Tube Supplier Cuts Lead Times in Half or More for Sealants Packager

August 1, 2002
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Headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., EVER is a leading manufacturer of collapsible aluminum tubes used for packaging products in a variety of industries -- including adhesives and sealants. Although the company serves a myriad of customers, a key strategic focus on product quantities as small as 5,000 pieces and the ability to offer a wide spectrum of diameters and lengths makes adhesives and sealants companies with specialty needs EVER's fastest growing customer segment.

The special requirements critical to many of EVER's customers put stringent demands on all members of the management and manufacturing team. Coordination of specifications, scheduling, decoration and material to produce a high-quality, on-time product requires a motivated, customer-oriented workforce supplemented by efficient and effective management systems.

EVER makes aluminum tubes in a variety of standard and custom sizes and has the capability to engineer to customers' specifications and designs. Shown are examples of tubes, the raw aluminum disks from which tubes are made and various caps.

Rapid Turnaround Is Critical

Alan Hartlage, vice president of international sales for Accumetric, Elizabethtown, Ky., one of the largest manufacturers and packagers of silicone sealants, greases and latex caulks in the United States, says, "Lead times are everything. When we place orders with EVER, our lead times are typically one-third to a half of others' lead times," he explains. "Instead of waiting three to four weeks, for some orders, we can get delivery in five to seven days, which is especially critical when you're selling commodity products."

Hartlage says that when his company first considered doing business with EVER in 1981, it chose the company because management was easy to talk to and work with. More than 20 years later, this good relationship is still why Accumetric consistently places orders monthly with EVER.

David Calhoun, art designer at the EVER Corp. and winner of numerous design awards, inspects the print quality on a run of aluminum tubes.

A Problem-Solving Partner

As with any relationship, the true test occurs when things don't run smoothly. Hartlage recalls a problem not long ago in which several shipments of aluminum tubes sustained large amounts of freight damage on the way to Accumetric's plant.

"Todd Engholm, EVER's plant manager, came up with the idea of videotaping how we use the tubes from the moment they come off the trucks to how they are filled in our plant," Hartlage says. "He shared the video with EVER's manufacturing employees as well as the corrugated manufacturer. In the end, packing was improved tenfold, EVER's manufacturing employees had a better understanding of our application, and our confidence in EVER was solidified."

Hartlage adds, "When you have a working relationship with a company that will bend over backward to satisfy you and help you service your customers faster -- everyone wins."

Accumetric's high-speed tube-filling operation.

Working Smarter

Doug Harbison, EVER's president, says that sophisticated systems enable the manufacturing and management team to work smarter. One example is the company's PC-based pricing system, "Quote It." Quote It takes information about the structure the customer is requiring (diameter, length, wall thickness), the cost of raw material, labor, operating costs, etc., and then calculates a price. EVER then sends a quote to the customer on cost per 1,000 for that particular structure. This provides pricing consistency and speeds the response time to new product requests from the customer.

"We also have an integrated material management and manufacturing system in Newport that allows us to track data for our customers, tracking year-to-date by customer, by structure size or any combination in between," Harbison says. "With this information at our fingertips, we can better service our customers and stay cost-competitive."

Another system EVER uses to help customers reduce their lead time is a "virtual warehouse" in which they are able to track a customer's inventory and notify the company of when to reorder based on the usage data it has supplied. Wayne Brown, the company's vice president of sales for North and South America, says, "This is important in the tube industry because lead times are always a major issue."

Brown adds, "If a customer has the need for a special design or size, we can engineer it to suit his or her specifications." He emphasizes that EVER is very flexible and will enthusiastically work with customers who require "non-standard" features including:

  • Custom packaging;
  • Unique labeling requirements;
  • Special-blended ink colors;
  • Metric or standard threads;
  • Reverse threads or no threads; and
  • Specially designed internal orifices, caps or closures.


Product Highlights

In operation for more than 55 years, EVER offers tubes ranging in diameters as small as 5?inch with a 3 1?inch length, to a 2-inch diameter with an

8 1?inch length. Neck devices offered include a nasal tip, caulk tip, nozzle cap and a basic fez cap or flat cap. Available sizes range from Standard 12, 16 to 20 and 28 with metric counterparts. EVER can internally coat a tube or add a cold seal to reduce the possibility of leakage out the back end of the tube.

While printing capabilities at the Newport plant feature up to four-color printing on tubes, a new joint venture signed recently between EVER and H. Obrist & Co. AG, headquartered in Reinach, Switzerland, makes it possible for the company to take advantage of Obrist's high-speed, six-color print.

Harbison says, "With Obrist as a partner, EVER has the expanded capability of running more detailed artwork and higher volume runs, while continuing to offer the medium- to low-volume business with four-color runs we've come to specialize in. Our customers are now able to satisfy all of their aluminum-tube needs by working with us." The Obrist agreement also enables EVER to offer aluminum cartridges for the first time.

Recent Acquisition

EVER recently acquired the aluminum tube division of New Jersey-based Peerless Tube Co. This acquisition significantly expands EVER's production capability and breadth of product offerings in the adhesives and sealants industry, as well as in the personal care and pharmaceutical industries. Integration of the Peerless division is currently being completed at EVER's Newport plant.

Brown says, "Beyond offering more and expanded product options for clients, from a service standpoint, this and future acquisitions will be invisible. All orders will be processed through our customer-service team and plant in Arkansas. Customers will still communicate directly with our EVER sales team regarding lead times, ordering and specifications."

More information on aluminum tubes is available from EVER Corp., #4 Norwell Ct., St. Charles, MO 63304; contact Wayne Brown at 636-441-7621 or waynebrown@evercorporation.com; or visit the company online at www.evercorporation.com. Or Circle No. 73.

Accumetric, LLC, manufactures, packages and markets adhesives, sealants, lubricants and related products. The company is located at 350 Ring Road, Elizabethtown, KY 42701; call 800-928-2677 or 270-769-3385; fax 270-765-2412; e-mail sales@accumetricinc.com; or visit www.accumetricinc.com. Or Circle No. 74.

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