California State Parks Taps PRIDE Industries for $6M E-commerce Website
With 280 state park units, over 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites, 5,200 miles of trails, 3,195 historic buildings, and more than 11,000 known prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, the California Department of Parks and Recreation contains the largest and most diverse recreational, natural, and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation.
The Challenge: “We put building an e-commerce site out for bid but didn’t get any responses.”
That’s from the parks’ Concessions Statewide Project Manager Sasha Tokas.
The parks draw 68 million visitors annually, and all those people need passes to enter. In 2008, the agency decided to be one of the first state parks systems to offer park passes and merchandise online.
But without any historical demand or promise of sales, they couldn’t find a vendor to take on the e-commerce website development project—until PRIDE Industries came along.
The Solution: “PRIDE Industries also does fulfillment for merchandise and saw room for us to grow.”
And grow it did. In 2011, the website grew to $1 million in sales and soared to $6 million by 2022. “Visitors from all over the state, country, and world can buy their passes online, making their trip planning easier and more predictable,” Tokas said.
The Result: “PRIDE Industries brought us into the 21st century!”
“The best part is that it happens behind the scenes while we work on business-critical issues like contract and partner management,” said Erik Hernandez, Concessions Program Manager. “I previously worked at a parks and rec district where I had to run the e-commerce, and there is just no way we could do that and handle the demand. Having online sales in place was huge.”
“I don’t know what we would have done without them when the pandemic hit.”
“While many businesses and organizations were scrambling to go online, we were already there—just when demand went through the roof,” Tokas said.
PRIDE Industries designed, built, and currently manages the state parks’ online store. The company also designs and ships all merchandise but the passes. Individual parks with concessions also order and sell merchandise.
“The relationship is very positive,” Tokas said. “The team is very responsive to our needs and listens to our suggestions, and it’s seamless.”
“We love PRIDE Industries’ mission to build an inclusive workforce."
PRIDE Industries is a social impact company with a mission to provide employment for people with disabilities by delivering high-value business services in the areas of manufacturing and logistics, and facilities management. The company has some 65,000 square feet of warehouse, manufacturing, and packaging space and performs packaging and fulfillment for companies as large as Hewlett-Packard (37,000 parts!) to small startups. Regarding e-commerce, the company uses top web developers and platforms to deliver secure, profitable sites.
“We share a strong commitment to accessibility—in our case, accessibility for all to our amazing parks,” Tokas said. “Internally, we are also committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”
A Vision of Accessibility
Indeed, one of the core values at California State Parks is cultural diversity and accessibility. The agency believes in the right of all visitors, including persons with disabilities, to have access to recreational opportunities and to enjoy the cultural, historical, and natural resources found in state parks.
Of course, the state parks’ online store was designed to be accessible to everyone and follows the standards set by California Government Code Sections 7405 and 11135 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
The challenge: Build a world-class e-commerce site to enable park visitors to buy passes and merchandise online.
The solution: PRIDE Industries offered website development, management, and merchandise fulfillment.
The result: The site now sells $6 million each year.
- E-commerce website design
- E-commerce management
- Packaging and fulfillment
The first industrial revolution arrived with the steam engine, around the year 1760, and ushered in an era in which machine power came to dominate the production of goods. The second industrial revolution began soon after the first one ended, around 1870. This era saw the rise of standardization and interchangeable parts and culminated in Henry Ford’s moving assembly line in 1913. The third revolution began with the invention of the computer, and radically changed how knowledge work is done. Now we’re on the cusp of a new revolution, brought about by the integration of computing into all facets of the manufacturing process, and leading to the rise of the smart factory.
Each of these revolutions is characterized by speed. The first helped get goods to market faster. The second helped build those goods faster. The third sped up the management of goods and markets. And now the fourth will once again speed up business—by making the journey from product concept to finished good faster. Like the revolutions that came before it, this fourth industrial revolution—aka Industry 4.0—is set to change the way work gets done and products get made.
