Performance Plastic and LEDs are a Bright Idea

Recently, members of our executive team were at a seminar with the primary focus of improving our overall customer experience. The most impactful takeaway we took from the keynote speaker was this:

In terms of customer experience and customer service, you are not just competing with competitors in your industry, you are competing with every business that customer has ever interacted with.

That means plastics distributors and fabricators are competing with a company like Amazon. Customers can search for any product imaginable, order it with one click, and have it delivered to their door in two days. Our society has come to expect speed and the ability customize as a standard. The sign and visual display industries are no exception. It is a competitive environment often with short lead times and custom requests.

What are sign and visual display customers looking for in a plastics company?

  1. Fast lead times
  2. Wide selection of color options
  3. Material that is easy to backlight with excellent light diffusion
  4. Low sheet minimums
  5. Custom fabrication capabilities

These industries are constantly evolving, so to offer the “Amazon Experience” distributors and fabricators need to have an arsenal of creative solutions available that also are beneficial to their bottom line and business model. Which leads to the question, how do we offer cost effective and timely solutions?

One new solution to offer customers is an LED acrylic with custom LED backlighting. LED acrylic is a specialty acrylic sheet specifically designed to be backlit by any color LED.

When customers are having custom signs and displays produced, they are often looking for very specific colors to match logos or other branding requirements. Distributors can keep a wide range of colors on their shelf, but it would be impossible to have a color to match every branding need. Custom colors can be ordered from the manufacturer, but with long lead times and high sheet minimums, it is not often an effective solution for a small-scale sign or display project.

Black LED acrylic with red and white LED lights.

LED acrylic is an option for customers that:

  1. Need custom colors with a short lead time
  2. Want the option to change colors later
  3. Are already planning on backlighting their project
  4. Need a small number of a custom color sheet

Pros:

Most sign and display applications are designed to be backlit from their conception, and LED acrylic allows the customer to get the color they need for their sign or display by manipulating the lighting they were already planning on having. Customers like the idea that in the future, the LED colors can be changed to update the signage or display instead of having to produce an entirely new piece.

Sign and display customers can order one material instead of having to order multiple different colors to complete one project. Plus, they have the option to reuse drop or keep sheets on hand to have for future projects.  As opposed to a custom color, distributors can offer the acrylic with low or no sheet minimums.

From a distributor’s perspective, warehouse space is often limited. LED acrylic is a space saving way for plastic companies to keep a viable option on their shelves without having to keep every acrylic color in stock. It’s a great back-up option when a customer needs a solution now.

From a fabricator’s perspective, waiting on material can dramatically increase lead times for projects. When material is already on the floor, it can not only shorten lead times but offer less stress and interruptions to scheduling.

Things to consider:

LED acrylic is a more expensive material than standard acrylic. It will require the customer to use colored LEDs or a combination of LEDs to get the desired effect, which can also contribute to an increase in cost.  Plus, there can be some trial and error to get the desired custom color. For large orders, ordering a custom color from the manufacturer may still be a more cost-effective option.

Another important consideration is that LED lights have to be on for the color to show. Customers have to be okay with the sign lacking color or looking different if the LEDs are off.

Customer service and partnerships are key in retaining customers in the sign and visual display industries. LED acrylic is not the answer to every signage and display project, but it can be an excellent option to offer customers.  It’s another way for performance plastic companies to offer creative solutions, insuring we keep evolving with sign and display industries.

For more product information about LED acrylic, visit our website.