“What goes on at your facility?” Ask Gregg Weber, president of RRD’s Retail Solutions – Milwaukee, a loaded question like that and his answer might seem a bit starry-eyed at first. Then you quickly realize, he has plenty to back it up.
“We take a client’s idea and bring it to life.”
At Retail Solutions – Milwaukee, concept to distribution happens all under one roof. Simply put, this facility provides end-to-end services for in-store marketing campaigns. And it’s driven by a team with decades of experience.
To expand upon its full-service capabilities, Gregg recently shared some highlights and unique features of Retail Solutions – Milwaukee that better illustrate what exactly makes this facility stand out in the industry.
What about this facility makes it unique in the current marketplace?
Gregg Weber (GW): It’s our unique combination of capabilities all under one roof. We remove the need for our clients to use different vendors for creative, production and distribution. Calling it a "one-stop shop" might sound cliche, but it’s an accurate description of what our team does here every single day.
We take our clients’ ideas and nurture them from the initial concept all the way to manufacturing and shipping — spanning the entire life cycle of any given element.
We’ve invested in a full 3D structural design center right here on-site. This allows us to collaborate with clients on projects for virtually every conceivable in-store temporary display.
As part of the conceptual process, we develop specialized 3D renderings that include animation, a capability unique to our facility. The renderings take a client’s idea one step closer to creating real-world physical designs. From there, we have equipment dedicated to quick turn prototypes so we can build that 3D display (see example on right) for client review in a very short period of time.
If you had to narrow it down to one, what do you consider Milwaukee’s forte?
GW: Again, it’s our turnaround for 3D displays, from prototype to full production. We have the ability to deliver creative solutions and get them to market quickly. This facility’s assets and support team are capable of shortened development, production and then to in-store display per our clients’ needs.
There’s just so much we can do right here, right now, in this building with all of our specialized equipment and talent. We offer a full array of materials and substrates. And we can take a rendering to prototype in a matter of days — or sometimes less — all within their given budget.
This past year, we’ve ramped up COVID displays with some unbelievable turnarounds. As the pandemic unfolded, clients were forced to do more with less, and their demand for faster time-to-market increased.
Our facility has helped them stretch their spend by repurposing their existing materials into programs (e.g., magnetic receptive displays and reusable frames). We’ve also produced fabric walls to separate store areas for social distancing and line formation, which retailers can use over again.
Can you share a recent success story that showcases this capability?
GW: We serve both large and small clients, from massive national home improvement retailers who require thousands of units to smaller clients who need a single display. We move at whatever speed suits them, for whatever volume they need.
Recently, one of our larger clients was visiting us for a business review when the leader received a phone call about a competitive release. We immediately pivoted into creative mode, retreated to the design center, and created a 3D solution. We assured them the concept was manufacturable, tested it in the field, and then shipped it to 2,000 locations within a two-week window. It was a whirlwind, but measured and successful.
As business evolves, what role do you see RRD Retail Solutions – Milwaukee playing in that evolution?
GW: Tightly integrated with the entire RRD Retail Solutions platform, which leverages the firepower of individual facilities to meet the broader needs of our customers, our facility is helping our clients manage increasingly volatile markets.
Importing products from China, for example, can be very unpredictable from a pricing standpoint these days. If a client places an order for signage they’ll need eight weeks from now, there’s a good chance prices will fluctuate and affect the pricing artwork on their signage.
This has driven the need for flexibility and an ability to pivot and adjust artwork with short notice. We’ve made some significant strides to be more nimble in both development and production. It’s enabled us to condense traditional time frames (sometimes in half) for kit production without sacrificing quality or accuracy — no matter the complexity of a kit or size of the store’s footprint.
This facility went through a recent expansion project, which allowed us to start with a clean slate and lay out a workflow that reduced material movement between functional departments. This generated material handling efficiencies that cut our lead times considerably and also translated to cost savings for our clients.
We also made a significant investment in an automated collator. We did this to not only reduce our reliance on manual labor — in some cases by as much as 80% — but also increase kitting flexibility. This flexibility includes selective sequencing, variable collating, and inclusion to a wider range of formats (from 5x7 inches to 46x30). This is allowing us to meet our clients’ signage needs faster with a higher degree of accuracy and store-specific customization.
For more information about this facility, visit our RS Milwaukee location page.