Poppelmann Plastics Pots By Catherine Evans

Poppelmann Plastics offers a full range of polypropylenethermoformed and injection-molded pots with printing on the pot surface. Thepots come in a number of sizes and shapes, allowing the customer to choosewhich pot will work best in their greenhouse. Poppelmann offers over 50 yearsof experience in the manufacturing of plastic pots and has over 1,000 employeesto date. It was founded in Germany in 1949 and opened a U.S. officeapproximately 21/2 years ago. Poppelmann also has other divisions thatmanufacture auto parts, food containers, plastic caps and more.

Picture Perfect

Poppelmann offers picture-perfect, photoquality printing,allowing the customer to have a digital image printed on the pot along withcare instructions, barcodes and plant variety names. This service can beoffered on white thermoformed pots ranging from 3-7 inches in diameter. JeffSeymour from Bonnie Plant Farm in Union Springs, Ala., said, “We have afew pots Poppelmann designs for us. One pot has a drawing of a variety ofvegetables; another is a 4-inch pot with a three-color graphic and text printedon a white pot, which we use for herbs; we also do a terra cotta pot, which we usemainly for annuals, that has a drawing of a general assortment of flowers withthe company information and a UPC code.”

According to the manufacturer, the print quality is higher becausethe matte surface of the pots enables the print to adhere completely to theplastic, allowing for less rubbing off of the print. “I would say qualitywas one of the main reasons why I chose Poppelmann pots,” said KellyCantrel from Van Wingerden International in Fletcher, N.C. “We have a lotof automation here so things need to be exact and consistent, and Poppelmannpots do that for us.”

Poppelmann has five printing machines in its factory,allowing large-volume printing, even during the peak seasons. In addition, anin-house art department provides proofs and graphics designed at no extra nocharge. Printed pots with graphics such as logos or growing symbols are alsoavailable. “Most of the information on the pots is product identification withcare instructions and the UPC code,” said Cantrel. “The text on thepots is permanent, a lot of the demand is to have permanent information,especially on the bar code because tags get lost or taken out of the actualproduct.”

Customer Service

Customer service is a big part of how Poppelmann operates,using its motto “Simply the Best” to prove to the customer howimportant they are to the company.

Jack Sheridan sales manager for Poppelmann feels customerservice is very important to the company, “Anybody can make a plastic pot,so that’s why we feel like we have to provide a quality product and a goodservice to back it up. Something we pride ourselves on is that we are not thetype of company that takes the order just to get orders and then hope we can fillit on time. We follow up, and if we can’t get it in the time the customer wantsit, we tell them that up front and give them the choice to go somewhere else.Our service is good because we don’t put ourselves in the position to have badservice.” Many of Poppelmann’s customers agree, and that is why so manycontinue to use Poppelmann.

“The main reason I use Poppelmann is because I’ve beendealing with Kim Cook [regional sales], and she’s a great person for takingorders and keeping track of everything. If there is a problem, I can just talkto her. She gives me a quick answer, and that helps me out a lot. Poppelmannhas also been very good about shipping. They always have the orders into uswhen they say they will,” said Taylor Gedert from Gedert’s Greenhouses inMaumee, Ohio.

Sizing

In addition to pots, Poppelmann also produces carrying traysfor the popular pot sizes so growers can order pots and trays that fittogether. The trays are made with a low profile in order to showcase theprinting without compromising the strength of the tray. However, some U.S.growers may have difficulty determining the best tray size since all of thePoppelmann pots are measured in the metric system. “I guess probably thehardest thing was getting the different sizes straight because Poppelmann hasthem in metric, and early on, we had a few problems getting the right sizeordered. Other than that, we haven’t had problems,” said Gedert.

Cantrel agrees with the beginning difficulty of the metricsystem, but just working with Poppelmann on the size difference did make adifference. “The one con of the product is the metric system —converting the standard sizes into the metric size is sometimes challenging.However, Poppelmann has done a very good job at converting the measurements forus, making it easier in the long run.”

Final Words

Recommendations are the best compliments. Gedert made arecommendation to one of his customers about Poppelmann, and it turned out thatPoppelmann landed a large order. “I have recommended them tocustomers,” said Gedert. “Actually, one of the customers was puttingtogether arrangements for the Ohio Bicentennial, and Poppelmann ended up doinga special pot for the Ohio Bicentennial.” Because of that, Poppelmann hasbeen asked to do many more events across the country, getting its name intocirculation not only in the industry but also in the general public aswell.

Catherine Evans

Catherine Evans is associate editor of GPN



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