PLYMOUTH, Michigan, February 7, 2017 — Helm, Inc. (www.helm.com), a leading provider of branded merchandise, third-party fulfillment and technology solutions is celebrating their 75th year in business.
The company first formed in 1943 as a commercial trade bindery based in Detroit, Michigan. Since then, it has grown to provide global fulfillment services, and logoed apparel and merchandise for corporate clients with large networks of corporate employees, franchisees, and consumers.
As the company has evolved over the past seven decades, it has been marked with moments of innovation that have shaped the company to what it is today. In the early 1960s, Helm would send all finished service and owner manuals to a large automotive parts warehouse for distribution to dealerships. Helm saw an opportunity to improve time to market by shipping these manuals directly to the dealers. Helm further expanded this service by offering a wide range of factory authorized information to dealerships, aftermarket repair facilities and consumers by fulfilling this product on-demand to the end users.
“That was revolutionary at a time when products were purchased in bulk for economies of scale”, says Helm CEO, Justin Gusick. That service is still in place today, and Helm is widely known for its large selection of OEM authored service and owner information for the automotive industry at helminc.com.
Using its network of distributors and fulfillment centers, Helm has since expanded its global fulfillment services to include the automotive aftermarket, specialty retail, quick-service, and consumer packaged goods industries.
Helm also specializes in corporate branded merchandising programs for clients that have large networks of corporate employees, franchisees, and consumers. Helm entered the promotional products industry in 1970s. “It all started with a simple question: ‘Would anyone buy a pen with our client’s logo on it?’,” said Michael Wacht, EVP of Marketing and Operations. “Since that day, Helm has sold over 50 million logoed pens. Helm now offers an extensive line of branded merchandise that’s resulted in billions of brand impressions for our clients.”
“Branded merchandise is an incredibly powerful medium to boost brand affinity by allowing your customers to interact with a brand beyond the product experience,” Wacht explains. Helm offers a wide range of brand-name apparel, promotional products, electronics, retail fixtures and customer retention tools that reinforce our client’s brand objectives in-store, online, or in their customers’ everyday lives.
In the 1990s, Helm recognized the potential of the internet and became early adopters of ecommerce technology. They ensured that technology was seamlessly integrated into their order processing and inventory management systems. “This provided a tremendous competitive advantage by transforming the speed at which we shared product information and order fulfillment statuses with our customers,” reveals Wacht. “While we take this for granted today, it was an amazing time to be on the forefront of this technological revolution.” By the 2000s, the company had expanded technologically in all aspects of its business, especially its digital marketing services, custom software solutions, and mobile technology to meet a wide range of client enterprise requirements.
After seventy-five years, Helm continues to be a leading provider of fulfillment and branded merchandising services and is committed to making investments to ensure it remains relevant in an ever-evolving global marketplace. In 2011, Helm moved their corporate headquarters to its current location in Plymouth, Michigan, and opened its flagship distribution center in Livonia, Michigan. It’s most recent investment: a new west coast distribution center strategically located in Salt Lake City, Utah, to better serve partners on the West Coast.
"As Helm celebrates this incredible milestone, our employees and culture continue to visibly embrace the long-standing tradition of creating innovative solutions for our clients." says VP of Human Resources, Diane Biber. “We are incredibly proud of the commitment our employees give to our clients and their brands.” The client list includes quick-serve restaurant leader Domino’s Pizza, shoe and boot specialists Merrell and automotive leaders like BMW, FCA and Ford Motor Company.
Today, the company serves globally recognized clients with branded merchandise and fulfillment services, shipping worldwide to consumers, corporate employees, and franchisees – all with customized marketing and distribution requirements. “We’re able to develop unique, highly-tailored solutions for each and every one of our customers,” Gusick said. “No two clients have businesses that are alike, so we don’t expect any of them to fit a standardized template or a one size fits all solution.”
Helm is currently headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan, with a 140,000-square-foot distribution center nearby, and a 65,000-square-foot facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.