A Smarter Way to Manage Labor For Kitting, Assembly and Packaging
Part 1: We Broke the Labor Model
Chapter 1: How Did I End Up Managing a Plant Full of Temps?
Part 2: Extraordinary Productivity through Human Performance
Chapter 4: Baselining Your Cost Per Unit Metric
Part 3: Capturing All of the Benefits
Productiv Edge Portfolio Companies
TemperPack (TP) was started as a college project between three high school friends while doing an undergraduate project. Two McGill ’14 Material Engineers, James McGoff and Charles Vincent, and Brian Powers, Wharton ’13 started making insulation for the bio-pharma industry as a project and got their first $10k sales while TP was still a student project. TP launched full time in 2014 and focused their business on attacking the e-commerce food market.
TP’s first products were meant to help e-commerce food companies reduce their packaging waste. These businesses were shipping sustainably sourced food in unsustainable packaging –often shipping more packaging than they were food. TP cold emailed many of the leading e-commerce companies, and often received emails back from the founders, tipping them off to how important an issue their potential customers faced.
Wanting to develop a truly green packaging insulation, TP worked with meal-kit leader Plated for 6 months and designed a fully compostable, 100% recyclable solution using jute which came from repurposed coffee bags, called Jutebox
Using this product, and contracts with early adopter customers, TP came to PI to help launch production on its first 100,000+ order of Jutebox products.
TP was introduced to PI as TP was looking for help in doing product assembly. PI immediately saw the potential of TP’s management team and took them on as a client. As a client, and portfolio company of Productiv Edge, PI provided TP the following support:
- Used PI team members to build jute and cotton assembly processes
- Recruited and managed the local Richmond labor force
- Working capital support through extended payment terms – despite no TP credit history
- Working capital support through material financing
- Provided real estate at one of PI’s Richmond locations until TP moved into new building
- Technical & Engineering
- Assisted with product development, helping TP gain competitive advantage by being the only packaging business who figured out how to sell jute
- Problem solved issues that arose
TP has been growing rapidly and recently launched a cotton product this year and now offers three product options: recycled, compostable and recyclable.
TP is expanding markets beyond e-commerce food and looking to add automation technology to improve their cost.
From Hand Drawn Records to Hand Drawn Pressing
Hand Drawn Records (HDR) was started in 2011 by Dustin Blocker, a musician who was looking to get off the road traveling for gigs and start his own business. Dustin took his experience as an artist and began sharing those lessons with new artists. As those artists began to win awards, the label HDR took off.
In 2014, Dustin teamed up with Alex Cushing and in an effort to make ordering easier on their local indie artists, began matching up their artists with vinyl manufacturers. They saw an opportunity to move from brokering vinyl to manufacturing it. Demand in vinyl is projected to grow from 6% of the overall music market to 10% and a major supply deficit with only 30 plants worldwide capable of producing vinyl and a 16 – 24 week lead time to get a record in the queue.
Hand Drawn Pressing (HDP) was created as HDR was making the change from brokering vinyl records to manufacturing vinyl records. Dustin and Alex found a company in Canada, Viryl Technologies that was going to make the first fully automated vinyl record presses in over 30 years – and decided to buy two of them. It was at this critical juncture for HDP that they partnered with Productiv and Stephen Gould on launching HDP. The well rounded partnership included:
- Financial: Productiv purchased the first two presses
- Supply Chain: provides packaging, kitting and fulfillment for vinyl records
- Hand Drawn Pressing
- Operations: Press installation, set-up and record manufacturing; purchase and operation of the ancillary machines which provide the steam and cooling process
- Stephen Gould
- Supply Chain: Sources jackets for vinyl and the associated print
- Real Estate: Provides facilities HDP to use
At the end of 2016, vinyl records outsold digital downloads for the first time. And further, as part of the vinyl resurgence, and HDP’s role in it, HDP was profiled in Forbes which can be found: (http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnsetaro/2016/11/30/hand-drawn-pressing).
According to Dustin, “Productiv has enabled HDR to stay specialists in making really great vinyl records, to zero in on audio quality control. We don’t have to worry about packaging, QA, shipping and receiving and we could never have scaled our fulfillment that fast to satisfy our current orders. And being able to tap into Productiv not only was helpful getting off the ground, but will also be vital as we scale.”