Industry 4.0 and the Smart Factory
At its core, the smart factory is an outgrowth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and “cyber-physical” systems, which use computer-based algorithms to monitor and control manufacturing robots and machines, and even drive vehicles. These technologies also enable smart inventory control, which is changing the warehouse and tightening the connection between engineers and the factory floor.
Industry 4.0 is generally defined as the culmination of a series of advances across several related technologies, each of which plays a key role in enabling factories of all kinds to run more efficiently than ever before. These technologies, along with innovative operational changes, are increasing the speed of manufacturing yet again:
Industrial Internet of Things – This is the most significant of the new technological advances, which is why IIoT is nearly synonymous with Industry 4.0. Robots, sophisticated equipment, and other devices—the machines that are part of Industry 4.0—are now able to provide real-time updates on their location, condition, and current activity through the use of sensors and RFID tags.
Autonomous Robots – The Greek prefix “auto” means self, as in “independent.” And that is certainly true of the newest generation of industrial robots. The pick-and-place robots that have been in operation for several years have more recently been joined by inventory scanning drones. Both are equipped with sensors and managed through cutting-edge software. Though they vary in size and function, nearly all these robots are capable of “seeing” a situation, analyzing it, formulating a response, and acting on it.
Big Data and AI Analytics – Autonomous robots and other devices can continuously provide feedback from the factory floor. But this mountain of data is useless without the software to analyze it. Today’s AI software gathers data from IIoT devices, combines that with input from ERP and CRM systems, and analyzes the information in real time. This provides immediate insights that enable engineers to implement quick changes to the manufacturing process—or further streamline it.
Horizontal and Vertical Integration – IIoT may be the eyes and ears of Industry 4.0, but these linked devices would be of limited value in a traditionally structured operation. To take advantage of technological advances, companies themselves are changing, becoming more tightly bound both internally and across the supply chain. Horizontal integration entails linking communication across facilities and with suppliers. With vertical integration, production becomes more integrated with other departments—even sales and marketing—to allow for product changes to be quickly implemented. The goal is to eliminate knowledge silos and improve data transfer among departments.
Cloud Computing – Storing and sharing the vast amount of data that are gathered by IIoT devices would not be possible without cloud computing, and indeed, this service has been called the “great enabler” of Industry 4.0. The cloud is a communication nexus, the easily accessible repository of the data gathered by the cyber-physical systems that drive Industry 4.0.
Additive Manufacturing – Also known as 3D printing, additive manufacturing is more than a tool for rapid prototyping. Today, this technology is used to easily distribute manufacturing across multiple sites, or to customize consumer products on a mass scale. A growing list of products can now be stored in virtual inventories and “built” when and where needed, reducing both warehousing and transportation costs.
Digital Twins – The data produced by the IIoT can be sorted and analyzed in a number of ways for a variety of purposes. One of those purposes is the creation of a product’s digital twin. A digital twin is a simulation of a real product, machine, process, or system. Simulation software allows engineers to create virtual products and analyze their performance, so they can predict potential performance issues, and even identify malfunctioning parts.
Augmented Reality (AR) – Technology doesn’t yet allow us to manipulate holographic representations of data, but AR is pushing that boundary. Smart glasses and other mobile devices can be used to overlay digital content over a real environment, so that, for example, technicians can read repair instructions that appear to float in front of the machines they’re working on. This technology is still in its infancy, but eventually, it will allow engineers and others to step inside 3D models of products or machines to improve design or effect repairs.
Zero Trust – Zero Trust isn’t a technology so much as an approach to technology, or more specifically, the users of that technology. As computing power becomes integrated into more and more manufacturing machines, and as companies increasingly rely on the cloud and big data to run their factory floors, the costs of a cyberattack will increase exponentially. In response, companies are implementing cybersecurity measures to protect against data breaches and other forms of hacking. This means eliminating an assumption of trust in linked systems. With a zero-trust policy, even internal users, applications, and devices on the network must be verified before they can access any assets.
