The ADCO Story
Ray Davis entered the business world in 1966 as a salesman for Monarch Marking Systems. He loved the excitement and challenges of sales, and continued to hone his business skills working for two other large corporations. In each of these positions, Ray had taken virtually non-existent business units and grown them into successful enterprises while moving across the U.S. Never knowing where he would be next, he decided to put his roots down in Dallas, Texas, and start his own business. Ray’s “new baby” ADCO Industries was born in 1980 with a strong heartbeat and resounding vigor.
As Ray embarked on creating the strategy for his new business, he determined that ADCO’s value could best be realized by focusing on end-to-end product placement, from design and development to manufacture and market of his own products. To learn more about the business, he landed a consulting contract to manage new store openings for an up-and-coming retail operation. It was during this time that he witnessed a dire accident inside one of the retail stores that carved an indelible picture in his mind, and propelled him to create the first product for his young company.
QUEST TO CREATE A SAFER SOLUTION
The accident occurred when a young associate was cutting open a box and put the cutting device into the pocket of her pants. As she removed the cutter from her pocket, she accidently cut her leg and hit an artery. She nearly bled to death. The only thing that saved her life was the fast response of the EMTs. Ray stayed with the young woman until she was stabilized and out of harm’s way. The accident was so horrific that Ray began a quest to create a safer solution to opening boxes.
Six months later, Ray brought to market the Super Safe Top Cutter, the first box cutter safety knife developed in the U. S. Recognized as the most effective product in its field at the time, it is still on the market today.
Ray’s knack for finding effective product solutions to real life challenges was demonstrated again a few months later when he received a phone call from a client, Sam Walton. Mr. Walton’s daughter had been in a car accident and had been injured. He told Ray his daughter was unable to walk and that she had lost much of her independence. Determined to help his daughter reclaim her life, he insisted she travel with him from store to store as was his practice. In doing so, Mr. Walton realized there were hundreds of thousands of people who were unable to walk the distance of his stores. He asked Ray to develop a sit down shopping cart. Ray recognized the enormity of the problem, but he went to work on his next product.
CREATING A COMFORTABLE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
The Sit and Shop was introduced to the market in 1984, long before ADA regulations were enforced. It provides easy access and a comfortable shopping experience for millions of shoppers everyday who have difficulty or unable to walk the length of a modern retail store. It is the number one manual sit down shopping cart and still on the market today.
With two successful products under his belt, Ray’s new company, ADCO Industries, had taken its first steps and the direction was set as developers, manufacturers and client facing suppliers of original, proprietary products and customer solutions. Ray brought together a uniquely qualified team to help him in this quest, many of whom are still with ADCO today.
In addition to product innovation, Ray rode the wave of the retail transformation of the 80s and 90s and also started a printing operation at ADCO. The Flexographic Printing Division quickly became an industry leader, providing superior printing services to the retail industry. Combining proprietary techniques with the latest in printing processes, this division of ADCO developed the first-ever technology to successfully use water-based ink to print on plastic, dramatically reducing the cost. Ideal for POP display tags and other in-store promotional items, these custom branded retail tags increased in-store sales up to 30%.
In the years that followed, numerous other breakthrough products were introduced at ADCO, including the next generation of box cutters, the Easy-Cut line. Continuing Ray’s quest, the patented technology inside this safety knife virtually eliminates accidents and prevents damage to product inside a box. A new line of Mini-Mule Vault Dollies and Vault Shelving for the convenience store trade was rolled out, changing the way cooler vault products are stored. The Vault Dolly system has been credited with reducing back injuries by 50%, and ensuring health sanitation standards are met by removing products off the floor.
CONTINUING QUEST TO CREATE BREAKTHROUGH PRODUCTS
Other major product introductions over the years have included the SafeTacher, the only safe retail apparel tag fastener accepted by O.H.S.A. This product contains a unique patented spring-action mechanism that encloses the needle on both ends and a no-touch needle replacement kit, offering triple protection to users every time. Other tagging devices contain exposed needles, causing constant injuries and putting users at risk of blood borne diseases.
After 32 years, ADCO Industries is now grown up, steeled by the lessons learned in the turbulent economic environments of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. ADCO Industries has thrived by listening to customer needs and by being responsive. Since the first product was introduced more than three decades ago, ADCO has continued to create products that not only solve problems, but also improve quality of life and work in significant ways.
Products scheduled to be released this year include the Barton Door Block, a revolutionary new device that prevents the door from slamming on children’s fingers; Dust Vac, a new way to clean computers and other electronic equipment, eliminating the need for canned air that harms the environment and presents a health hazard; a Commercial Roller Hot Dog Grill offering a revolutionary new roller mechanism for improved cleanliness and service; and a new patented Easy-Cut 3000, the ultimate solution for all box cutter needs! This product line represents the final phase of a life-long journey for Ray Davis to develop the safest box cutter ever on the market.
LIFELONG JOURNEY FOR 'SMARTER PRODUCTS, BETTER LIFE'
Every ADCO product that rolls out of production and into the workplace or household benefits the user in some way: through ease-of-use, safety, cost or waste reduction. Proudly partnering with a customer base of over 4,000 businesses across the country and the globe, ADCO Industries continues to expand its product offering. Always in forward motion, ADCO looks to the future with a robust research program to bring improvement to existing product line, while searching for the next generation product to exceed customer needs.
As ADCO Industries enters into its fourth decade, the opportunities are greater today than ever before. A company whose goals are rooted in solving problems is perfectly positioned in an ever-shrinking world connected through technology and supply chains to make ADCO’s next great product solution quickly available and accessible worldwide.
As Ray Davis puts it, “The key to our success is our willingness to listen to our customers — and recognizing there will always be problems to solve, and new solutions to discover that weren’t there before.” It’s the ADCO eternal quest for… Smarter products. Better life.