How Well Do You Interact with Your Customers?

By: Greg Gibson, Sales Representative

Customer Engagement

When you call on an existing or potentially new customer do you stop and think what does this person know about my product, in my case this is expanded polystyrene (EPS)?

Many of us in the industry have been selling EPS for quite a while and can sometimes take it for granted that our customer base has an understanding about what we sell and how it is used. That is obviously a big mistake! There are many competing products out there and each one of those products have their own angle to try and influence our customers to buy from them.

I remember working with some of the big box stores where we would provide product knowledge sessions with their staff.  We would show them samples and literature and talk about all of the attributes of using EPS. At the end I would ask if there were any questions.  The majority of the time they would shake their heads no and that would be the end of the class. I would leave wondering if I actually made an impact or not so I decided that in the future, instead of standing in front of everyone and just going over the literature and handing out samples, I would get them involved.

The next time I introduced myself, held up a sample of EPS and told everyone we were an alternative to the other products on their shelf.  I then handed out 3×6 index cards to each person and asked them to give me one reason why they would promote the other product over ours. Now I had them participating in the discussion even if it wasn’t verbally. The cards were passed back to me and we would discuss each response. All of a sudden I had their attention and it was absolutely amazing how this small change created an easy way to engage customers in open dialogue to share ideas and information.

Next time, think about how you engage your customers through interaction to help them actively learn about your product.  ACH Foam Technologies has a great expanded polystyrene (EPS) product to sell but without engagement we would not be able to fully understand our customer’s unique challenges and how we can help them reach their goals.

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Flawed Studies and Misleading Statements Lead to EPS Ban in San Francisco

By: John Cowan, Regional Sales Manager

San Fran with Cup

Note: ACH Foam Technologies does not manufacture food and beverage EPS.

Last summer the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance banning EPS products to include transport packaging, coolers, beach toys, and other EPS products. According to the Board of Supervisors, this progressive legislation was long overdue. It is one of the most stringent EPS bans in the country.  Let’s take a look at some of the “rationale” behind the ban.

The Board relied on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for information about polystyrene foam.  The EPA states, “such materials can have serious impacts on human health, wildlife, and aquatic environment and the economy.” A pretty strong argument until you take a closer look. The Board of Supervisor’s Ordinance takes this statement along with many other pieces of information that are not necessarily related to each other, specifically referencing styrene’s ill effects on health, to formulate the conclusion that EPS should be banned.  The chemical styrene and polystyrene are recognized as distinctly different materials by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as noted in their report, “Response to Comments Pertaining to the Notice of Intent to List Styrene as Causing Cancer Under Proposition 65.” While styrene is a building block chemical used to make the raw material for expanded polystyrene (EPS), there is often a great deal of confusion and a false impression that they are the same when in reality they are very different materials with unique chemical compositions.

Additional information reviewed by the Board of Supervisors was litter.  Ordinance No. 140-16, Section 2e states “disposable food service ware and packaging foam constitute a significant source of litter on San Francisco’s street, parks, and public places, and the costs of managing this litter is substantial.”

Upon closer examination according to the 2008 City of San Francisco Streets Litter Re-Audit, polystyrene makes up only 1.07% of the total volume in the large litter category and ranks 13 out of 16 in small litter categories at 2.5%. By comparison there were 5 times the amount of paper cups reported in the same litter study.

In another study concerning contamination in San Francisco Bay polystyrene was not categorized separately but was lumped in with other items such as cigarette butts.

The list of “reasons” to ban EPS goes on and on with no evidence to support the position. When you take the time to examine why the ban was initiated, you find very flawed or misleading statements & points of view.

Lastly, the City of San Francisco has no recycling program for EPS although it is 100% recyclable.  Many cities across the U.S. have developed successful recycling programs.  There are resources available to learn about how to recycle EPS, manufacturers such as ACH Foam Technologies, EPS Industry Alliance, and Dart Container’s Home For Foam program.

