This month, Best Practices takes you into the Men's Room … and the Ladies' Room.
The story begins in Green Bay, Wis., where Wisconsin Plastics Inc. leaders say they have made a better hand towel dispenser, marking WPI's first proprietary product. Designers at the injection molder focused on washroom attendants — whose job it is to refill them — and on customers who want a customized logo.
WPI was already doing contract manufacturing for the bathroom dispenser market, said Mike Kilgore, vice president of marketing and sales. He said WPI still does that.
"We can make the products and ship to our customers' customers," he said.
Kilgore said the company's location is a big part of the connection to the hand towel dispenser market.
"We have most of the major paper manufacturers within an hour of Green Bay," he said. That gives the molder a natural connection to the industry, and supplies a good talent pool of people with product design knowledge, he said. WPI's team of designers has a long history of manufacturing the dispensers for others.
"Wisconsin Plastics has a significant product design department in house where we can help customers if they have a napkin sketch, all the way through design and production," said Kilgore, a 17-year WPI veteran who himself worked in product design and development before taking the sales and marketing post.
WPI began developing the PROvider in 2015, and launched the product last October. The line includes mechanical "hands-free" hand towel dispensers, center-pull dispensers and multi-fold dispensers, as well as toilet paper dispensers, known as "bath tissues" in the trade.
"What we've done for the research is to secure dispensing systems from some of the major companies in this market," Kilgore said. The WPI team studied them.