Issue: Oct 2009


Pushing the Demand Curve Forward for Reusable Packaging



by Michael Pavey

National industry and professional associations, along with packaging and pooling companies, are striving to increase awareness and promote the use of reusable packaging through educational seminars. Over the past two weeks, prominent organizations including the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) have held events promoting the environmental, economical and supply chain efficiency benefits of using reusable packaging and asset tracking systems.


The 2009 RPA Choose Reusables conference, held October 5th – 7th in Las Vegas, gathered over 70 participants from prestigious national companies interested in learning how to cost effectively implement reusable packaging as part of the initiative to green their supply chains, while increasing operational efficiency. The panel discussions and seminars focused on the four stages involved in implementing reusable packaging, including awareness, acceptance, implementation and optimization.


“The event response was outstanding,” says Drew Merrill, RPA Board Member and Container and Pooling Solutions (CAPS) VP Business Development. “We were particularly pleased to see increased interest from food and beverage end users. As manufacturing customers, these companies are on the front lines of emptying product from a variety of containers and have significant influence on the materials used. With increasing pressure to go green and cut costs, the end users are taking a larger interest and demanding the use of reusable containers. With a diverse group of representatives at different stages of reusable packaging implementation, we were able to have very prolific discussions.”


While the RPA event focused on the stages of implementation, the AIAG Returnable Containers Call to Action Summit held on October 15th in Southfield, MI, put more emphasis on managing returnable containers in the supply chain through the use of tracking technology and container management systems. A group of over 100 attendees were present to discuss forming a committee comprised of automotive OE’s and service providers. The group is tasked with developing returnable packaging implementation and use standards across all supply chains, in order to help the automotive industry better embrace and avoid typical pitfalls common with a reusable system.


“AIAG has a long history in the area of returnable containers and automatic identification,” explains Morris Brown, AIAG Supply Chain Management Program Manager. “Given the technology improvements in tracking containers and strong emphasis on corporate responsibility, we feel the time is right to revisit returnable containers and tackle new projects to take cost and complexity out of the supply chain.”


The timing and strong attendance of these events proves the demand for organizations to seriously consider and evaluate returnable container options, whether they are choosing to purchase, rent or initiate tracking and optimization for currently owned fleets.


Representatives from CAPS, a container rental and management company with over 10 years experience providing returnable container solutions to manufacturers and suppliers, were included among the expert panelists at the events. CAPS provides reusable liquid and dry containers on a rental basis to clients who have temporary or cyclical needs, while offering it’s tracking, cleaning and repair services to those clients who need to optimize their fleet and increase the life of their containers.


To learn more about CAPS visit www.UseCAPS.com. To learn more about the Reusable Packaging Association, join the online group at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1799018. To learn more about AIAG initiatives, visit www.AIAG.org.


About CAPS

Container and Pooling Solutions, a Livonia, MI based supply chain management company, has been offering the complete management, rental and tracking of reusable material handling systems since 1998. CAPS helps its automotive, beverage, food, chemical and cosmetic customers reduce material handling costs while improving supply chain performance and initiating environmental practices. In 2008, CAPS was named one of Food Logistics’ top 100 technology solution providers. For more information, visit www.usecaps.com or call (888) 873-2277.


About RPA

Since 1999, the RPA (formerly RPCC) has been a collaboration of manufacturers, poolers, distributors, retailers and educators gathered to promote the environmental, safety and economic benefits of reusable packaging. The RPA is the collective voice of industry leading knowledge to advance the adoption of reusable packaging by clearly demonstrating supply chain efficiencies, environmental benefits, ergonomic improvements, and cost advantages to end users in all industries. For more information, visit http://www.choosereusables.org or call 202-625-4899.


About AIAG

AIAG is a unique not-for-profit organization where for more than 25 years, OEMs, suppliers, service providers, government and academia have worked collaboratively to drive cost and complexity from the supply chain via global standards development and harmonized business practices. AIAG membership has grown to include preeminent OEMs such as Caterpillar, Chrysler Group LLC, Daimler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Honda, Navistar International, Nissan, Toyota and many of their part suppliers and service providers. For more information, please visit the organization’s Web site at www.aiag.org.


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