Member Spotlight : John Allegretti, President & CEO, Arrows Up, Inc.

What do you use when you need to store and transport 16,000 pounds of wood pellets? Answer: The Jumbo BTS from Arrows Up

John ARPA Editor: Briefly summarize your experience in the reusable market, including your experience and length of time as founder of Arrows Up.

Allegretti: Arrows Up, Inc. (AUI) was started over three years ago out of a customer’s request to create better products to serve the bulk storage and transportation industry. AUI spent about a year and a half doing research and developing the Bulk Transport Systems (BTS) line of containers. The management and operations teams of Arrows Up have over 65 years of combined experience in the packaging and logistics industry.

Our mission is to create innovative, efficient, and safer solutions for the bulk storage and transportation industries. This will be accomplished by research, customer involvement, and continued experimentation with materials, design, and assemble concepts. We pride ourselves on being a customer-centric organization and always welcome input from our customers and vendors. Please feel free to contact us at any time and continue to visit our website for news and new products. http://arrowsupinc.com/

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

Allegretti: The BTS line is best suited for a closed loop system or internal use. Our goal is to solve problems within a company’s logistics operations by creating the correct container for them and not push an off-the-shelf product. Our systems are used in storage of materials in many cases.

RPA Editor: What are the challenges your company faces in your area of the market?

Allegretti: The reusable container market is a very competitive and crowded space. There are many qualified companies vying for market share. AUI is the new player in the space and we have a radically different product and approach to the market. We came out with a metal container system as opposed to plastic, which is the majority of the other containers available today. We have to educate the consumer about our metal containers and prove that they will handle the job. The misconception is that metal won’t last as long as plastic or be very strong. In many cases, our containers are stronger than the competition’s.

RPA Editor: Describe some of your recent successes.

Allegretti: After searching for over a year, an international paper company found us and asked us to build them a bin to transport and store wood fuel pellets. The bin needed to hold up to 16,000 pounds. The customer had looked at many other companies and none of them could build the container. We successfully tested the “Jumbo” BTS, a center flow bin, in Florida at their seaport in October of 2012, and it has the potential to change the shipping industry. We can handle more material than most bins, and our bins are stackable. This customer is going to use the Jumbo to load pellets at their mill in Georgia, then truck the bins to Florida. They will then be stacked 3 high in the warehouse until the ship comes to port.  The bins will then be emptied into the hold of the ship. Our Jumbo saves time, space, and is 50% faster than other ship loading systems, like conveyors.

The Jumbo design is versatile.  We can make the bin any size that a customer needs and it can hold many different flowable commodities.

Another recent success is our company was listed in W.W. Grainger this month.

RPA Editor: What is the value proposition/point of difference for Arrows Up products?

Allegretti: AUI’s BTS systems offer more storage in the same footprint as our competitors’; usually about 25% more capacity. Additionally, due to our patent-pending design, we can make containers suited to an operation faster and with less start-up costs than our competitors. We can build a container specific to a customer’s needs without the tooling costs. This makes us competitive against plastic containers that need significant tooling changes to modify them. All of our parts and containers are made in the US, which makes it easy and fast to obtain parts.

RPA Editor: What are the key changes you see happening in your area of the market in the near future?

Allegretti: In the space that we are working, the two major changes are adaptability to the customers’ needs and bigger containers. We often hear “move more material faster” and “we like the container, but”.  These are two obstacles we are working to address with new products and services, but without becoming a custom container manufacturer. We consider the BTS line to be modular. They can be constructed to fit many different customer requirements.

RPA Editor: What benefits have you gained by being a part of the RPA?

Allegretti: The RPA helps give AUI exposure. Because we are a member, we were able to exhibit in the Reusable Packaging Pavilion at PACK EXPO in 2012, and that gave us a lot of good exposure.

RPA Editor: Is there something in particular- e.g. an industry challenge to address, different services – that you would like the RPA to provide?

Allegretti: One of the things we struggle with is the perception of packaging. Most of the time, packaging is disposable and viewed as an annoyance and cost. In our cases, our packaging is an asset to the business or user. This misconception could use some attention.  We sell our systems as assets and as an integral part of a business’s operation, not actually packaging. The RPA could help educate the market on this point.

RPA Editor: Is there anything else you would like to share with the RPA membership?

Allegretti: Arrows Up is interested in meeting other members to discuss the industry, possible collaborations, and developing new solutions. I think that collaboration is important and friendly competition is healthy.

You can reach John Allegretti at 847-305-2550 x104 or cja@arrowsupinc.com