Don Law founded Magline Inc. (Magline) in 1947 as an alloys company in central Michigan. The business has grown from its roots to become a major manufacturer for the materials handling industry, utilizing magnesium and aluminum materials to construct lightweight and durable products.
“We are still privately held,” says Greg Ecker, president of Magline. “We are now in our third generation of family ownership. We have branched out into several different markets with different types of product for respective applications.”
Ecker is proud of how far the company has come. “In war times, we did a lot of government contract business,” he continues. “About 15 years or so ago we got back to our core roots in material handling. We currently produce a variety of products geared for commercial material handling applications. We are global; you can find our products on most continents and we have dealers across the globe. We have a significant market presence in the United Kingdom, but you’ll find our products in Latin America, Mexico and Australia, among other places.”
Building a Brand Identity
“We like to think of ourselves as a brand in the way people consider Coke as soda, Kleenex as tissue, Magline as hand truck,” explains Ecker. “We believe in providing a premium product for commercial applications. Our products offer value. It’s like getting a Lexus for a Toyota price. We make ramps, platform trucks and other products for materials movement. Our customers include FedEx, UPS, Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola and Sysco Foods. We sell our products through independent dealers across the country, through catalog companies, such as Granger and Uline, as well as provide a shopping cart on our website.”
One of the largest selling points for Magline products is custom application design. Magline works frequently with clients and end-users to provide unique solutions to individual application challenges.
“We work on one particular material handling problem and develop a product specific for our client,” Ecker says. “Often we find there is a broader market for this product and we are able to make it commercially available to a broader market. One example is a product we designed for a national linen company; we listened to their business issues, conducted on-site process observational work and interviewed their delivery drivers, developed multiple concepts with the client and worked through a variety of prototypes that were tested by their drivers. With their input, we refined the product and we are now in production mode.”
The company’s latest supply chain system, marketed on a large scale, is the CooLift Delivery System, which offers major benefits to material handling businesses. The elongated lifting cart with a hydraulic lifting deck allows delivery drivers to haul twice the product than on a standard hand cart.
“The CooLift Delivery System is geared at trying to help delivery personnel move more products through the front door more efficiently, with more productivity and fewer work-related incidents,” Ecker elaborates. “If you see a Coca Cola driver pull in front of Rite Aid or Walgreens, he or she will take a hand truck back and forth 10 times. The CooLift can cut that time in half, with less bending and twisting. We can reduce incidents and worker lost time and save companies time and money. This product also positively affects driver retention, as they are able to extend their careers, which results in lowered recruiting and hiring costs. There are a lot of human benefits to improving the way drivers do their jobs.”
Magline’s continued expansion proved that the company survived the worst of the economic downturn due to the team’s continued dedication to offering customers better solutions. “Our goal is to consistently make our customers aware that we can improve their bottom line by improving material handling challenges,” Ecker explains. “And we try to do that with solutions that are economically viable to them. Our goal is to create a compelling value proposition in our products and services for our customers. Whether it is an expense item or a capital investment, all of our products and services have to stand on their own merit; that’s how we have been able to build our brand over time. People know the Magline name and customers trust our products for durability, reliability and quality they can count on.”
With sales representatives across the country and around the globe, Magline continues to extend its reach to new industries and customers. “Our strategy is customer intimacy,” Ecker says. “We develop our products as solutions to our clients’ problems. We remain cautiously optimistic about the economy, and we recognize that most companies need good justification to spend money on new products and services.” Magline Inc. continues to provide compelling business cases that create value for each client.
For more information about Magline Inc., please visit: www.magliner.com.