Packaging and Fulfillment

Tony Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics Services for PRIDE Industries, talks with Josh Santo of Conquering Chaos. They discuss the value of employing persons with disabilities and creating an inclusive work environment for companies and employees to thrive.

Josh Santo (JS): Today, approximately 30 million working-age people in the U.S. have a disability. 75% of them are unemployed. 

 

Our next guest, Tony Lopez, is committed to creating jobs for people with disabilities and is creating change in the contract manufacturing field. As the Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics Services for PRIDE Industries, Tony oversees multiple lines of business, including electronics and medical devices, manufacturing, supply chain logistics, contract packaging, and fulfillment. 

 

Tony, tell us about PRIDE Industries, the communities that you serve, and your manufacturing solutions.

 

 Tony Lopez (TL): PRIDE Industries was founded in the basement of a church in 1966 by a group of parents who wanted to create jobs for their adult children with disabilities. We originally operated like a true nonprofit but found this wasn’t sustainable. So, PRIDE Industries became a social enterprise, which means we employ the same strategies as commercial businesses. The difference is that any profits or surplus go back into reinvesting into our mission to create employment for people with disabilities. 

 

We operate several different lines of business, including packaging and fulfillment, electronics manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics for companies like HP, Inc. We also do contract packaging and fulfillment, including for a large hospitality food provider that we’re projecting to fulfill 5,000 work orders.

Workplace Inclusion is Good for Business, Including Manufacturing

JS: Besides solving workforce and recruitment problems, how else can hiring people with disabilities help organizations?


TL: If you look at companies with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings—which take workplace inclusion into consideration—they have healthier cultures, lower turnover and absenteeism, and are more profitable. And consumers take positive notice when organizations become socially conscious.


In the manufacturing field, employees with disabilities have high productivity rates and lower levels of mistakes. Contrary to popular belief, people with disabilities take safety seriously—our safety incidents are 30% lower than the industry average. Overall, the key to success as an employer is to offer opportunity and support to all your employees—with and without disabilities.

Understanding Disability and Creating an Inclusive Work Environment

JS: Can you help us understand what constitutes a disability? 

 

TL: Disability is a broad concept that encompasses invisible and visible disabilities, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and mental health and learning disorders. 

 

It’s important to realize that people aren’t just born with disabilities; some individuals develop them over the course of their lifetime. It might be harder for them to complete certain tasks, but focusing on their value is important. People with disabilities are capable, and often they just need the opportunity.

 

JS: What common misconceptions do you encounter about hiring people with disabilities?

 

TL: One is that people with disabilities can only do simple job tasks. However, we have seen that by adapting training and creating a supportive environment, you can allow an employee to thrive and learn new skills.

 

JS: What kind of culture is needed to recruit and retain workers with disabilities?

 

TL: Diversity and inclusion have to be part of the organization’s goals. To create a truly inclusive work environment, companies need to employ people with disabilities for all career levels—not just entry-level jobs. They can achieve this goal by assessing their workplaces and offering inclusivity training. 

 

JS: What kind of training and job coaching helps people with disabilities succeed?

 

TL: Onboarding is important. We start new employees by introducing our organization and culture, reviewing workforce inclusion support and accommodations, and explaining our learning and development opportunities. Training and support, including being provided with a job coach, is customized to each person’s skills and goals. 

We can help your business grow

We offer cost-effective manufacturing and logistics services in a wide variety of industries.

“In manufacturing, employees with disabilities have high productivity rates and lower levels of mistakes.”

—Tony Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics for PRIDE Industries

In September 2021, the California Legislature passed SB 343, the Truth in Labeling for Recyclable Materials” bill.  This bill, which passed with an overwhelming majority, will prohibit the use of the chasing-arrows symbol and the term “recyclable” on products that are not recyclable. As a result, by July 2025, all California packaging must adhere to certain mandates. With New Jersey and New York already following suit, more bills and laws like these are sure to come.

