One sure way to management's heart is through its ledger. At Price Pfister hearts are beating stronger since the company installed three shrink bundling machines at its Pacoima CA headquarters facility to wrap boxed kitchen and lavatory faucets. In the past year the company has added one automatic and two semi-automatic in-line shrink wrapping systems from Great Lakes (Chicago IL). The equipment was purchased through Kent H. Landsberg's (Montebello CA) Integrated Systems Group. The equipment wraps groups of three four or six individual faucet boxes in 4-mil low-density polyethylene film made by Armin Plastics (Jersey City NJ). Designated the 1000 Series the unprinted film is also acquired through Landsberg. The film provides clarity and the necessary characteristics to accommodate shrink wrapping. The bundles are sold to both retail and wholesale outlets who discard the outer packaging and sell the faucets individually. Shrink wrapping has phased out manual packing of the boxes into master corrugated shipping cases. Economics justified the change. According to senior packaging engineer Al Lackland Price Pfister pays 5¢ for the shrink film necessary to wrap the group of boxed faucets. That's 80¢ less than the master shipper that had been used to do the job. Price Pfister would not divulge specific total savings but Lackland says "the wrappers paid for themselves in three months." Efficiency also factors into Price Pfister's justification for the switch to shrink bundling. The faucet manufacturer added its first Great Lakes unit in December '95. That semi-automatic Model 737-2 Band-O-Matic machine is equipped with Great Lakes' new HVP4/488HP hot-plate tunnel. A second semi-automatic system was added about three months later. Both operate at speeds of eight to 10 bundles/min. A third unit an automatic Model 1737 Band-O-Matic was installed this past spring. All three are used to wrap different Price Pfister product lines. The automated system which also includes the hot-plate unit produces 10 to 14 bundles/min. It also is equipped with an assembly table at the infeed that hastens prestaging of product. Extra spindles accommodate additional rolls of film compared with the semi-automatic units. This helps speed roll changes. The speeds of both the semi-automatic and automatic machines are considerably greater than the two or three master shippers/min that an operator could pack with individual boxes then close with tape. That translates into better efficiency though Lackland says it does not generate labor savings. What the switch does generate is warehouse space savings. Lackland says that each year the company had to order 1 pallet loads of knocked-down master shippers to meet production demand. With shrink film 60 pallets provide a one-year supply. Added together the material and warehouse space savings and increased efficiency are pretty serious gains for a company that bills its products as "the pfabulous pfaucets with the pfunny name." "We believe that packaging represents up to 30 percent of the cost of the final product so packaging is looked at as a means of improving quality and cutting costs" Lackland states.