When Pratt & Lambert United decided on an automated line dedicated to the 29-oz cartridge management knew there had to be consistent container quality to keep the machines running smoothly. "We began talking with our suppliers at the start of this project and we've continued to share information now that the machines are up and running" says assistant plant manager Loren Wallace. "All our component suppliers have been responsive about finding out our needs and filling them. They made adjustments in their processes to make sure we got pieces that would work well in our line." To gain that level of cooperation the company "forged partnerships" with its tube supplier Sonoco Products (Hartsville SC) and with its corrugated case supplier Georgia-Pacific (Atlanta GA). Because the plant packs a variety of products into the 29-oz tube it uses various paperboard structures from Sonoco some including foil. But the tube tolerances remain the same and Wallace says the vendor has met the needs of the automated line. "With a dedicated line and a single source for cartridges we're also able to run promotion campaigns on products with copy changes and other variables" Wallace points out. Much the same is true for its corrugated cases specified for 32# edge crush. "Once we had the case packer installed we established a partnership with Georgia-Pacific to guarantee the uniformity that's needed for machine set-up loading and sealing. We know the machines won't accept the variability in cases that you can live with when you're manually erecting cases" he says. "We're very pleased with our relationships with these companies."