Sources:

EPA Document “Assessing and Monitoring Floating Debris,” 2002.
HDR for The City of San Francisco San Francisco Environment Department, “The City of San Francisco Streets Litter Re-Audit,” 2008.
OEHAA, “Response to Comments Pertaining to the Notice of Intent to List Styrene as Causing Cancer under Proposition 65,” April 2016.
Rebecca Sutton, Sherri A. Mason, Shavonne K. Stanek, Ellen Willis-Norton, Ian F. Wren c , Carolynn Box, “Microplastic contamination in the San Francisco Bay, California, USA,” May 28, 2016.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors Breed, Peskin, Mar, Campos, and Cohen, “Environment Code – Food Service and Packaging Waste Reduction,” Ordinance No. 140-16, File No. 160383, July 12, 2016.
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Business Partner versus Material Supplier, Choosing Value Over Price

By: Joe Kurz, Packaging Specialist

I had an interesting meeting with one of our long time packaging distributor customers this week. As in many cases, we are not their sole EPS packaging supplier of record. The meeting was to inform me that even though we were not the lowest cost supplier for the materials they were buying, they would be moving additional business currently with a competitor over to us.

Why did this customer forgo the option of cost savings? They cited our speedy production and delivery, quality of the product and its packaging, and the courteousness of our delivery personnel is more valuable to them than price. Input from their own warehouse crew who interact with our drivers was included in their decision to move business to us from their other supplier. Perhaps the most important factor was that their customers, who ultimately put our products to use, have provided feedback that they prefer our product over the other supplier.

ACH Foam Technologies strives to deliver high quality products with expedited lead times. Often when pricing is the primary factor, it ends up being a race to the bottom. Rock bottom prices often means slower production lead times, lower quality, and lack of customer service. We recognize there may be a market for these types of products but this is not the market we are focused on.

If you value these qualities over price, let ACH Foam Technologies show you how we can be your partner for all your EPS foam packaging requirements.

Real-patnerships-infographic-RAM-632x1024

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Big Picture Contractor Initiative

By: John Myers, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

SD-COMM-C2

It is easy for us to lose sight of all the opportunities that surround us as we focus on the demands that come our way daily. How often have you looked back and seen something that you should have been a part of but because you were so focused on a project or too busy that you missed an opportunity?

ACH Foam Technologies is here to help! A new initiative is rolling out at ACH Foam Technologies to help those that have the best opportunity to impact the bottom line of commercial projects. General Contractors, Construction Managers, Design Builders and all others that bring a building owner’s projects to fruition will find beneficial information from our training presentation. ACH Foam Technologies has high-performance building products such as Foam-Control® Geofoam lightweight structural fill, Foam-Control® Plus+® Insulation under slabs and around foundation walls, Foam-Control Plus+ MAX™ placed in the cavity wall, and Foam-Control® tapered and flat continuous roof insulation. Wow! All of that from one manufacturer!

If you are one of the aforementioned providers, please give us a call and we will help you understand all of these applications and how they can help improve your bottom line. We can also make you a hero in the eyes of your clients and the building owners with our Foam-Control® and Foam-Control Plus+® insulation products. From below the grade to the top of the building, ACH Foam Technologies can help you and industry leaders excel.

Contact your area representative today and ask about our “Big Picture” Contractor initiative.

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DuraTherm® Wine Shippers – Announcing our NEW Universal 6-Pack

By: Dave Hallauer, Packaging Specialist

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAACH Foam Technologies would like to announce the newest addition to our lineup of DuraTherm® Wine Shippers, the Universal 6-Pack. Engineered to offer maximum protection of six 750 ml wine bottles from damage and breakage during shipment. The new universal 6-pack is designed with the added feature of an interior cavity that will hold a 24 oz. gel refrigerant to offer a greater degree of thermal protection during the summer months.

The DuraTherm® Wine Shippers are available in 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and multiple 12-pack configurations. All DuraTherm® Wine Shippers are molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam which offers a superior level of cushioning protection than alternative molded pulp wine shippers. EPS also has intrinsic insulation properties which is beneficial to avoid exposing wine to extreme temperature changes (both hot and cold) during transit.

Despite the common misconception, EPS is both recyclable and an environmentally friendly alternative to paper based products. Several life cycle studies have been published recently comparing the environmental impacts of plastics vs paper. The findings of one such report (InFo Kunststoff e.V. ‘EPS Packaging Versus Moulded Pulp Packaging LCA’) stated in summary, “When compared to EPS, molded pulp consumes between 70 –115% more energy, results in 9–31% more air pollution and emits between 323–348% more greenhouse gas”. Scientific proof that EPS has environmental performance aspects that are more favorable than paper packaging products.

DuraTherm® Wine Shippers (and all DuraTherm® Packaging products) are not only the logical choice for superior cushioning and thermal protection but also the eco-friendly solution for your wine packaging needs.

Contact your local ACH Foam Technologies Sales Representative for pricing and availability.

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