A reusable supply chain benefits everyone: from supplier to distribution center to stores to consumers. Reducing the amount of disposable packaging and replacing it with reusables, like reusable plastic containers (RPCs), that are more durable and do a better job of protecting product, is an effective way to reduce cost, trim shrink and boost efficiency.
It sounds great, right? So, why the aversion to change? Let’s take a deeper look. Step by step, here’s how the process works when you choose to incorporate Tosca’s RPCs into your supply chain.
Step #1 – An order originates with a supplier, such as an egg, protein or produce farm.
Suppliers originate an order, and their product is packed in RPCs. Because RPCs do a better job than corrugated packaging of protecting fragile perishables, many suppliers view them as the smart choice.
How RPCs differ: RPCs deliver better structural integrity, stability, and superior ventilation for faster and more efficient cooling. Plus, the ergonomic handles make loading and unloading easier and safer.
Step #2 – The shipment arrives at a distribution center.
Distribution center staff unpacks the shipment and positions the pallets in their racking system. RPCs’ stacking capability allows the DC to double stack pallets and use space more efficiently.
How RPCs differ: RPCs are a preferred package solution for distribution centers because the containers are standardized and designed to be easily secured and stackable.
Because of this standardization, RPCs make unpacking, repacking and loading for shipment to stores clean, orderly and quick. The RPCs also enable distributors to create store-pick pallets that incorporate exactly the type and amount of product each store needs. Additionally, RPCs eliminate box failures that lead to damaged product, especially for the last leg of the journey to the store.
Step #3 – Stores receive shipments that contain less damaged product.
Rigid, stable RPCs means less product damaged in transit, and more salable product arrives in stores. In addition to reducing costs associated with shrink, RPCs can also help retailers reduce labor costs; reusable plastic containers are designed to work for display, not just for transport.
How RPCs differ: Retailers have the ability to take RPCs right from the truck to the shelf, saving the time they would have spent opening, unpacking and recycling corrugated boxes. Also, by reducing product handling, there is less chance of damage to the product.
Step #4 – The RPCs go back to Tosca Service Centers
Empty, collapsed Tosca RPCs are placed on pallets in the backroom to prepare for return. Stores return these RPC pallets along with other dunnage to a distribution center where they’re sorted and sent to a Tosca wash center.
How RPCs differ: Since returns from store to distribution center are already a standard process, incorporating RPCs into the supply chain is far easier than you might think. Tosca works directly with every client to ensure returning our RPCs is as stress-free as possible.
Step #5 – Wash centers get RPCs ready for their next journey.
With 14 wash centers across the country — the most in the industry —Tosca keeps supply chains moving efficiently. At the wash center, we sanitize the RPCs to ensure they meet the highest food safety and sanitation standards, then we store them until they’re ready for their next assignment.
How RPCs differ: Because we’re reusing plastic containers, Tosca RPCs are the sustainable choice; between 2000 and 2016, Tosca diverted more than 561,210 tons of corrugated packaging from entering the supply chain via reusables.
Supply Chain Efficiencies with RPCs
RPCs will bring value to your organization if:
- You frequently move large shipments of the same volume, quantity, specifications and routes.
- Failed packaging is causing costly shrink.
- You’re spending a lot of money on purchasing, handling and recycling large amounts of disposable packaging.
- You have your own fleet of dedicated trucks, and struggle to optimize cube utilization.
- Your workers experience frequent injuries and strains during loading and unloading.
- You need help meeting your sustainability goals.
Tosca provides online calculators to help you understand the value RPCs may deliver for your organization when you choose reusable plastic containers for your produce, eggs, poultry and case-ready meats.