Company Reports - Anchor Hocking
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Anchor Hocking Company Molds How America Uses Glassware
Written by John T. Connelly & Produced by Jordan Fowler
The second largest supplier of glassware in the United States, Anchor Hocking products can be found across the country, from Cheesecake Factory restaurants to Walmarts nationwide.
The Company was founded in 1905 and manufactures a wide range of products—beverageware, candle containers, servingware, glass bakeware, storageware, premium spirits bottles—in its Lancaster, Ohio and Monaca, Penn. plants.
The products are shipped nationally and internationally to retailers, commercial foodservice dealers and OEM customers. Anchor Hocking glassware can be found at Wasserstrom, Olive Garden and Target stores to name a few partnerships.
Anchor Hocking operates four furnaces with a melting capacity of more than 800 tons per day. The Company utilizes around-the-clock, continuous manufacturing schedule to produce 1.2 to 1.5 million glass pieces daily.
Anchor Hocking employs approximately 1,600 associates and generates $300+ million in annual revenue. Through continuous operating improvements, a strong labour force and a diversified sales and marketing approach, Anchor Hocking has weathered the economic storm better than its competitors.
As such, Anchor Hocking will launch several exciting new product lines at the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) trade show in Orlando, Fla. on February 10, 2011, demonstrating the Company’s positive outlook.
Anchor Hocking’s operations require greater capital investment and equipment maintenance than traditional manufacturing plants, both because of its high-speed production cycle and the rigors of glass production in general. Capital deployed is a basic requirement to stay in business.
“The industry itself requires a significant amount of invested capital annually,” says President and CEO Mark Eichhorn.
“Furnaces are typically replaced every seven to nine years at a cost between six and nine million dollars. The production machines are rebuilt from the ground up every five years costing upwards of one million dollars and replacement and/or new molds are a multimillion dollar annual expense.”
Over the last three years, Anchor Hocking has embarked upon a concentrated effort to improve productivity on both the manufacturing and distribution sides of the business. The goal has been to improve plant yield performance, optimize labor utilization and lower costs.
“We acquired a competitor’s manufacturing operation in 2007 and closed their plant in 2008,” says Eichhorn.
“We relocated their equipment into our two existing plants. Today, we operate our plants with virtually the same headcount as we had prior to the acquisition. In effect, we absorbed an additional $30 million of production with no increase in headcount. Our efforts to improve productivity and become leaner have been successful. As a result we remain the low-cost producer in the U.S. and we’ve been able to grow sales despite a recession which has severely affected our competitors.”
People and Safety
To continually develop the skill sets needed to produce machine-made glassware, Anchor Hocking offers a four-year apprenticeship program. The objective is to have a constant pool of talented and experienced machine operators and skilled technicians.
“These are voluntary programs to allow associates to move from unskilled positions within the manufacturing operation into skilled positions—forming equipment operators, maintenance, machine repair and mold makers,” says Eichhorn.
Protection and concern for the employees’ well-being are crucial, more so than most traditional manufacturing plants because of the nature of glass production. The furnaces operate at 2,800 degree Fahrenheit, posing additional risks on top of the omnipresent dangers of around-the-clock industrial production.
“Ambient air temperatures can easily reach 115 degrees and can approach 130 degrees around the forming machines, especially during summers like the one we have had this year. We have nonstop training going on to continue the emphasis on safety. Our plant incident rates are below industry averages, which is one tool to retain employees.”
Sales and Marketing
Once the glassware has been manufactured and readied for distribution using packaging from partners Pratt Industries and US Corrugated, Anchor Hocking, like any business, must have customers willing to purchase its products.
Over its 105 years, the Company has earned the reputation of consistently delivering quality, durable glassware to its clients. Anchor Hocking sells a diverse product line to a vast customer base.
“We have enhanced our product offering significantly over the last four to five years,” says Bert Filice, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Today we can service the glassware needs from a small diner all the way up to a five-star restaurant.”
Anchor Hocking enhances its product offerings through innovation, acquisitions and strategic partnerships.
“Today we also market crystalline stemware produced in Germany by Stölzle. They produce the finest crystal stemware in the world. We distribute their products across the US to our major partners, which has helped us increase sales to white table cloth restaurants,” says Filice.
“We have also expanded our product offerings with new drinkware lines and serveware assortments over the past two years. We are trying to service the entire glassware needs of a restaurant or hotel. We are focused on the end-user. What are their needs? How can we better service their needs? And then we find the distribution partner to get the product to them. In the food service industry, we remain committed to a two-step distribution process. We are 100% committed to serving our dealer network.”
While Anchor Hocking’s competitors such as publicly traded Libbey Glassware have proven fragile to the economic climate, Anchor Hocking has withstood the financial heat and can be found in a kitchen—or a store, or a restaurant—near you.