Issue Mar Apr 16
Having evolved from exclusively selling pallets since the mid-1980s, Millwood Inc. is now known for its focus on unit load solutions. Millwood offers pallets, packaging machinery and material handling systems, as well as knowledge of how customers can safely contain their entire unit load. Millwood helps customers determine what packaging products best protect their loads, while being mindful of price and practicality.
Through its regional sales team and national accounts program, Millwood serves both small-to-midsize businesses and Fortune 500 companies. The company’s products have a strong emphasis in markets such as the food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, paper products, consumer products and chemicals industries.
“We work with companies of all sizes,” Director of Corporate Marketing John Moore says. “Regional sales managers handle local customers and the national sales team covers the large, multi-location accounts that could be national or global in scope. When we look for customers, we initially focus on the industries where we’ve traditionally been successful, though we are open to serving any industry where we can provide value added service and products.”
Millwood plays primarily in the transport packaging arena, not necessarily with smaller single unit product packaging.
“Our focus is on end of line packaging; when boxes, bags and cartons are being palletized,” Moore says. “Products need to be protected as they are packaged and put in the warehouse, as well as during transit and shipment. We look at that entire process.”
Millwood has several initiatives to improve service and expand reach. These plans include moving to new regions with local sales support, evaluating acquisition opportunities and continuing its unit load commitment through ongoing training and use of the company’s packaging lab in Vienna, Ohio.
“Customers can use our lab to simulate their shipping conditions,” Moore says. “At Millwood Lab, we analyze how materials should be applied and provide customers with the recipe that reduces the amount of materials used while increasing protection for their product.”
There is a lot more growth developing in the coming year. Millwood is looking to expand its engineered products line, increase channels to market through ecommerce, improve product availability via stocking locations, and launch PalletView, a proprietary asset-tracking system. The company is also developing a new website, in 2016, to maintain and increase its communications with customers and prospects.
Perhaps the most important asset of Millwood is its sales teams and the product managers who support them. The company’s salespeople are now equipped to sell all products rather than specializing within certain product types.
“This required a lot of training for sales, marketing and product managers,” Moore says. “Everyone is an expert on all products, and team members know who to go to if they ever need even more specific information.”
Millwood’s production facilities are also continually being evaluated for efficiency, production and safety improvements. The company has more than two-dozen production facilities across the country with safety and housekeeping as a primary focus. Many of its facilities have gone years without an incident. In addition, Millwood designs and builds its own equipment for its pallet-manufacturing operations. This helps the company improve efficiencies and processes when manufacturing.
Investments in worker health, education and wellness are other priorities for Millwood. Employee development, safety and satisfaction are all factors of ‘Millwood Cares,’ an internal program designed to enhance the lives of team members. Aspects of the Millwood Cares program include mission trips, marriage getaways, language classes, family fun days, financial management, wellness programs, revenue bonus programs and other training and development programs.
“These programs help with everything from financial planning and familiarizing family members with our work to volunteering on building projects to help the communities where our plants are located,” Moore says. “Millwood Cares helps to ensure that we have healthy and happy people in our company.”
The Road Forward
As Millwood considers its future, it is working to stay on top of industry trends and economic challenges. For example, it is a member of MHI, the nation’s largest material handling, logistics and supply chain association. Millwood has been supporting and following the work conducted by the association and other stakeholders regarding the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics.
“This roadmap outlines several key trends and drivers that may shape the industry we serve,” Moore says. “We are developing key strategies to counter any challenges and to take advantage of any opportunities.”
Regarding economic conditions, Millwood feels that it weathered the recession of 2008 and 2009 fairly well. Regardless, the company is doing everything it can to be prepared as the economy marches through future economic cycles.
“The pallet industry continues to experience a period of consolidation, and we’re in good position to grow and assist other pallet manufacturers that we partner with,” Moore says. “We have key supply partners across the country and want that base to be strong and diverse. We have positioned ourselves to understand our services and products while investing in marketing and the hiring of talented sales people product managers.”
Ultimately, Millwood feels that the changes it has made to its sales group and product specialists over the past several years has broadened the ability of its people to sell all the products it offers. The company believes this above all else will present plenty of opportunity in 2016 and beyond.
“We are proud that our team is equipped with knowledge about our wide range of products and can say they are unit load specialists, with product managers there for support,” Moore says. “We are making our plants more efficient and productive as we continue to look for new acquisition and partnership opportunities while investing in aggressive marketing strategies.”