Veteran-owned container research corporation engineers and builds specialized aluminum and steel containers used for the shipment and long term storage of military and commercial parts, primarily for use in aerospace applications. David Soyka gets inside this certified small business with over 50 years of design, protoryping, testing and manufacturing experience for customized containers and related enclosures, scaffolding platforms and maintenance stands.
hile some companies like to say they think outside of the box, Container Research Corporation (CRC) invests considerable effort in thinking – and making – the box itself. As its name implies, this small-business certified, veteran owned company based in Glen Riddle, Pa. designs and fabricates shipping and storage containers custom-made for specific applications, predominantly in the aerospace industry.
According to Les Berry, marketing manager, the core business remains in aerospace, but other markets include ordnance and utilities as well as general industry. “We’ve got a pretty healthy mix of both military and commercial businesses.” Major customers include Bell Helicopter, Boeing Helicopter, B&W Nuclear Fuel, GE Aircraft Engine, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon, Rolls Royce -Allison, Sikorsky Aircraft and Westinghouse Nuclear,as well as all the branches of the U.S. military and various
Berry notes that marketing is also a mix of responding to request for proposals (RFPs) and direct sales efforts. In dealing with government contracts, it’s sometimes the case where CRC designs the container, but doesn’t manufacture it. “There are quirks in the federal bidding process,” explains Bruce Grassano, business development manager. “Sometimes our design gets accepted, but then gets sent out to bid and someone else may get the contract to manufacture what we engineered. The Navy is starting a reverse auction system – in essence it’s taking the initial bids and putting them out there are saying, ok, who wants to do this for the least profit?”
He adds, however, that “while contract awards historically have been based strictly on the lowest price bidder, that’s changing in some cases where the government is looking more towards the overall value proposition in terms of product quality, ability to deliver on-time and overall vendor reliability, as well as best price. Given that CRC pioneered metal containers has a longstanding track record of technical innovation, particularly in military aerospace, we maintain a competitive edge in offering customers superior value.”
Expanding the Box
CRC plans to expand business beyond the box, as well as industry segments and the continent. Fairly recently, in 2000, CRC introduced AeroDek®, a lightweight, ergonomically efficient, OSHA-compliant, mobile and modular platform system used in aircraft maintenance. “We’ve had great success in the military,” Grassano says. “The general feedback we’ve received is that AeroDek platforms improve operating efficiency of maintenance crews and significantly reduce inspection times. The distinctive design allows adaptable stands to be separated into smaller sections for easier storage, easing workload and maximizing hangar space. All stands are custom designed to specific requirements. A complete system usually comprises five platforms, each dedicated to the nose, right wing, left wing, dry bay (which permits access to compartments between the engines) and tail of the aircraft. Each component can be purchased separately or as a complete system.”
To get the word out, CRC attends a number of trade shows, but is also currently working on revamping its Web site. “We’re going to put a lot more information up on the site so potential customers can more easily communicate their needs to us, and to get specifics on product capabilities,” Berry says. “The easier we can make it for customers to work with us, the better we can satisfy their needs.”
Past success is also expected to drive future success.“We have four to six major competitors, as well as some small companies in certain niches, but we’ve got the track record of success in providing top value,” Berry notes. “We have the proven engineering and manufacturing expertise our customers need.”
CRC may be in the containing business, but its reputation for value and innovation is uncontained.