Space: The Not-So-Final Frontier of Supply Chain Management

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When it comes to supply chain management, how you manage your space is every bit as important as how much of it you have. In fact, inefficient use of space was one of the significant industry challenges cited in the 2017 State of the Retail Supply Chain report by Martech International.

The Not-Quite-Final Frontier

Managing the space your grocery operation has for storage, transportation and display of product is key to ensuring stores have exactly the right amount of saleable product when they need it. Martech’s report evaluates retail supply chains in Europe, where, it seems, grocery operators are doing a better job than their peers in other industries in using space-related data to forecast supply chain replenishment needs.

Data can help supply chain managers know how to best use the space they have, whether their goal is to put the maximum amount of saleable product on shelves or optimizing every inch of space on trucks moving between distribution centers to stores.

However, getting predictable data to factor into their forecasts can be a challenge for supply chain managers.

The Logic of RPCs

When it comes to reliable, space-related data — not to mention space-maximizing physical properties — reusable plastic containers emerge as the workhorses of any grocery supply chain. With standardized sizes and designs that maximize stackability, RPCs can help supply chain managers:

  • Know exactly how much product they’ll be able to ship
  • Optimize cube utilization to efficiently deliver the right amount of product to stores
  • Keep loads neat and orderly so there’s less possibility of a load shifting in transit or during the loading or unloading processes
  • Reduce damage and loss of product caused by inefficient packaging strength. In fact, in some categories, RPCs can reduce damage up to 50 percent
  • Optimize in-store display of products such as eggs or produce, allowing employees to stack more product in the same amount of space
  • Reduce the space required to break down and store corrugated packaging

3 Additional Benefits of RPCs to Your Supply Chain Management Arsenal

1) Making optimum use of space delivers benefits beyond simply having enough saleable product when you need it. RPCs help ensure every truck load is optimized, so fewer shipments are needed to move the same amount of product from distribution center to stores. Fewer trips means your transportation fleet will be able to reduce its carbon footprint.

2) Optimized space also means less damaged and unsaleable product, helping reduce food waste and all its social and environmental effects.

3) Finally, optimization of space can save time throughout every stage of a supply chain. RPCs help make packing of product, palletizing, loading and unloading of trucks and display restocking move smoothly, easily and quickly.

Time and space are critical assets for any supply chain operation, and RPCs can help you reap the most benefit from the time and space you have available.

To learn more about how reusables create more efficient supply chains, click here.

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