Changes in companies

Just received new about two major changes in the marketplace.

Acco brands, maker of Wilson Jones binders, Swingline staplers and a host of other business products, announced the purchase of MeadWestvaco, the producer of Mead products including 5 Star notebooks, binders and the Cambridge brand of products.

No big changes are expected at this time.

Also 3M purchased Avery Dennison, known for their binders and Marks-A-Lot markers. It looks like the binder wars might just be getting started.

Our goal when we first started School-Pak was to provide high quality, name brand products for our pre-packaged kits. School coordinators felt that price was the most important part of the kits so we began using economy binders. What a mistake that was. They don't hold up in the hands of a 5th grade student. So we returned to just heavy duty binders. We still have issues with them since manufacturers don't get it.

I think the prevailing thought in these companies is that they aim their product at office use, where the binder might be touched only a few times a week and sit on a shelf. They really haven't addressed the "student" market that well. The binders the students use are possibly carried around all day and frequently opened. They really need to be stronger.

Hopefully Acco and 3M understand this and realize what a huge market school kids are and upgrade their products without upgrading their prices by a lot.

It will be interesting to see what these two companies do with familiar brands like 5 Star. A number of years ago the Newell company purchased Sanford (maker of Sharpie and Expo products) and the Berol company that made Spacemaker pencil boxes. Although Spacemaker was the brand everyone was familiar with, Newell stopped using the name. We still have teachers asking for them.

They then purchased Rubbermaid and changed their name to Newell Rubbermaid. However they don’t make everything available to us. Some things are only available through retail outlets.

The same thing happened with Duo-Tang folders. They were the hallmark of folders with fasteners for years and the most familiar brand to consumers. Esselte purchased Oxford and stopped using the Duo-Tang name but still have a line of Oxford products.

One last thing. Crayola, in a movement to being “green”, introduced a change to black barrels for their markers line in late 2010. I’m guessing the feeling was that they could produce them at a lower cost than the white barrels they had used in the past. Although the caps were in different colors, once they were removed it was difficult to find the correct marker. The barrels did have the color name on them but it made it hard for the kids to match the caps with the right color.

They learned very quickly. They have returned to the traditional white barrels. Makes you remember the “New Coke”.

No comments:

Post a Comment