Frohling Sign Company case study

The Challenge: Frohling Sign Company needed a flexible lower cost option for channel letter signage. Their high operating cost structure prevented them from landing channel letter sign projects, and they didn’t sell enough letters to make the investment in automated production equipment worthwhile.

The Solution: Frohling is now using Direct Sign Wholesale to produce some of their channel letter signage. Using DSW has resulted in Frohling being able to cover more projects than they could using internal letter production.

The Benefits: Frohling is now able to effectively bid channel letter projects with competitive price numbers, and has won some additional projects as a result. They can also confidently big on larger channel letter projects without concern over the capability of their internal production being able to meet the project requirements.

Producing channel letter signage can be an expensive hassle. That is because it takes more labor and machinery than some other signage types. Also, producing your own letters means you must sell enough letters to make the equipment and labor investment worthwhile, and you must consistently have enough work to keep that labor pool busy. Last, it is worth it only if you can still offer your product at a competitive price point.

Those were just a few of the problems faced by Brian O’Connor, President of Frohling Signs of Nanuet, New York. Frohling is a full service electrical signage company. “It was frustrating because we were negotiating channel letter projects to a certain point, but then we were losing the jobs. We are a union shop with high labor rates, and we operate in the high cost State of New York.”

“There was one particular job I priced out and lost” continued Brian. “I estimated the job with us producing the letters. Afterwards, I checked around with several wholesale fabricators including Direct Sign Wholesale. If I had used DSW and placed a nice markup on the job, I would have been $2000 under what I had come in at on the quote. I probably would have gotten the job.”

To tackle the problem, Brian looked at several outside channel letter vendors. “I looked at several outside vendors of channel letters. Direct Sign Wholesale was more competitive on the price – not a heck of a lot, but enough. And I like that they are an APM in the WSA.”

Brian was also concerned about several aspects of implementing the use of an outside vendor instead of producing letters internally. “My first concern was the product quality. Second was the delivery times, and the third was the distance between DSW and me.” Shipping to Frohling Sign Company is a cross country trip – Colorado to New York.

Brian commented further “Regarding my quality concern, I saw a job Direct Sign Wholesale did for another WSA member before it was installed, and I also asked a couple of other members regarding your product quality, and they gave you high marks.”

So how did the implementation go? “Very smooth” said Brian. “I was actually surprised at how smoothly it went. Also, your delivery has been excellent. Since we are using more and more LED illumination, the breakage has been minimal.”

Working with Direct Sign Wholesale has also helped Brian meet his sales objectives when his internal production capacity is not sufficient. “I got very busy in the second half of 2010, particularly in October, November and December. There is no way I could have done all the letters that I had without you fabricating. Having you as a source helped me sell more. Outsourcing to you had a big impact on the business.”

Finally, would Brian recommend Direct Sign Wholesale to other companies? “Only if they are not a competitor” he jokes. “I’d recommend you to a non-competitive company any time. I have already recommended you to other WSA companies.”