The key to Wildeck’s aggressive plan is simple; give the customers what they want.
The first step of this was launched back in April at the MODEX show in Atlanta. There, the company introduced a new, complete line of guard rails based on its industry-leading Wilgard system.
The line, which now includes XT (Xtra-tough), MT (Medium Toughness, and LT (Lighter Toughness) options, scales the company’s trademark guard rail brand to suit the applications and needs of its entire customer base.
To help understand this new line and how it fits with the company’s growth strategy, we talked with Hue Schlegal, Director of Marketing, at Wildeck Inc.
NED: What’s the story here?
SCHLEGAL: Wildeck, for the longest time, only manufactured a really heavy duty guard rail product, which we had trademark called Wilgard.
That product was pretty well known throughout the industry and was sold through our material handling dealers. But we were losing sales because customers thought maybe they didn’t need that heavy duty of a product. They were looking for something that was close as far as impact protection, but maybe they could save a little of their budget by going down on the impact protection a bit.
We didn’t have a product in the middle, so we said, “Well, why don’t we just offer whatever the customer wants?”
So we came up with this gold, silver, and bronze kind of group of protective guard rail that we call the three levels of protection.
The XT is the extra tough, which is basically the guardrail that we had just been manufacturing before calling it Wilgard. But we rebranded it and repositioned it as the XT, the “Xtra Tough” one. MT, the medium toughness is the one that we didn’t have. And the LT is also a new design, but we had a product called Value Rail that was sold separate from our dealers.
NED: Let’s go into a little more detail on these. Tell me about the XT.
SCHLEGEL: Well, The XT is for the highest impact resistant. It withstands impact from a fork truck with a 13,000 lb load traveling at 4 mph. And we guarantee 10 inch safe zone after impact.
So if a fork truck that size hits that guardrail at 4 mph, which is a typical speed when they are moving along in a factory or in a warehouse, it would only deflect about 10 inches. In fact, when we tested it, it actually deflected less, but we decided to make it 10 just to be safe.
No other competitor that I know of gives that kind of narrow safe zone.
That’s pretty doggone good.
NED: How about the MT and the LT?
SCHLEGEL: Wilgard MT, the newer one that we came out with, is second only to the XT in the fact that it withstands a 10,000 lb load, which is kind of considered the industry standard. We gave it a rating of 11-in. safe zone.
The LT is the lighter weight, lighter duty rail. It is only intended for protecting walkways or some areas that maybe aren’t as sensitive. It certainly doesn’t have the impact rating of the MT or the XT. It’s a lighter gauge rail, the posts are smaller and the anchors are a little bit less.
NED: How is the market responding to this line so far?
SCHLEGEL: We’ve only had it on the market since the MODEX show. It’s really just a lesson in listening to the customer, offering the customer the choice instead of us telling him, “This is what we have, this is what you should use,” and trying to sell them on that.
That’s the whole idea behind it. We let the customer make the decision of what they need.
So far, it seems to be a big hit. And we think it’s going to continue to be a hit.
We told all of our material handling dealers, there is no reason you should lose any sale for guardrail. Any application for production facilities, they should be able to win that order for us.
We have all the bases covered. That’s our story and I’m sticking to it.