Building Your Smart Factory
The technologies and policies listed above are the building blocks of a smart factory. Few manufacturers, of course, have made use of every single one of these innovations. Augmented reality, for example, is still a few years away for most companies. And 3D printing isn’t yet considered essential. But these technologies are synergistic. To get the most out of the IIoT, for example, companies need to leverage both the cloud and big data. And that in turn necessitates a strict approach to cybersecurity.
Today’s manufacturing floors are already heavily automated, so in some ways, manufacturing has already entered the era of the smart factory. But as with all industrial revolutions, the changes will speed up as time goes on. The companies that can anticipate these changes are the ones that will thrive.
Your Smart Manufacturing Partner
Are you looking to streamline your supply chain? Or design your product for easy manufacturing? Our engineers and logistics staff can help you get your product from prototype to finished product in record time.
A new year brings new hope, and this year is no exception. After nearly three years of a pandemic, companies and countries have learned how to manage COVID-19, and have shifted their primary focus to more pressing issues. And there are certainly plenty of other problems that manufacturers must contend with. Fortunately, companies are rallying, developing innovative solutions, and adapting quickly to a new normal that includes a less stable supply chain. Because of this, manufacturing trends for 2023 are generally positive.
Agile Supply Chains Are Becoming the Norm
Even before the pandemic, manufacturers had to navigate the increasingly acrimonious trade war with China, as well as an actual war in the Ukraine that has limited the supply of key materials used in multiple industries, especially electronics. In addition, the global supply chain has been hit by a series of natural disasters and ongoing labor shortages.
The domestic supply chain has experienced serious disruptions as well. In December, a nationwide rail strike was narrowly averted by congressional action. While the trains are still running, the crisis has not been resolved. Union leaders have been vocal in their disappointment with the imposed contract, and it’s reasonable to expect another strike in the future—maybe this year.
With supply chain disruptions like these becoming common, many industry experts are reaching the same conclusion: What’s required now is agility, and that includes proactive contingency planning, supplier diversification, and a host of other operational changes. Manufacturers now are working to create supply chains that can bend to global pressures without breaking. This means building in redundancies, diversifying suppliers, and investing in more advanced manufacturing technologies, including digital tools that enable more effective planning and execution, and allow manufacturers to move quickly from one supplier to another.
Outsourcing of Manufacturing Will Continue
One operational change embraced by some companies is outsourcing. The move toward outsourcing began several years ago, and—as Forbes Magazine predicted recently—is likely to continue in 2023. Outsourcing allows companies to focus on their core competencies and reduce operating costs, giving them the margins they need to weather the current unpredictable manufacturing environment. Forbes cites the example of Peloton, which outsourced all its manufacturing in 2022. And while it’s true that Peloton had no choice but to act quickly—given the faltering sales of its flagship product—other companies in much healthier condition are also outsourcing some or all of their manufacturing.
For outsourcing to be successful, companies need manufacturing partners that have experience working around supply chain disruptions. Before you outsource manufacturing to a third party, make sure that company can clearly articulate how it deals with unpredictable (though no longer unexpected) disruptions.
Reshoring Continues to Be a Strong Manufacturing Trend
It’s important to note that “outsource” and “offshore” don’t mean the same thing. In fact, just as outsourcing is on the rise, so is reshoring. There are many reasons why reshoring is becoming such an attractive option. Fuel costs have risen sharply, making transportation untenable for some products. Labor costs have also risen throughout Asia, including China. At the same time, automation is bringing down the cost of manufacturing in the U.S., further eroding the savings in labor costs that offshoring used to bring.
Another problem is the perceived inferiority of foreign-made products, especially those made in China, which can be a difficult stigma to overcome. A 2015 study by the Boston Consulting Group, for example, found that both American and Chinese consumers were willing to pay a 10% premium for goods made in the USA, and this sentiment does not appear to have changed.
