What the Centralized Mailbox Future Marketplace Holds
More Change in the Commercial Mailbox Manufacturer Industry
Change is now commonplace in the commercial mailbox industry which is why it should come as no surprise of the most recent happenings. The recent acquisition of the troubled American Locker Group by the private equity firm Anderson Group caused the company to struggle for years with having a firm identity and lack of product diversification in the marketplace. American Locker Group now owned by Anderson Group, LLC (once a leader in pedestal mailboxes) will be fortunate to keep the doors open in 2015. How did this fall of the once highly regarded stock on the NYSE happen? What opportunities will the other manufacturers have as a result of American Locker’s misfortune? Where will the centralized mailbox marketplace go as we move through the 21st Century?
Pedestal Mailbox and Cluster Box Unit Transformation
American Locker Group in the late 20th century in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service led the transformation of pedestal mailboxes from the Neighborhood and Delivery Collection Box unit to the cluster box unit. American Locker’s management caught the ear of the Postal Service’s leadership at that time and convinced them on the benefits of a front loading cluster box unit. Together, American Locker and USPS agreed that moving to a front loading cluster box unit would save the USPS money because the mail could be loaded without leaving the mail truck. The two parties also agreed on some additional design changes from the Neighborhood Delivery and Collection Box Unit which included larger tenant doors, secure outgoing mail, and parcel lockers built standard into the then, new cluster box unit. American Locker proceeded from the design and postal certification phase to produce the first cluster box unit which was made out of polycarbonate material. American Locker enjoyed great success with polycarbonate cluster box unit but with success can come complacency and dependence. A couple years after the introduction of the cluster box unit to the marketplace several other manufacturers’ including Florence Manufacturing, Security Manufacturing, and Cutler Manufacturing gained certification with the Postal Service with an aluminum cluster box unit. One benefit these manufacturers gained by gaining by receiving the approval of the cluster box was the relationships made with United State Postal Service, which proved to be vital moving forward. Late in the 20th century e-commerce was beginning to gain momentum and identity theft was becoming more of an issue for the Postal Service. Florence Manufacturing, a manufacturer of commercial mailboxes and aluminum cluster box units began to develop a more robust and secure cluster box unit to present to the Postal Service’s leadership. The Postal Service loved the product and began the process of decertifying the current cluster box unit in the marketplace, which eventually happened at the beginning of the 21st Century.
The result of the change to a more secure cluster box unit now known as the F Series cluster box unit put the other manufacturers in the industry in the spot of playing catch up to Florence Manufacturing while still trying to run their current operations. Because cluster box unit represented a significant portion of American Locker’s revenue this task proved to be extremely difficult and USA Building Supplies’ management believes was the paramount reason to the recent acquisition by Anderson Group of the troubled American Locker.
The Start of Mini Storage Cabinets
Will additional opportunities come about for the current commercial mailbox manufacturers because of American Locker’s hard times? Yes, but some of these opportunities have already been realized. One complementary line that American Locker enjoyed great success with was a product called mini check lockers, which was used predominantly in health clubs for small article storage. The revolution of electronic devices increased the use of the mini check lockers to include the storing cell phones. Florence manufacturing took advantage of this trend by introducing mini storage lockers, which is a more versatile locker than American Locker’s mini check locker. Today, Florence Manufacturing is the leading producer of cell phone lockers in the USA. Another product American Locker enjoyed some success with was a specialty locker called a laptop locker. Manufacturers from other related industries have entered into this segment of the market too. It would not be a surprise if Florence Manufacturing or other commercial mailbox companies introduced their own laptop locker shortly. Additional opportunities in the commercial mailbox industry as a result of American Locker difficulties include Federal Express horizontal mailboxes, ups store mailboxes, and university mailboxes as American Locker enjoyed a significant portion of these niches of the centralize mailbox marketplace.
Mailbox Manufacturer Rely on Product Diversification
Current commercial mailbox manufacturers have been watching the American Locker situation unfold carefully and are trying to learn from it. Product diversification and business acquisitions are almost a certainty to be a part of their plan moving forward. Top industry insiders see manufacturers like Florence and Salsbury continually diversifying to decrease their dependence on their bestselling product lines which are currently cluster box units and 4C mailboxes. In conclusion it has become apparent that manufacturers and distributors in the commercial mailbox marketplace would be served moving into the future by continually evolving to avoid the pitfalls that American locker has fallen into.