Rapid Prototypes, a multimillion-dollar company that designs and builds corrugated packaging and display prototypes for retail suppliers, has expanded its business in Bentonville.
Owner Kyle Jack said the company has added 8,000 square feet, bringing its Walton Boulevard facility to 25,000 square feet. Rapid Prototypes also added specialized equipment, including a system engineered cutting device called a CNC (computer numerical control) router to aid in the production of permanent displays and show pieces including items made from wood, plastic, acrylics, metal and foam.
Jack said the company also added personnel and now employs 40 people.
“We have been running a second shift for a few years now to keep up with our normal daily workload,” he said. “At the beginning of 2020, partly with this expansion, we added a third shift. So we are now running 24 hours a day, five days a week.”
Jack said the expansion relieves some space constraints for the company in its current production space. It also brings product development and timelines for certain items further in-house.
“We have been producing these types of items for a number of years, but have leaned on local resources outside of our walls to get certain items done,” Jack said.
Jack said Rapid Prototypes is successful due to its diligence in “getting stuff done” no matter what. That means working nights, weekends and even holidays when needed. Better efficiency because of the expansion will pay dividends.
“When relying on other companies to assist you, you’re stuck with their timeline,” he explained. “While that works in most cases, we have run into issues in the past.”
Jack said 2019 was a good bounce-back year for Rapid Prototypes after a rough end to 2018.
“From 2016 to 2018 we increased our staff exponentially based on the market and a bit of an experiment with the purchase of our flagship printer,” he said. “We kept people on staff until we had absolutely no choice at the end of 2018 to restructure.”
Jack said the company let go of nine employees in December 2018. Three of them, however, were hired back in 2019. Sales were up 5% last year and six new employees were hired.
Jack said the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been minimal on his business, but the management team is putting plans in place should the need arise to have flexible schedules and possibly split shifts.
“Those who may have to take care of their children during the day will have the option of working a second or third shift,” he said. “As of now our customers still have needs for our services, so we will continue to provide as per usual.”