Following is a conversation with Aaron Goulet, Account Representative from APR Allen Plastic Repair outlining the advantages of repairing reusables – rather than disposing of them thereby increasing the ROI on your investment.
Goulet: We repair reusable containers and pallets so that companies can extend their useful life and get a stronger ROI. We weld broken parts, dramatically extending their life. Our welders are the best in the industry; testing has shown that often the parts are stronger than before our repair. The longer you use a reusable, the better your return on investment.
We also modify reusables to meet the needs of a specific company or supply chain. This service is really attractive to companies that only need a few hundred or a few thousand customized containers and don’t want to pay a large upfront tooling cost. They can get a container that fits their application, rather than changing their work processes to accommodate the container or pallet. We can change the dimensions of a tote, bin, box, or pallet, or add removable panels, custom HDPE dunnage, and locks. We can also add metal reinforcements, cut-outs, and casters. Really, we can do just about anything to make a container or pallet work better for a customer.
RPA Editor: You also started a rental service?
Goulet: That’s right. We are not a pooling company, but we provide container rental for short term needs. An example is when a plant knows they will take part of their line or a machine down for awhile. So they do ‘bank builds’ where they manufacture and stockpile a bank of parts to be available until that operation is running again. They need containers to store the stockpile of parts for a short period.
RPA Editor: What are the obstacles to your growth?
Goulet: One is awareness that repair is an option. Many companies don’t even think about repairing their pallets and containers. Our work has a 3-year warranty, and we have a strong commitment to quality. We save companies money on the reusables they’ve already bought.
RPA Editor: How did the company start?
Goulet: The owner, Dan Allen, worked for a wholesale retail distribution company that used plastic nestable notes. He noticed that a good quantity of them would break and then end up in a landfill. He started taking them home and experimenting on them. He tried glue, tape, and heat guns. By chance one day, he came across some plastic welding tools at an industrial store and was successful at repairing them. So he started APR and the distribution company he worked for earlier became his first customer.
RPA Editor: In addition to repairing and modifying containers, there is a second division in the company.
Goulet: Yes, we also do plastic fabrication. We manufacture custom plastic tanks, like galvinating tanks, and also fire truck tanks and bodies.
RPA Editor: Where are the growth opportunities for your business?
Goulet: Automotive has always been a big market for us because of their volume of reusables. And they are really tough on them. It’s a fast-paced environment, moving containers from one plant to another. It’s amazing to see what a forklift can do to a container. The automotive industry is booming again so we expect to see more growth there. And our container rental service has been well received. Also, we’re excited to re-grow the modification side of our business. We’re very hopeful for the industry going forward in general.
RPA Editor: What is your role with APR?
Goulet: My title is account representative, but I wear a lot of hats. I help develop new programs and work with the president on pricing. I started off here doing the actual repairs – cutting and welding. So I have a lot of hands-on experience. I’ve been with APR for about 10 years.
RPA Editor: APR joined the RPA in 2013. Why did you become a member?
Goulet: We hope it will increase awareness for our company and our services. We exhibited in the RPA Pavilion in Vegas and liked that people come there looking for reusable solutions. We expect that PACK EXPO in Chicago will be a strong show for us.
RPA Editor: What else would you like to get out of your RPA membership?
Goulet: I’d like to see the RPA get out in front of end users more, and make more potential customers aware of what we do.