The story of how the parent company wanted massive expansion of new products to capture more market share.
Getting a product on the shelf is hard enough, but defending that space from invaders is the real challenge. For Crawford, a manufacturer of hooks and organizing systems, fighting off the invading hordes is an ongoing battle, especially when a product is easy to duplicate.
In the trenches, at stores like Home Depot, Crawford wants to expand on the hard-earned store real estate it already has and give itself room to stretch. However, pressure from foreign manufacturers is mounting.
"It's easy to take their products, from an overseas perspective, design around it, and take it to the shelf," G.M. Davison explained. "Crawford's challenge was, 'We want to grow our line,' and at the same time they are feeling some pressure in having their products commoditized."
As is often the case, it's become too taxing on a company's bottom line to expand or build new research and development operations. That's where Davison comes in.
Davison's Inventionmen are arming Crawford with the most essential arsenal - well-developed products, and lots of them. Instead of presenting a buyer with two or three new items a year, Davison is putting Crawford in a position to pitch 20-30 new products.
The Davison team worked to create a new extension of Crawford's line, while innovating its pegboard line and helping them move with the market towards metal magnet hooks for steel cabinetry.
"Since that's the trend," Davison noted on metal hooks, "we've set them up to capitalize on that trend."
Staying on this path is an ongoing challenge. There is never a clear victory in the marketplace, challengers will always rise. But each victory builds allies. For Crawford, it was being offered to supply a private label line for Home Depot on all the innovations Davison developed for them despite the increasing allure of overseas manufacturers.
"The real struggle right now is the large retail companies are going overseas too, getting their own products in the store."
While this is the cruel reality, the retailers are learning that overseas knockoffs are not the future. Companies like Crawford offer long-term stability through a history of strong performance and a continual flow of innovative new products.
That's where we come in.