Tim Guenther believes that a company’s strategy and its culture should go hand in hand.
That was the big driver behind the decision for his company, Clickstop Inc., a multi-brand Internet retailer, to add a sewing and assembly operation at its Urbana headquarters earlier this year.
The new department makes tie-down straps for the company’s US Cargo Control brand of cargo transport products, the brand on which Guenther founded Clickstop in 2005. That category represents a large piece of its business.
Before the expansion, Clickstop had imported all such straps from China.
“Importing from China had a lot of downside,” Guenther said. “First, obviously, those jobs weren’t here.”
The new sewing and assembly operation already has added seven jobs, with eight more part-time positions to be filled.
By building tie-down assemblies on site, Clickstop will be able to offer a wider range of products, including capabilities that customers want but the company has been unable to source from overseas, Guenther said.
On-site assembly also allows a higher level of quality control.
“By taking on this challenge we … are investing in our brand, not just shipping containers of brown boxes from China,” he explained.
Guenther said his team took a methodical approach to the expansion, spending a lot of time researching the industry before deciding to move forward. One challenge was a lack of ASTM standards, to test materials and products, requiring the company to do its own due diligence and testing.
“Anyone can import a product from China and put a tag on it,” he said. “We have responsibility for putting a good product out there.”
The company completed a warehouse addition in late 2012 and invested in a large amount of equipment and technology. The new department began operating in February and is on track to produce 100 percent of the tie-down strap line by the end of June.
“We’ve taken the time to do it right and now we are in a position to do it well,” Guenther said.
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