Interview with the founder of SpeedCell Storage Solutions
The founder and creator of SpeedCell® Storage Solutions, Ron Kropveld, took the time to answer a few questions on the founding of his company.
How did you get started with SpeedCell?
“This idea started from the multiple-cell bags used by Integrated Fabric Resources in the returnable packaging industry.
My first columns had different brackets, more complicated – not user friendly, and we used more expensive garage door tracks. Totally different.
It was a prototype, I just showed IFR the idea and the concept of a product that could be. It was very raw – just an idea. IFR had to think about the possibilities of carrying the product, so after this meeting in June I went back to Europe. They called me back after a couple of weeks, I came back in August since IFR thought it might be a good idea and they wanted to have more feedback from the market.
So I came back here for 6 weeks talking with all kinds of material handling experts, users and dealers etc. The indications we got was yes, if we could further develop the product there might be a future for SpeedCell. I moved here in November 2010 and we started further developing columns and steel parts. Then we applied for a patent, and we got the patent award in 2012. We didn’t sell anything in 2011 because we were just making it the right product, inexpensive to manufacture and safe to use. We didn’t want to release it until we were sure it was a safe product.
In 2012 I started with Doug Buma, President of IFR, going to dealers to try to pitch SpeedCell. It wasn’t easy because people were laughing, ‘How can you store in textile?’. They had only ever used steel and racks. The materials we were using were proven in the returnable packaging industry, we knew the product could handle the problem.
Then we manufactured some test bays for some prospects. Those few got very enthusiastic, they are still using those early versions today and have since ordered multiple times.
We really started to be successful after PROMAT 2013. We were something new on the market that no one had seen before and we took off. It’s an evolution, we are continuously making changes and improving the product. Now today, SpeedCell is well accepted in the industry and is an often-used solution for picking, pulling, returns, and e-commerce.”
When did you start developing SpeedCartt™?
“SpeedCartt came along the way, 2015. Which is a great success at the moment.”
What did you do prior to inventing SpeedCell?
“Before SpeedCell I was the president of a different returnable packaging company of their north American branch for 7 years. Before that I worked in the down feather industry, made duvets, quilts etc. for 8 years, and before that I was in the apparel industry. All my life I’ve been the textile industry.”
What do you envision for the future of SpeedCell?
“Since 2013 we’ve doubled our revenue. We foresee in the next 4-5 years doubling the revenue annuals and more and more customers seeing the advantages to using SpeedCell. At the beginning, we had to find them (our customers), now they come to us.
The product will continue to develop, it’s an evolution. Sometimes customers ask us for solutions where we must innovate to provide a solution. That is the advantage to working with textiles, no tooling to create something new.
The company, this bond between IFR and SpeedCell Storage Solutions is a strong one because the company is almost 100 years in business and we’re experts at what we do.”