Why are these laws necessary, and what will they mean to your operation?

“It’s a basic truth-in-advertising concept,” said California State Senator Ben Allen, the bill’s lead sponsor, to the New York Times. “We have a lot of people who are dutifully putting materials into the recycling bins that have the recycling symbols on them, thinking that they’re going to be recycled, but actually, they’re heading straight to the landfill.”

 

Designed to address concerns about non-recyclable materials coming into contact with recyclable materials, the new law seeks to eliminate contaminates from the recycling stream. Such contaminates make sorting and cleaning actual recyclable materials more costly—expenses that transfer to ratepayers and city governments. The bill also seeks to empower consumers to make informed decisions, stating that, “consumers deserve accurate and useful information related to how to properly handle the end of life of a product or packaging.”

 

Though, before the bill, it was already illegal to mislabel an item “recyclable” when it was not, enforceability was lacking. SB 343 changes that as follows:

 

“Recyclability symbols or statements that do not meet [the bill’s] requirements are ‘deceptive or misleading’ . . . Making such a claim is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.”

 

“There will be hefty penalties for those who don’t comply,” said Alan Ruzich, Regional Operations Manager at PRIDE Industries. “Aligning our customers’ packaging strategies with SB 343 is already on our radar and should be front-of-mind for all businesses’ packaging operations.”

 

Global law firm, DLA Piper, advises those packagers affected by this law to “take stock of their products and packaging bearing any claims related to recyclability.” The firm further notes, “Close attention should also be paid to any information posted by CalRecycle . . . “’

What measures should packaging operations managers take right now?

To this end, packaging operations will need to update their recordkeeping and their printing protocols. They will also need to monitor CalRecycle’s website, with an eye toward January 2024, when the state agency will be required to generate a list of specific criteria. In the meantime, according to the bill, a product may be labeled “recyclable” only if:

  1. that product is collected in one of the curbside programs that cover at least 60% of the state’s population.
  2. can be sorted into defined streams.
  3. can be reclaimed at appropriate facilities. The law further states that products collected by non-curbside programs can also be “recyclable,” but only if the program “recovers at least 60% of the product or packaging in the program” and the material can be sorted into aggregate streams.

Upon the list’s release, manufacturers will have 18 months to ensure their products are in compliance. This means that, by July 2025, your packaging operations should be fully on-board with new labeling mandates.

With an eye toward ESG, expect more of the same nationally.

Prior to the bill’s implementation, Heidi Sanborn, Commission Chair for California’s Commission on Recycling Markets & Curbside Recycling, compared California’s recycling climate to the “wild, wild West of product claims and labeling.

 

But things will soon be different.

 

“[There’s] finally going to [be] a new sheriff in town when it comes to labeling and proper information to the public—and what’s recyclable,” said Sanborn.

 

And beyond California, things are expected to change as well.

 

“It’s a part of the focus on Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) ratings for organizations,” says Tony Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics for PRIDE Industries. “Nationally, organizations are understanding how the environmental side of business—including true recyclability of their products—is becoming a necessity, both from a consumer social-consciousness perspective and a sustainability one.”

 

In fact, PRIDE Industries partner, HP, Inc., has initiated a Sustainability Pledge, in which the global leader requires its suppliers and partners to commit to six sustainability goals—including a pledge to use their strict recycling guidelines.

 

“California has always led the sustainability movement,” said Lopez. “HP was founded here and is now recognized as one of the world’s most sustainable companies. Expect others to follow suit.”

Interested in partnering with PRIDE Industries to help your business?

When triathlete, ultra-marathoner, and best-selling author Sal Edwards wanted to reshore assembly and packaging services for their latest business endeavor, s/he immediately thought of PRIDE Industries.

 

Heart Zones, founded by Edwards in 1994, is a pioneer in the field of science-based heart rate training programs and devices. Among these devices is the Blink Armband, a lightweight heart rate monitor that converts data into individualized, actionable exercise prescriptions. To get this product to market quickly and reliably, Edwards was looking for a kitting and assembly partner s/he could count on, which is where PRIDE Industries comes in—again.

