. There’s nothing wrong with working on your in-store sales, but you’ve got to work at understanding your online shoppers too.

A/B testing, customer path analysis, surveys, usability studies, and customer feedback need constant analysis. You shouldn’t just do this once annually or once every few years when you redesign your website. It’s a constant, on-going process that requires a specialized team to execute.

Keeping up with your market isn’t easy, but if you don’t, you’ll find yourself in a world of trouble like many long-established retailers. It’s simply the next logical step to take.