OnTel's Journey to Sustainability

OnTel Products Corporation

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 14. Life Below Water

Overview

You may have seen these products on commercials, but never realized how impactful they really were to this world. OnTel strives to develop solution-oriented products that have mass appeal and improve the quality of people’s lives. Their eyes and ears are always open for the next great idea, and consistently develop and innovate on their existing product lines to make them even better. Their mission as a company is to improve people’s lives at an affordable price and have created products that does just that and more.

Authors

Jordan Rock

Jordan Rock

Klaidas Tamulionis

Klaidas Tamulionis

John Kozas

John Kozas

Alex Kundera

Alex Kundera

James Lieb

James Lieb

School

Rutgers Business School

Rutgers Business School

Professor

Carmen L Bonilla

Carmen L Bonilla

Innovation

This company may be known for their popular products that we loved while growing up and continue to love, such as their pet shaped pillows, known as Pillow Pets. However, shortly after sitting down and digging deep with the Key Account Executive, Daniel Kline, we realized OnTel is more than just memorable products, they are determined to move the entire company as a whole towards becoming more sustainable and eco-friendly.

OnTel Products Corporation distributes products that are both affordable and use less energy, which definitely appeals to consumers because it improves the consumer’s quality of life. The “Arctic Air” and the "Handy Heater” are products that use significantly less energy than competing products. Innovations such as the "Arctic Air" and the "Handy Heater" have also inspired OnTel to create other products that use bamboo, as well as reduce the use of plastic.

OnTel showed us that, yes, these products did very well and brought in revenue, but they are not here just for the money, they really want to bring clean products that people feel comfortable purchasing. The "Arctic Air" and the "Handy Heater" are two products that have really transformed how much energy needs to go into either cooling or heating a room.

For example, the "Arctic Air" uses it's hydro-chill technology that pulls in hot air and transforms it into cool air. It was able to take in 96 degrees of hot air and turn it into clean air of 72 degrees. On top of all that, you can have cool, CLEAN, air anywhere because this product is not only affordable, but it is also portable rather than those huge air conditioner units that use way more energy and cannot be taken where ever you go. It also purifies and humidifies areas.

Similarly, the "Handy Heater" has the same beneficial factors to this world, but transforms a cold space into a warm, comfortable space. This product uses its thermo-ceramic design to create and circulate heat. It is great for offices, homes, dorms, and workshops. While reviewing these products, we realized their innovations fit perfectly into many of the UN Global Goals, but specifically, affordable and clean energy (7), responsible consumption and production (12), and life below water (14).

Goal 7 states, "Renewable energy solutions are becoming cheaper, more reliable and more efficient every day," which is a perfect representation of what OnTel's innovative products were made to do. Goal 12 also states, "Our planet has provided us with an abundance of natural resources. But we have not utilized them responsibly and currently consume far beyond what our planet can provide. We must learn how to use and produce in sustainable ways that will reverse the harm that we have inflicted on the planet," which is why OnTel is trying to produce their products with better and safe products, as well as alter their consumption and others consumption of energy. Finally, Goal 14 mentions how "healthy oceans and seas are essential to our existence." OnTel recognized this and knew they needed to help protect our marine life. These innovative products, while they are successful, they hold a true purpose and demonstrate where OnTel wants to go in the future and how they plan on doing it.

OnTel's Journey to Sustainability

Inspiration

This company’s purpose and “why” for change is truly impactful and inspirational. The president’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer at the age of one, she is three now and thankfully doing a lot better, but this experience gave the president a very new perspective on life. He realized he was in a position to create change in this world. He wanted to ensure that he could continue her prosperity and good health moving forward. The president and the key account executive kept hearing more about climate change, challenges with the ocean over media, and they knew they could make an impact versus just sitting back and watching it happen before them. Products that only prevent the problem from happening are not a good fit for OnTel’s format. OnTel wants products that have an impact and that solve the problem. Which inspired them to state their primary innovation is to distribute appealing products that are affordable, help people’s lives and well being, and products that help contribute to the world.

Overall impact

“Innovation does not always need to be super groundbreaking sometimes all it takes is making even a one percent change to make it more efficient and better for the environment," Key Account Executive Daniel Kline stated.