For all these reasons, companies are increasingly seeking out domestic manufacturing partners. Luckily for them, new legislation like the CHIPS Act is already increasing the number of factories in the U.S., making it easier to find domestic manufacturing partners. Some of these facilities are slated to be “smart factories,” which bring greater efficiency to the manufacturing process, and can help compensate for efficiencies that have been lost to supply chain disruptions.
Digital Manufacturing Trends Will Grow Stronger
Smart factories are in fact expected to become more prevalent in 2023. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 62% of manufacturers plan to invest in greater automation in 2023, both increasing efficiency and mitigating the effects of the labor shortage. On the software side, one in five manufacturers is currently developing a metaverse platform for their products and services. Other technologies that manufacturers plan to implement in order to increase operational efficiency during the next 12 months include: data analytics, artificial intelligence, advanced materials, and even quantum technology.
While 30% of manufacturers are choosing to develop the smart technologies they need in house, others are looking outside their own companies. They’re working with academic research institutions, acquiring companies that already have the desired capabilities, or partnering with technology companies.
Companies Will Move from “Just in Time” to “Just in Case”
The just-in-time manufacturing model was all about lowering inventory costs and maximizing efficiency throughout the supply chain, and for many years, it helped companies build up their bottom lines. But a just-in-time model requires a high degree of predictability. Without it, the model falls apart, leaving companies unable to fulfill orders. And indeed, supply chain disruptions have led to several high-profile instances of failed product delivery—just ask the makers of luxury cars, for one example.
The supply chain is no longer as predictable as it once was, and a return to the high stability of yore is unlikely. This is why CNBC recently reported on a trend that is picking up steam: just-in-case manufacturing. Companies that have adopted a just-in-case mentality are cushioning their supply chains. For example, they’re bringing back the concept of “safety stock,” increasing the inventory they carry on hand. This of course raises the risk of holding too much stock, which is why it’s important for companies who adopt this model to work with a manufacturing partner with expertise in inventory control.
Manufacturers Will Adapt to Materials Shortages
According to the Deloitte survey, 72% of manufacturing executives believe that the shortage of essential materials will continue to pose the biggest supply chain uncertainty in 2023. But here again, manufacturers are finding ways to cope. They’re employing something new—digital technology—and also turning to old standbys: building local capacity, and moving away from just-in-time sourcing to create redundancy in their supply chains. Deloitte lists four strategies that manufacturers are employing:
- Closer Supplier Relationships: Manufacturers are no longer taking supplier relationships for granted but monitoring and managing them carefully. They’re working with suppliers to be on the alert for possible supply hiccups, so they can quickly request an alternate transport route or switch to a comparable alternate component at the first sign of trouble.
- Supplier Diversity: After years of pursuing efficiencies by paring down the number of suppliers, manufacturers are once again choosing not to put all their eggs in one basket. They’re mitigating their risks by building redundancy into their supply chains.
- Boosting Local Capacity: To reduce supply bottlenecks and transportation headaches, some manufacturers are opening up domestic production facilities. Even global OEMs, if they have a big stake in the U.S. market, are opening factories closer to their customers. This trend is being helped along by federal incentives, most notably the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS Act, and the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act).
- Digital Capabilities: Manufacturers are turning to sophisticated digital technologies that let them manage the entire supply chain and coordinate more effectively among suppliers. This greater supply chain visibility enables companies to spot disruptions as they’re developing and respond quickly.
Talent Retention Solutions Will Get Creative
Even though 2022 saw a record number of new hires, job openings in manufacturing still number around 800,000. Skilled labor remains difficult to source, reducing operational efficiency. Because of this, manufacturers have begun taking steps to increase their supply of workers, and these approaches are likely to become more widespread in 2023. These solutions include:
- Pay Incentives: Up to now, industries like retail and warehousing have been increasing wages faster than manufacturing has. But that looks set to change this year.
- Skill Development: One reason for the labor shortage is simply that manufacturing is a far more technical industry than it once was. To get the skilled workforce they need, manufacturers are investing in training, and forming partnerships with academic institutions in order to create talent pipelines.