 

“Sal has a special place their heart—pun intended—for us,” said Tony Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics Services for PRIDE Industries. “Our relationship dates back 30 years, to when s/he was the cofounder of Yuba Shoes—snowshoes we helped to build before, eventually, purchasing the business.”

 

You read that right. Back in 1990, having already created and grown Fleet Feet, a well-known Sacramento-area company, Edwards created their own brand of streamlined snowshoe. PRIDE Industries manufactured the shoes for five years and then bought the line outright. In fact, these snowshoes were the very first commercial product PRIDE Industries sold to the federal government—specifically to the Marines. Though, over time, external and internal factors led to a cessation of this business line, those who worked in it recall fondly that one pair of Yuba Shoes made it to the top of Everest.

 

And now, with a new focus to “get America fit through data driven fitness that uses wearable technology and sound methodology,” Edwards has again turned to PRIDE Industries.

Kitting and Assembly Services with a Positive Social Impact

“S/he’s wanted to reshore some of the manufacturing, kitting, and assembly services to the states,” said Lopez. “And s/he’s always resonated with our business model. So, we’ll be building the accessory kits for their armband—a strap, clasps, and connectors.”

 

And this isn’t just any wearable band.

 

Used by health clubs and in K-8 Physical Education programs, the Blink Armband and its accompanying software allow instructors to monitor student progress in real time—a feature that’s especially useful for distance-learning environments.

 

“Heart Zones generates between two and three million in sales, annually,” said Lopez. “We estimate this kitting and assembly contract will employ 10 PRIDE Industries employees with disabilities, and there’s a good chance that number could grow.”

 

If Edwards’ past success is any indication, Heart Zones will indeed continue to grow and positively impact the well-being of thousands of users. And PRIDE Industries will be the partner that helps make that happen.

So, here’s to health, heartfulness, and a renewed business relationship!

Interested in partnering with PRIDE Industries to help your business?

Wearable, data-driven fitness technology motivates and empowers individuals

Roseville, Calif. — PRIDE Industries, the country’s leading employer of people with disabilities, will provide kitting and assembly services to Heart Zones, a pioneer in the field of science-based heart rate training programs and devices. PRIDE Industries will build, package, and ship Heart Zones’ premier exercise product, the Blink Armband. Heart Zones’ Blink Armband is a lightweight heart rate monitor that converts data into individualized, actionable exercise recommendations. This useful tool is often used, for example, by health clubs and in K-12 school physical education programs. The accompanying software allows coaches and instructors to monitor fitness progress in real time.

 

“As demand for the Blink Armband has increased, I’ve been looking for a way to re-shore production and get our product to our customers more quickly,” said Sal Edwards, CEO and founder. A triathlete, ultra-marathoner, exercise scientist, and best-selling author, Sal founded Heart Zones in 1993. “And I knew I could count on PRIDE Industries, given our past partnership.”

 

Thirty years ago, PRIDE Industries partnered with Sal Edwards. During this partnership, PRIDE built, kitted, and shipped products for her previous company, Yuba Shoes. For several years, the footwear company made snowshoes used by various military branches, particularly the Marines.

 

“We value our longstanding, trusted partnership with Sal. The Blink Armband production will be performed in our state-of-the-art Roseville manufacturing facility,” said Tony Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics Services for PRIDE Industries. “By building the accessory kits for the Blink Armband—a strap, clasps, and connectors—PRIDE Industries is excited to help Heart Zones motivate and empower Americans to improve their fitness.”

 

PRIDE Industries employees will use sonic welder machines to manufacture the accessory kits for the Blink Armband. Also, PRIDE will train employees with disabilities to operate this equipment, which is a valuable, transferable job skill.

