Member Spotlight: D. Fraser League, President, Quick-Crate®

FrazerRPA member Quick-Crate is built on four generations of practical machining experience. It was the first manufacturer of clip-style crates in the United States, and has been building traditional shipping crates since 1917. Its success over the last 95 years is the result of superior customer service, competitive pricing, exceptional machining quality, and very short lead times.

RPA Editor: Describe the area of the supply chain where your products play a role.

League: Quick-Crate North America provides collapsible, reusable shipping crates to a variety of industries including automotive, defense, power generation, aerospace, and exports. Our crates are custom built to user-specified dimensions and typically include features such as support dunnage, cradles, dividers, casters, ramps, stencils, and paint. In addition to our custom crate offering, we provide stock crates that can be purchased online through our website or through Uline’s website for next day delivery. We believe that Quick-Crate is one of the “greenest” members of the RPA family as our materials are made entirely from managed forests.

Our crates were originally designed as heavy-duty, reusable crates. While a number of our customers have reported 50+ shipping cycles, many other customers are using our crates for the sole purpose of product protection. Their product value in a single crate may exceed $300,000 so the most important thing to them is that their products arrive undamaged following the one-way trip.

RPA Editor: Describe some of the challenges that impede companies from implementing reusable packaging.

League: The biggest obstacle that we encounter when approaching potential customers is introducing the concept of reusables. Most purchasing agents still think only about the short-term cost of the initial purchase. Helping companies understand and embrace the concept of the “cost per use” approach can be difficult. We have developed a few financial models to help demonstrate this concept to customers (including one on our website) but “it’s tough to teach old dogs new tricks”. Addressing this challenge is why we support the RPA.

You are a regular exhibitor at the Reusable Packaging Pavilion. What value do you gain by exhibiting in it?

League: The RPA has a much louder voice than we do. It is paramount to our success for companies to understand the many benefits of reusables, and we are simply not capable of providing that information to the masses. The RPA Pavilion is the first organized effort that many engineers and purchasing agents encounter where they can gain a better understanding about the long term benefits of reusables. Exhibiting in the RPA Pavilion tells customers that there’s something different about our crates which leads them to start asking the right questions. Each year we secure a larger number of customers from the PACK EXPO show than we did the year before.

RPA Editor: You recently moved into a new facility. Tell us about it.

League: We are proud to announce that we have moved into our new 130,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Greenville, SC. In addition to extra warehouse and manufacturing space, we have added CNC panel processing machinery, upgraded our design software, and added two additional staff members. We are better prepared than ever to design and build crating solutions to meet specific needs. 2013 marks our 96th year in business and the Quick-Crate division is paving the road to our future.

You can reach Fraser at: fraser@leaguemfg.com