PACIFIC ALLIED PRODUCTS
GROWING A LOCAL INDUSTRY THROUGH PARTNERSHIP
Those who live, work, or play in Hawaii understand that it’s not uncommon to have a nice cold bottle of water near you at all times. We can quickly go to any convenience store and choose from numerous brands in various sizes. However, most of us don’t realize that the majority of those bottles are made right here on the island.
Hawaii has a vibrant manufacturing industry with opportunities to grow. Pacific Allied Products, Ltd, located in Kapolei, is leading the way for local manufacturers to grow their businesses by developing their workforce. Now Hawaii’s leader in plastics manufacturing, Pacific Allied Products has established a standard of excellence in quality and service. Founded in 1965, the company initially produced wall panels using Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam. Recreational products such as ice coolers, surfboards, and swim rings evolved over the years. Pacific Allied became a partner in AFM, Inc., manufacturing (under an exclusive license) laminated roofing systems, wall panels, Contour Taper Tile, Perform Guard insect resistant insulation, and other specialized products for the construction industry. In 1992, Pacific Allied Products began manufacturing a full line of PET bottles for the beverage industry. Today, with over 90,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse facilities, Pacific Allied Products produces more than two hundred million bottles per year.
With a small manufacturing base in the state, Pacific Allied Products, and many other small manufacturing companies, had difficulty finding trained workers who could deal with specialized production tasks. A large number of these (smaller) companies make up Hawaii’s manufacturing sector, based primarily in food and beverage, with no local programs to train people. One day, Pacific Allied President Bernie Coleman sat in on a Chamber of Commerce meeting where he heard a presentation from the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges. UHCC introduced a curriculum for training in manufacturing, to be offered through Leeward Community College’s Office of Continuing Education & Workforce Development (OCEWD).
Mr. Coleman saw this as an excellent opportunity because of the customization options. The program modules could be tailored to his operational needs. “One thing we like about Leeward is that the classes cover exactly what we need. The curriculum was customized for Pacific Allied Products,” said Coleman. The students from Pacific Allied Products range from their maintenance technicians to shift supervisors, and operators. They are currently learning the basics of electronics, mechanical drive systems, electro hydraulics, logic control programming, and system integration. These skills allow Pacific Allied Products to keep up-to-date with current machinery, and expand on the training (future upgrades). Everyone has benefited from the training, and by sharing the classroom experience, the participants find they are more comfortable cross training and assisting each other, and others, on the job. After almost two years of training Mr. Coleman says, “The training has been excellent, and we feel our outcomes are being met.”
Strong partnerships like this between Pacific Allied Products and OCEWD have a strong positive impact on the local industry as well. Mr. Coleman has shared his experience with other manufacturing companies at Chamber of Commerce meetings, encouraging them to keep up with industry changes. Customized training through partnerships like this will greatly benefit manufacturing (food and products) in Hawaii, and provide opportunities for growth and innovation.