About PRIDE Industries

PRIDE Industries delivers business excellence with a positive social impact. A social enterprise, we provide facilities operations and maintenance, custodial, contract manufacturing, supply chain management, packaging and fulfillment, and staffing and recruitment services to private and public organizations nationwide. Founded in 1966, PRIDE Industries’ mission is to create employment for people with disabilities. Through personalized employment services, we help individuals realize their true potential and lead more independent lives. PRIDE Industries proves the value of its inclusive workforce model through operational success across multiple industries every day. Learn more at https://PRIDEIndustries.com

About Heart Zones

For over 25 years, Heart Zones, Inc. has provided the latest in scientific-based heart rate training technology, fitness training programs, certifications, books and educational materials for coaches, athletes and individuals. Founded by author, professional athlete and exercise scientist Sally Edwards, MA, MBA, the company was first to introduce networked fitness with the patented Threshold Training System™ for use in individual and group fitness training settings. Heart Zones, Inc continues to innovate and pioneer new technologies and training programs. These technologies and training programs target both individual and group training environments with the mission to get America fit. Learn more at https://www.heartzones.com

We can help your business grow

Learn more about our kitting and assembly services.   
Media Contact
Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.

image of people in blue uniforms and gloves working on electronics parts
Case Study:

HP Inc.

A 20+ Year Partnership: HP Inc. and PRIDE Industries

In 1998, PRIDE Industries began sorting and packaging computer related products for HP Inc. Then, in 2003, we were selected to provide additional services for HP Inc.’s commercial and personal printers, spare parts, and related devices.

Situation

Having relocated the bulk of its operations to Kentucky, HP sought a partner that could handle procurement and planning as well as purchase order management, packing, and shipping for its printer parts and components—while saving HP money and helping them meet their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals.

Solution

PRIDE Industries had, since 1998, earned HP’s trust through the sorting and recycling services we provided for their products. Then, in 2003, when HP selected us through a competitive bid process, we began providing supply chain management and global fulfillment services for their commercial and personal printers. Not only did our procurement and planning teams manage supplier relationships and the bulk of supply-chain links for this project, we also created a unique, proprietary system that acts as an interface between HP’s and PRIDE Industries’ Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs).

PRIDE Industries’ procurement team manages supplier relationships, including purchase order management, delivery performance, and escalations. Additionally, PRIDE Industries’ planning team performs forecasting/demand planning, creates material purchasing requests, manages part setup and maintenance, carries out lifecycle planning activities, implements part-roll tasks, and provides overall operational project management support. The HP Inc. program at PRIDE Industries is a global, 24-hour operation. Our team of supply chain planners, buyers, and business support assistants focus on striking the optimal balance between supply chain inventory levels and high customer level-of-fill targets.

After demonstrating business excellence to HP, we acquired two more HP Inc. business segments:

  • Spare Part Fulfillment program to support HP Inc. Print business acquisition
  • PRIDE Industries is the sole HP Inc. North America regional distribution center for their printing and copier spare parts needs.
  • PRIDE Industries manages the spare parts return program via the HP iReturns system and cross-docking activities.


“This partnership has been great for furthering our mission to create jobs for people with disabilities,” says HP Program Manager for PRIDE Industries Ralph Mendez.

Services Provided

  • 267,000 square feet of dedicated warehouse space for the program
  • Technical expertise for forward/reverse logistics and supply chain management
  • Systematic interface/infrastructure
  • Proactive management

Results

  • PRIDE Industries was named Global Service Supplier of the Year for HP Inc.
  • > 37K active part numbers (SKUs) managed
  • 43.5K average monthly units shipped
  • 800 average orders per day
  • 1,311 average sales order lines per day
  • 98% same day shipping
  • 93% level-of-fill requirement met
  • $32.1M HP-consigned inventory managed
  • 30 weeks of supply (including end-of-life)
  • 60% cost savings from consolidation as a percentage of consolidation activity
  • 16% cost savings from consolidation as a percentage of HP/PRIDE Industries logistics spend
  • > 200 kits managed
  • 221 average monthly kits built per day
  • 99% on-time shipments
  • 6-7 weeks of PRIDE Industries-owned inventory

Awards

  • PRIDE Industries was named Global Service Supplier of the Year for HP Inc.
HP Logo

Highlights

By the end of July 2021, the Lincoln, Calif. facility employed 52 staff, nearly a quarter of whom have a disclosed disability.

