CHICAGO— As the company celebrates its 100th anniversary, United Solutions is entering a new chapter, with expanded ownership, a new approach to the storage category, additional staffing to execute its strategy and initiatives to build core product designations including the Rubbermaid totes business, which it acquired in 2017.
Patrick Murray, a member of the new leadership and investment group behind United Solutions, one that is working with the proprietors from the founding family in operating the company, said a combination of existing experience and new expertise is enhancing the company’s management capabilities and has positioned United for growth.
The company has long experience and a reputation for integrity, Murray said, and now, with new input, has augmented technical and personnel capabilities to deal with the latest manufacturing, process, finance and logistical challenges, building on a best practices orientation to come through for customers. United wants to become a thought partner with its customers, listening to what they need in their specific business and applying consumer analytics to deliver on it. United is proactive in its initiatives, Murray said, and emphasizes building strong, thorough business relationships.
“As we celebrate our 100th anniversary as a proud, U.S.-based company this year, we find ourselves excited about marrying a century of experience and know-how with technology-enabled strategies, capabilities and capital investments to better serve our customers in fast-moving and competitive markets,” Murray said. “We’re trying to be the total solution partner our customers need to win.”
As it has moved to enhance operational effectiveness, United has refined its product line to focus on core categories, especially storage and trash cans. The company also manufactures paint pails and, as ancillary business based on customer needs, refrigerator bottles and some laundry items.
Frederick Beauregard, United vp/sales and marketing, noted, “Through an extensive product rationalization, we have focused our organization around key categories such as storage/organization and outdoor trash cans and other select categories that best fit the company’s capabilities and customer requirements and opportunities.”
Rubbermaid totes are an area of focus. At this year’s International Home + Housewares Show, United emphasized Rubbermaid’s ActionPacker, Roughneck and Cleverstore products. ActionPacker and Roughneck has application in rugged-use outdoor and even professional applications on the job site. Cleverstore provides load visibility that many consumers want in storage products as they tuck more things away to cope with small spaces, clutter, or seasonal decoration requirements.
The Rubbermaid brand continues to have cachet for consumers, Murray noted, and United intends to build on and reiterate its brand promise. Rubbermaid product lines address use considerations in their construction and positioning, something that United Solutions wants to highlight going forward, Murray said. As it advances the business, United will add additional products to address consumer needs where the company believes it can provide distinctive items.
“Rubbermaid is a great brand that has been around for generations,” Murray said. “Consumers associate Rubbermaid with quality, which has been synonymous with United Solutions since its inception. Our goal with this piece of the business is to further leverage our capabilities to unlock the potential of these Rubbermaid products just like we do every day with our United Solutions products.”
United continues to develop its namesake products as well, having launched, in one example, a wheeled trash can. Murray said the same commitment to quality and brand support that goes into the company’s work with Rubbermaid products goes into everything with the United name as well.
The company is, however, conscious of balancing features and prices so that consumers see its products as effective choices for the purchase.
“Value,” he said, is what United wants to project, “but not bargain basement prices.”
United is looking to work closely with retailers as it promotes Rubbermaid and its own brand. Beauregard noted that, for instance, United wants to help retailers as they address market trends in garage storage. With its various product lines, United can help retailers offer garage storage solutions that suit large and small garage spaces as they exist today in various home, condo and apartment settings.
United intends to keep on developing its capabilities, including at its Massachusetts and Mississippi manufacturing facilities, to build on its 100 years of experience and the strength of its brands to satisfy customer and consumer needs, Murray said.