The Down Gauging Scare
Down gauging should not have a bad connotation to end users in the unitizing industry. Over the years, we’ve seen a phenomenal move towards thinner stretch films. Therefore, many market segments are reaping the benefits of less expensive packaging for their goods. Let’s look at how this switch can be beneficial to stretch film buyers, and why it’s so important to prove this theory.
Our industry has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Who even uses eighty-gauge stretch film any more? What keeps a customer from taking advantage of the thinner stretch films? Believe it or not, there’s an answer to that question.
Many end users today will hear two distinct words and tune out whatever information follows. Those words are “down gauge” and “thinner.” These two words have been so abused over the last decade that a customer will automatically think negative thoughts about the product. It’s easy to assume that at some point in the past, a Sales Rep did a poor job explaining or proving the efficiency of thinner stretch films. The representative did not communicate the benefits in cost and load containment. He or she failed to meet the customer’s requirements. To the buyer, it is no longer a priority to save, for instance, $.11/load. In the buyer’s mind, we are talking about pennies on the dollar, and no return is worth such minimal savings.
The scare of down gauging must be turned into an opportunity; an opportunity to involve the customer in the transition to thinner stretch film. The supplier must marry the film to the equipment, and then the film equipment to the load. This process is a simple load containment test; taking a real measurement of how many pounds of force their current film is giving and using that as a benchmark for your trial. For example, if I measure a load that gives 25 lbs. of force with a competitor’s 80-gauge film, I must find a value added film that will give a minimum of 25 lbs. of force. This will ensure proper load containment. As a supplier, we know that their load was shipping from point A to point B safely with 25 lbs. of force. Therefore, in order to gain their business, we must exceed the capabilities of the film they currently use. To do this, we must marry an Ultimate Force/Force V /Cold Force film to their equipment and prove our film’s effectiveness. As a result, GAUGE BECOMES IRRELEVANT.
Under normal circumstances, we can effectively take a customer down in gauge 10-25% without jeopardizing our load containment number. If this method is used correctly, a seller can to satisfy three goals:
The customer’s cost per load will decrease
The seller’s margin will increase
The seller will prove to the customer that Paragon Stretch Films lead to the safe arrival of their pallets