This stood out to us because it is very true, a simple change in style of purchases can potentially reduce the harm that is being caused to this planet. With that being said, we noticed the short term and long term effects of the Arctic Air and Handy Heater products are the immediate and long lasting energy consumption reduction. Reducing energy consumption contributes to reducing greenhouse emissions and the carbon footprint of the business consumers. These reductions overall increases the well-being of society and the environment. Organizational members are able to work on innovative product that has real life implications and better society for the long term, increase morale throughout the production process as well as a sense of commitment towards bettering the future of society.

Arctic Air and Handy Heater products have sold over 4 million units combined. Arctic Air and Arctic Air Ultra have sold 1.45 million and 1.01 million respectively. Handy heater sales are at 1.6 million units since 2016. The Arctic Air products are relatively new to the market with sales beginning in 2018. Data collected regarding the sales and energy use of each product were provided by Dan Kline during the interview.

With the sales of each product, the overall impact of the products can be seen by comparing the energy savings each product provides. On average in New Jersey, a medium sized air cooler uses 900 watts of energy and a heater uses 1300 watts of energy per hour. (Data cited from an online energy calculator). The Arctic Air and Arctic Air Ultra use 250 watts/hour, and the Hand Heater uses 350 watts/hour. The energy savings each product provides is 650 watts/hour and 1150 watts/hour respectively.

Business benefit

"I thoroughly see a difference in motivation for the staff because they know what they are working on has an impact on the sustainability of this planet," said Daniel Kline. When we interviewed and saw the people of this company we really felt that statement to be true because they were all very passionate and knowledgeable about what they want to achieve and contribute to this world. “Improving people’s lives at an affordable price,” was a statement that we heard multiple times during our time there, which truly shows how powerful, determined, and unified this company is.

The company President and mister Kline also talked about how they wanted to make an impact on not just those walking on land, but also those below, which is why this company has also donated thousands of dollars to Oceana, the largest international group focus solely on ocean conservation. They really felt it was important to help make managing 70% of the planet a little bit easier. This company has gone from an electronic company in 1994, to what is now made up of about $200 million in revenue, and a global network of over 80,000 retail stores, Ontel can guarantee maximum market penetration, both domestically and world-wide. From small retail chains to mass-market retailers such Walmart and Target, few other companies match the distribution power of Ontel Products. They realize their platform and really felt it was time to push for more sustainable and eco-friendly products. Therefore, they conduct hundreds of research studies each year to stay ahead of what consumers need today and want tomorrow. The insights OnTel gains not only identify new innovations, but also help them better communicate with their customers and solve their problems.

Social and environmental benefit

Ontel’s forward thinking product design and development focuses on creating a product that will help the environment and save people money. The "Handy Heater and "Arctic Air" product line provide cooling and heating at a fraction of the energy consumption standard home appliances use. With these innovative products, their impact on society is that the products provide heating and cooling for millions of customers. The products efficient function and long term cost savings for consumers help the business's bottom line. Revenue is only one aspect of how these products benefit the business overall, employees within the company feel connected and empowered to design new products which will help the environment and the company. As one of the world’s largest consumer products companies, Ontel has scale advantages across our brands and operations. This allows them to share knowledge, transfer technologies, optimize their spending and flow resources to better serve consumers, and continually improve not only their efficiency and productivity, but the well-being of those on land and below water.

OnTel also felt in order to really have an impact, they had to practice what they wanted to accomplish. Therefore, their "Global Headquarters in Fairfield, NJ is powered by a 228kW solar photo-voltaic system. The rooftop system includes 950 individual 240 watt photo-voltaic modules, two central commercial inverters, a ballasted roof mounting system, and a data acquisition system that incorporates string-level monitoring capabilities. The system produces over 270,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, representing all of the facility’s current annual usage. This equates to the reduction of more than 350,000 pounds of carbon emissions annually. Over the next 25 years, the system will produce 6.4 million kilowatt-hours, generating enough clean energy to power more than 35 homes for the same period." This company is showing it must start with their own homebase to transform the homes of others.

Interview

Daniel Kline, Key Account Executive

Photo of interviewee

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OnTel Products Corporation

OnTel Products Corporation

Fairfield, NJ, US

Business Website: http://www.ontelproducts.com

Year Founded: 1994

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Since 1994, OnTel has been developing, marketing, and distributing some of the most innovative consumer products on the market. From popular toys to top-selling home fitness equipment to innovative and sustainable items, the company loves bringing new ideas into the world. OnTel's products are sold in nearly every major retail chain in the USA, and in over 30 countries worldwide, with a simple mission: to serve people and improve their lives at an affordable price.