Custom Products Score With Kwik Goal
A chance meeting at a trade show in Philadelphia led to a winning new packaging method for Kwik Goal Ltd. of Quakertown, Pa. The company, a leading manufacturer and wholesale athletic distributor that produces goals, netting, accessories and training equipment for soccer and other sports, was primarily using bubble wrap and stretch wrap to package their goals. They would first put corrugated between the goal posts, then use shrink wrap to hold the posts together and bubble wrap to protect the products. Thick plastic guarded the corners of the goals, and black strapping tape held the entire package together. But Kwik Goal knew there had to be a better way.
“Our old packaging method was too labor intensive, and we needed a little more protection for our products,” company president and CEO Anthony Caruso said. The large goals were often dragged on their corners during handling and tore through their plastic wrapping, resulting in damaged paint or product.
Caruso and Kwik Goal’s production manager Pete Noneman were looking for better packaging ideas at the trade show when they first saw Laminations’ products.
They talked to Andy Batten, a Laminations account manager, at the show. Then Andy Batten visited the Kwik Goal plant to learn more about their products, and the three began to brainstorm. Kwik Goal sent a product sample to Laminations’ East plant and the team there developed a prototype packaging system.
Kwik Goal was pleased with the initial prototype. The rest of their goals were then measured, additional prototypes were made and product samples were sent to Kwik Goal for trial.
Now Kwik Goal uses four custom Laminations value-added products in 21 different sizes to package its goals. The first product, a UChannel® that is riveted and notched on one end, is used on goals with right angles.
“One of the corners on our goal posts is very critical. It’s also the corner that gets dragged the most, and this piece helps to protect the corner,” Noneman said.
The second product, a UChannel riveted on one end only, can expand and decrease to conform to the shape of the product.
“We have many products that taper, and the tapers vary, so the rivet enables the UChannel to conform,” Caruso said.
The third product is a Riveted UChannel made from FlexBoard®, which enables it to bend around product curves. The fourth product is a Riveted UChannel made from one piece of VBoard® with two pieces of VGuard® riveted to each end, which is used on T-shaped portions of the packages. Each Laminations product is custom-printed with the Kwik Goal name and logo.
Under the new packaging system, two goal posts are held together with a thin layer of shrink wrap which is applied by hand. Next, the Laminations products are set in place, and white tape is used in critical spots to hold them securely.
“With the bubble wrap, you had to have some skill to wrap it around the corners,” Caruso said. “It takes a lot less skill to apply these pre-fitted parts. During our busy season we bring in a lot of temporary help. We can easily give them these products and let them package.”
The new system is much quicker, too. “We were initially looking to cut labor costs,” Noneman added, “but this also protects our products better. Plus, the printing is good advertising for us, so we actually gained three benefits.”