43,500

average monthly units shipped in FY20

267K sq. ft.

of dedicated warehouse space

$32.1M

HP-consigned inventory managed

"PRIDE Industries is a proactive partner who exceeds their performance targets. I’m in love with the mission and in love with their performance."

Director, HP Inc. Americas Service Supply Chain

Learn more about our services

Name(Required)
Case Study:

Amazon.com

Amazon Chooses PRIDE Industries as the First to Join its Alternative Workforce Supplier Program

Amazon.com delivers almost a million packages to people’s front doorsteps every day and is known for its fast delivery. Achieving this quick turnaround requires hundreds of dedicated and motivated employees to sort and pack items accurately, making staffing a crucial function for the company.

Situation

As part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Amazon launched the Alternative Workforce Supplier Program (AWSP) in 2016. This innovative staffing initiative is tailored to meet the needs of individuals who have traditionally faced obstacles to entering and advancing in the workplace.

To meet its ambitious DEI goals, Amazon sought organizations in each geographical market who had expertise in recruiting, assessing, and supporting people with disabilities. More importantly, they needed companies with a track record of filling roles in a high-volume environment like Amazon’s.

Solution

  • Amazon chose PRIDE Industries as its first nonprofit agency (NPA) to quickly scale its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative – the Alternative Workforce Supplier Program.
  • PRIDE Industries was chosen for our decades of experience and longstanding relationship with the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).
  • As an AbilityOne®provider, PRIDE Industries hires, trains, and continuously supports employees who have significant disabilities.
  • We developed assessments, job counseling, and job simulations at a mock warehouse for screening candidates.
  • We created a specialized team of Job Coaches and Employment Relationship Coordinators who were responsible for training, coaching, and supporting over 300 new team members, 90% of whom had a disclosed disability.
  • Given our results, the initial contract was expanded to include 12 Amazon PRIME Now sites.
  • When Amazon eventually chose to bring its AWS program in-house, they adopted PRIDE Industries training methods developed for their warehouses.

Services Provided

  • Interviews of candidates referred by local partners
  • Assessment of candidate skills and interests
  • Help with the coordination of employee transportation to job sites
  • Reviews of employment soft skills, such as punctuality and communication
  • Employee training for jobs such as Associate, Yard Hostler, and Water Spider, for both Sortation and PRIME Now warehouses

Results

Through its partnership with PRIDE Industries, Amazon.com was able to make a positive social impact without sacrificing business excellence:

  • Amazon achieved its goal of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in its workforce.
  • Hundreds of individuals with disabilities were successfully employed and received continuous on-the-job support.
  • The productivity level of employees with disabilities consistently met or exceeded average site productivity levels.
  • Because PRIDE Industries exceeded its contract requirements, Amazon asked PRIDE Industries to extend its services beyond California into two additional sites in Nevada.

“PRIDE Industries has been a fantastic partner in helping Amazon hire people with disabilities. We are excited to hire more talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, and our partnership with PRIDE Industries helped us expand this goal.”

— Ilia Movchan, Amazon Program Manager
Amazon logo

Highlights

304

people with disabilities placed

Contract expansion​

to 12 Amazon PRIME Now sites

Sites served

California & Nevada

“PRIDE Industries has been a fantastic partner in helping Amazon hire people with disabilities. We are excited to hire more talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, and our partnership with PRIDE Industries helped us expand this goal.”

— Ilia Movchan, Amazon Program Manager

Grow your business with a diverse workforce

Find out how PRIDE Industries can help you recruit, hire, and retain inclusive talent.