New space-efficient rectangular 5-gal jug helps C.A.R. Products improve filling and handling. Convenience for end users helps boost sales by 10%.
Replacing 5-gal pails with a space-saving 5-gal rectangular-shaped container has saved more than space for C.A.R. Products a West Springfield MA maker of cleaning solutions for auto dealers detail shops and car wash businesses. Although the new high-density polyethylene container costs more it cuts labor and storage costs for C.A.R. while benefits to end users have helped the company increase sales. "In our business a package should be designed for maximum ease of handling and application as well as cost-efficient shipping and inventory" says C.A.R. president Bob Goldenberg. The company fills containers from 16 oz to 55 gal in size but the 5-gal size is one of its most popular. Previously C.A.R. used a 5-gal pail with a full lid that included a 1" pull-out spout. Like other round containers with handles costly space was wasted when the pails were palletized. Last May the firm switched from the pail to the Ecoset® container from Hedwin Corp. (Baltimore MD). The patented container has a more efficient design that not only saves space but thanks to its contoured lines it allows for more complete emptying. This eliminates the "trapping" of product inside that many other containers experience. Both the container and cap are made of HDPE for easy recycling. The container also meets the specs for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and United Nations shipping regulations. Saving space first One of the primary attractions of the container for C.A.R. was its efficient use of cube. Unlike pails that add a handle later Ecoset integral carry handle is molded in. Its cap is supplied with a "reducer" for easy attaching of a spigot. Not only is it space efficient but its design makes it easy to stack palletize and transport. "We figure that four Ecosets can be stacked in the same space as three pails" Goldenberg says. That type of space utilization is helpful at all parts of the distribution cycle. Incoming loads of Ecoset containers are neatly squared pallet loads secured with corner boards and strapping. At the filling stage Ecoset proves easier to use than the pail it replaces. The pails required the worker to hammer down the lid to seat it properly. That took longer than applying the cap to the Ecoset. C.A.R. Products' solutions are measured into 800-gal mixing vats and pumped directly into hoses that are used to fill the Ecosets. "Our filling spout fits right into the 70-millimeter opening of the container. Once filled we use a torque wrench to seal the caps" says Goldenberg. "When we first made the change we had some leakers when the caps would either crack from tightening too much or loosen in shipping from applying with too little torque. We talked to Hedwin about this and they recommended the torque wrench. We now use 70 psi pressure to seat the caps and we haven't had any problems with leakers. We get the optimal seal without cracking the cap." The wrench wasn't cheap the company says. But it does solve two big problems: customer dissatisfaction and credits for leakers. Once the containers are sealed workers affix 4 x 6" pressure-sensitive paper labels across one end of the horizontal container. For products that warrant it workers also apply another p-s label that promotes the biodegradability of the solution. Worth the cost Along with the storage and handling benefits for C.A.R. Products the new container offers some decided advantages to its customers. The most important is the ability to empty all of the container's contents. When horizontal the Ecoset is easy to fill and carry by hand. The bottom profile provides space for the handle in stacking. When a customer is going to use the product the container is set up on one end so that the recessed neck is at the bottom. Many of C.A.R.'s products are used in spray bottles at car washes and affixing the spigot to the 3/4" reducer in the cap permits easy dispensing from the Ecoset directly into the bottles. In the past the pails had a pull-out spout that had to be used with a funnel. That wasn't convenient and spillage was a frequent problem Goldenberg reports. Since the neck is at the bottom of the contoured container all of the product can be used. With other containers of this size it's possible that from a pint to as much as a quart of product can be trapped in the container says C.A.R.'s president. Regular customers in the company's three-state marketing area include car rental companies like Budget and National transport companies like Peter Pan Bus Lines and car wash chains. Virtually all customers receive deliveries on C.A.R. Products' own trucks. F. L. Roberts Golden Nozzle chain of car washes appreciates the kind of service and convenience that C.A.R. offers. It buys cleaning compounds exclusively from C.A.R. "because they offer not only a variety of good products at a competitive price but provide full service and personal attention" says Richard Smith operations manager. Although it normally purchases in drums it does specify the Ecoset containers when extra convenience is required. Altogether the Ecoset container is significantly more costly than the previous pails Goldenberg says but he'd never consider going back. "With the spigot the new container costs us about 30 percent more than pails" he says. "But it's helped us increase our sales by 10 percent or more. So we more than make up the difference in volume." An average C.A.R. product in the 5-gal Ecoset wholesales for about $28 so the packaging cost is just a bit above 10% of product selling price. "Packaging is definitely a significant part of our customer service" Goldenberg concludes "and the quick success of Ecoset attests to that. In the last five years our sales have doubled so we're confident of our approach."