Interview with Jim Hollen, President
In this interview series, Jim Hollen, President of RICH LTD. provides an inside look at the company and the POP display business. He shares insights on the business, the industry, entrepreneurship, and more.
Can you share with us the brief history of RICH LTD?
RICH LTD. is a 27-year old point-of-purchase display, store fixture, and merchandising solutions company located in Southern California. For our first 15 years in business, the company focused almost exclusively on designing and manufacturing simple displays made primarily of wire and sheet metal. The company developed a unique line of stock products and manufactured virtually everything in China, which made the company a low-cost provider in the industry.
In 2002, I acquired the company through a leveraged buyout. Since that time, we have focused on growing the company and expanding our design and manufacturing capabilities to include a wide range of display materials such as wood, acrylic, plastic, signage, LED lighting, etc. Our focus has shifted away from low-end commodity wire and metal products to mid-range and higher end displays that incorporate mixed materials and can have greater brand-building potential and impact at retail. We have significantly broadened our stock line of displays with a greater focus on design-oriented and innovative retail fixtures, but our custom point of purchase display work still represents the majority of our business today. In addition to expanding our manufacturing capabilities in China, Vietnam and to a lesser extent Mexico, over the last 4 years we have built a millwork and graphics operation in the U.S. We believe with our blended manufacturing model, our local office in China and our worldwide logistics capabilities, we are well positioned to serve international retailers as well as brands.
What is the mission that drives the company?
Our mission is to be the preeminent provider of merchandising solutions that offer superior value to our customers. That mission statement contains a number of important words that help to create focus for us as an organization. First, our goal is to become preeminent in our industry. We want to be constantly striving for excellence and be the best at we do. Second, we want to focus on being a solutions provider. We don’t want to just be a designer and manufacturer of POP displays. We want to solve the whole merchandising problem for our customers- from assessing the customer’s merchandising needs all the way through implementation of the solution. Finally, we want to provide greater value to our customers than anyone else in our industry. We define value as benefits minus costs. In many cases we can create value for our customers by being a low-cost provider, but more often, we create superior value by designing a merchandising solution that drives increased sales at a very affordable price. That’s the value equation we strive to maximize.
Can you tell us about various services provided by the company?
We provide a full range of integrated services for our customers, including:
Pre-Production- Design and engineering are really at the heart of the creative process and our pre-production services. We analyze our customers’ merchandising needs, conduct primary research, collect design specifications, develop concept designs, create 3-D models, assess engineering requirements, draft mechanical drawings, incorporate graphic design, and generate price quotations.
Production- The production process begins with a prototyping phase where we manufacture a physical prototype and sometimes a first article of production prior to beginning mass production. Once our customer has approved the prototype, we submit final mechanical drawings to our production team at which point they typically begin to create the tooling necessary for accurate and efficient mass production. An important part of the production process is quality assurance which is initiated at the very beginning of the production process by inspecting raw materials and tooling. We have a 3-tiered quality assurance system which includes inspection of finished goods by our factory QA team, our RICH LTD. staff at the factory, and then our RICH LTD. U.S. team once the displays arrive in the U.S.
Post Production- Our post-production services include warehousing, inventory management, packing/fulfillment, drop shipping, installation, and international transportation and logistics. We view installation as just one example of a value-added service we offer. For local or regional projects, we often handle the installation ourselves, but for national rollouts requiring installation we typically partner with third-party installation providers.