Reusable packaging has redefined grocery supply chain efficiency by reducing product damage, eliminating packaging waste and reducing costly labor activities. However, supply chain managers who are already using RPCs to reduce damage and streamline efficiencies can realize even greater benefits from reusables by implementing these container solutions in other facets of their operations.
Reusable packaging revolution
Reusable packaging makes good business sense for multiple reasons. Many types of reusable packaging like RPCs simply do a better job of protecting product than traditional packaging materials like corrugated boxes. Eliminating the need to handle, dispose of and/or recycle single-use packaging improves supply chain efficiency and reduces labor hours.
Equally important to cost savings, are the environmental benefits that reusables deliver. RPCs reduce the amount of waste grocery operations encounter in their DCs and stores, as well as the contributions to landfills. They also can significantly curtail food waste by ensuring more perishable products reach stores in sellable condition.
However, to fully reap the value of the reusable revolution, grocery operators need to continue innovating new ways to incorporate reusable packaging into their supply chains.
Reusables can be valuable in many aspects of supply chains, beyond the traditional grocery supply chain (supplier to DC to store), including:
- The transport of meals and fresh kitchen products prepared offsite or in a commissary to the retail location in reusable crates or bins.
- Large reusable bins can better protect meat between source plant and processing facilities.
- When consumers order groceries online, RPCs are perfect for gathering product and holding it for curbside delivery until shoppers pick it up at the store.
- Reusable plastic containers hold up well in cold supply chains, protecting perishables without the risk of condensation and moisture damage that can impair corrugated cardboard’s ability to transport and protect product.
- Paired with tracking technology, RPCs become an integral component of the Internet of Things, allowing supply chain managers and suppliers to better track containers.
- Grocery stores or other suppliers delving into the meal kit market can employ reusable plastic containers to gather, hold and even deliver food to consumers.
Reusable packaging can create significant value in multiple facets of a grocery supply chain from protecting product, enhancing efficiency to containing costs. However, when supply chain managers start thinking outside the box for new and innovative ways to employ reusables in their supply chains, the potential for RPCs is virtually limitless.
To learn more about how reusables create more efficient supply chains, click here.