Poppelmann Plastics Pots

March 20, 2003 - 14:14

The ins and outs of how the grower really feels about the product.

Poppelmann Plastics offers a full range of polypropylene
thermoformed and injection-molded pots with printing on the pot surface. The
pots come in a number of sizes and shapes, allowing the customer to choose
which pot will work best in their greenhouse. Poppelmann offers over 50 years
of experience in the manufacturing of plastic pots and has over 1,000 employees
to date. It was founded in Germany in 1949 and opened a U.S. office
approximately 21/2 years ago. Poppelmann also has other divisions that
manufacture 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 with
care instructions, barcodes and plant variety names. This service can be
offered on white thermoformed pots ranging from 3-7 inches in diameter. Jeff
Seymour from Bonnie Plant Farm in Union Springs, Ala., said, "We have a
few pots Poppelmann designs for us. One pot has a drawing of a variety of
vegetables; another is a 4-inch pot with a three-color graphic and text printed
on a white pot, which we use for herbs; we also do a terra cotta pot, which we use
mainly for annuals, that has a drawing of a general assortment of flowers with
the company information and a UPC code." 

According to the manufacturer, the print quality is higher because
the matte surface of the pots enables the print to adhere completely to the
plastic, allowing for less rubbing off of the print. "I would say quality
was one of the main reasons why I chose Poppelmann pots," said Kelly
Cantrel from Van Wingerden International in Fletcher, N.C. "We have a lot
of automation here so things need to be exact and consistent, and Poppelmann
pots do that for us."

Poppelmann has five printing machines in its factory,
allowing large-volume printing, even during the peak seasons. In addition, an
in-house art department provides proofs and graphics designed at no extra no
charge. Printed pots with graphics such as logos or growing symbols are also
available. "Most of the information on the pots is product identification with
care instructions and the UPC code," said Cantrel. "The text on the
pots 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 actual

Customer Service

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

Jack Sheridan sales manager for Poppelmann feels customer
service 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 good
service to back it up. Something we pride ourselves on is that we are not the
type of company that takes the order just to get orders and then hope we can fill
it on time. We follow up, and if we can't get it in the time the customer wants
it, 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 bad
service." Many of Poppelmann's customers agree, and that is why so many
continue to use Poppelmann.

"The main reason I use Poppelmann is because I've been
dealing with Kim Cook [regional sales], and she's a great person for taking
orders and keeping track of everything. If there is a problem, I can just talk
to her. She gives me a quick answer, and that helps me out a lot. Poppelmann
has also been very good about shipping. They always have the orders into us
when they say they will," said Taylor Gedert from Gedert's Greenhouses in
Maumee, Ohio.


In addition to pots, Poppelmann also produces carrying trays
for the popular pot sizes so growers can order pots and trays that fit
together. The trays are made with a low profile in order to showcase the
printing without compromising the strength of the tray. However, some U.S.
growers may have difficulty determining the best tray size since all of the
Poppelmann pots are measured in the metric system. "I guess probably the
hardest thing was getting the different sizes straight because Poppelmann has
them in metric, and early on, we had a few problems getting the right size
ordered. Other than that, we haven't had problems," said Gedert.

Cantrel agrees with the beginning difficulty of the metric
system, but just working with Poppelmann on the size difference did make a
difference. "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 for
us, making it easier in the long run."

Final Words

Recommendations are the best compliments. Gedert made a
recommendation to one of his customers about Poppelmann, and it turned out that
Poppelmann landed a large order. "I have recommended them to
customers," said Gedert. "Actually, one of the customers was putting
together arrangements for the Ohio Bicentennial, and Poppelmann ended up doing
a special pot for the Ohio Bicentennial." Because of that, Poppelmann has
been asked to do many more events across the country, getting its name into
circulation not only in the industry but also in the general public as

About The Author

Catherine Evans is associate editor of GPN

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