By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Worldwide Dispensers plans to expand its manufacturing business made up of high quality plastic press taps and dispensers into Winsted.
The Lester Prairie business is making plans to expand by moving its assembly and warehousing operations to Winsted, making room for injection molding in Lester Prairie. To do this, the company will be taking up room in the same building that houses Advantage Mailing, located in the Winsted Industrial Park.
“By moving assembly and warehousing to Winsted, it will allow us space here in Lester Prairie to expand injection molding, and give us additional space up in Winsted to continue to grow the assembly operation,” President of Worldwide Dispensers Jerre Kachmar said.
In its business of manufacturing hundreds of millions of parts a year, Worldwide Dispensers supply dispensing solutions to most of the detergent companies, and major cooler companies in North America, according to Kachmar.
This includes connectors for soft drink bag and box syrup systems used for fountain drinks in restaurants.
“We have assembly equipment that puts them (parts) into bins and pulls them out one at a time and assembles them all,” Kachmar said. “Then everything we make is tested to make sure it doesn’t leak.”
The plastic taps can be used in all types of applications from automotive to medical according to Kachmar.
As part of the upcoming move, about 18 to 20 employees from the Lester Prairie site, a supervisor, and a maintenance person, will be sent to Winsted’s facility. The company will not be hiring additional employees for right now.
Worldwide Dispensers will take up residence in one third of the Winsted building, 22,000 square feet, as soon as needed improvements are made to the facility to accommodate the company’s work functions.
The move is something Kachmar has been looking into for about three years ever since the building owned by Waconia Mill III, LLC started construction. He is hoping the move can take place by the end of April.
In July 2007, Worldwide Dispensers became one of only 34 Minnesota businesses that has been certified by the Minnesota Safety and Health Achievement Recognition program (MNSHARP).
“I am pretty proud of that. We just got recertified in March and did very well,” Kachmar said. “We will be recertified for three years.”
To become certified means managers and employees work together to develop safety and health programs that go beyond basic compliance with OSHA standards. The results are an immediate and long-term prevention of job-related injuries and illnesses.
“The plan is to have the other facility in Winsted fall under MNSHARP, but you have to occupy the facility for a year before they will come in and audit you,” Kachmar said.
The Worldwide Dispensers’ main office will remain at the facility in Lester Prairie, and anyone wishing to contact them should call (320) 395-2553.
Worldwide Dispensers owned by European corporation
Worldwide Dispensers is a division of DS Smith, a leading European producer of paper and packaging.
In 1989, DS Smith purchased the company which, at the time, was known as Waddington and Duvall and moved to its current site in Merton, London in 1990.
In 1999, the company’s name changed from Waddington and Duvall to Worldwide Dispensers.
One of the reasons for the name change was to better reflect the international growth of its business and the other reason was DS Smith wanted to keep the trademark WD, known around the world, for Waddington and Duvall, according to Kachmar.
When DS Smith decided it needed a manufacturing base in North America, it acquired the Lester Prairie company known as Formative Engineering in 2000 and also named it Worldwide Dispensers.
Since Lester Prairie’s Formative Engineering became Worldwide Dispensers, it has added an additional 62 employees and added 20,000 square feet to the Lester Prairie site.
“We have a sister company called Worldwide Dispensers in the UK that does the same things we do here, basically,” Kachmar said. “They supply Europe and the rest of the world. We focus our supply on North America.”
World Wide Dispensers also has a manufacturing site in Slovakia, to serve its consumers in eastern Europe.
There are approximately 150 people employed at the facility in Merton, London, and Slovakia
DS Smith has other businesses in the US, according to Kachmar. One is called Rapak, which is based in Chicago and another plant in California, does bag and box products such as containers used for wine. Another business is called Stepac which is packaging for fresh vegetables.
“So right now, DS Smith is operating three businesses in North America: Stepac, Rapak, and Worldwide Dispensers,” Kachmar said.
“DS Smith is a diversified company, focusing primarily on packaging and office supplies. We are part of the packaging group,” Kachmar said.