DEI Initiatives: Now more than ever, manufacturers are seeking to create environments that are welcoming to both women (who currently make up less than one-third of the manufacturing workforce) and minority groups, including people with disabilities. Not only does this approach allow manufacturers to access untapped labor pools, it also creates a virtuous cycle, given that nearly 70% of U.S. job seekers in a 2020 survey said they consider a diverse workforce a positive benefit when weighing job offers.
Sustainability Will Increase
The DEI initiatives that companies are implementing dovetail nicely with another manufacturing trend: increasing consumer preference for sustainable solutions. As with DEI, sustainability trends evolve quickly, and manufacturers are dedicating more resources to keep up, not just to meet internal sustainability goals, but also to please their end users. For this reason, many companies voluntarily comply with the multiple reporting regulations, ratings, and disclosure frameworks advanced by nonprofit organizations like the IFRS Foundation and CDP.
A Manufacturing Partner You Can Rely On
At PRIDE Industries, we help companies increase profits by stabilizing their supply chains. Our West Coast facilities minimize your risk of disruption, optimize manufacturing and fulfillment processing, and provide flexible, on-demand inventory schedules. Working with us also allows you to make a positive social impact with your business spend, while meeting consumer demand for products made in the USA.
Medical Device Manufacturer
20% Cost Savings and On-Time Delivery for Medical Device Manufacturer
When a Class II medical device manufacturer needed a reliable partner for production and supply chain management, it turned to PRIDE Industries. For more than ten years, PRIDE Industries has helped this manufacturer produce essential devices that are used to reduce pain and speed recovery for athletes, military personnel, and post-surgery patients worldwide.
In 2008, a Class II medical device manufacturer hired PRIDE Industries as contract manufacturer to provide a full turnkey solution in supply chain management and electronics manufacturing services. Our solution is vertically integrated with global distribution support.
- Supply chain management
- Electronics manufacturing services
- Strategic partnership, not solely transactional
- 95%+ optimized, on-time delivery
- 20% cost savings realized through custom solutions and pricing
- 18 months – obtained ISO13485 medical certificate and FDA compliance
- 60% = 2021 forecast of YOY production volume increase for one product
- Initial results exceeded expectations, leading the customer to expand the manufacturing contract
Learn more about our services
PRIDE Industries helps BunkTrunk® build storage products for college-bound students.
BunkTrunk® is an innovative company founded by two San Diego entrepreneurs who developed a unique storage system which easily fit in dorm rooms to keep the belongings of college students safe.
When Guy Plouffe‘s daughter entered college, she quickly became concerned about storing her laptop and other valuable items when she was away from her dorm room. Regular safes were too big, heavy, and expensive to be considered an option, especially for the typical college student on a budget.
Guy quickly thought of a solution. He developed a lightweight storage compartment which attaches to dorm room beds and locks securely. His daughter’s roommate loved it as well, and Guy made another one for her. The concept for BunkTrunk® was then created.
Guy had reached the first step in his business plan, creating a unique storage system that would meet the needs of countless college students. Executing the rest of the plan, however, proved more difficult. The expense of raw materials, as well as skyrocketing labor costs, created major obstacles. But Guy didn’t find the talent he needed. So, he decided to turn to PRIDE Industries.
After reviewing a step-by-step video on how to put these trunks together, our manufacturing experts determined that our team members with disabilities could assemble the trunks.
And they were right.
PRIDE Industries’ employees mount the hinges, install the doors, conduct quality assessments, and package the final Bunk Trunk for shipping. Thanks to the work of PRIDE Industries’ inclusive team, about 30-45 Bunk Trunks are shipped every week—all over the United States.
“They have incredible attention to detail,” says Darla Reed, Co-Owner of BunkTrunk®.
As of today, thousands of the trunks have been sold to students all over the country. And, the price point of the BunkTrunk® hovers around $300—perfectly affordable for the college market.
- Building, mounting, and packaging
- Packaging and shipping