Standardize to Save

Standardization key to savings

Circular Supply Chains Inc. (CSCI) was established to create a common pooling system for the food industry to start with, wherein all fresh produce, meat and poultry, and cheese and dairy are delivered in a standardized reusable crate within a standardized reusable module to every grocery retail outlet. The first modules will be built as racks capable of carrying multiple reusable crates of varying depths. The use of reusables in the supply chain is increasing rapidly around the world however, there is not a common standard and every business area or manufacturer runs a different system.

All major retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers/producers should be involved in the development of the technology and methodology of the Cargo Carousel System. The system will consist of six different standard-sized plastic crates at most. Each crate will be display ready to exchange with empty crates. CSCI will deliver clean reusables to the food producers who will fill them with product and transport them to the wholesaler. The wholesaler will then deliver their product packed in the reusable crates to retail outlets. The wholesaler will take empty reusable crates back with them at each delivery and return them to CSCI. The crates will be washed and quality checked after each loop before being placed back into the supply chain. Each of the modules are equipped with RFID tags allowing full traceability throughout the supply chain. The standard sizes enable food manufacturers and distributors and CSCI to use more automated equipment like conveyors in their processes, adding to the efficiencies and savings in labor. The standardization also makes it possible to leverage new opportunities, like traceability and sensor technologies.

Every supplier and retailer will pay the same fee for the reusable crates no matter the size of their company. Additionally, the cost of delivery will be the same and will be included in the fee no matter where they are located. Companies will pay a deposit on each crate they use. The reusable crates should be used at least 200 times and have a lifetime of 10 to 15 years. The crates and modules will consist of pure materials to enable easy recycling after end of life, creating a closed material circuit.

The standardization of crates and modules for the entire industry will let everyone achieve greater economies of scale. The costs of the system as a whole will be kept at a very low level. The fee that customers pay will be up to 25 percent less than the cost of equivalent disposable one way packaging.

The reusable crates while within the modules will also offer better product protection and should have a significant reduction in damage to goods. Less labor and less waste will improve the work environment and the reusable crates and modules will provide more efficient handling and better working conditions for employees.

The modules will have the same load capacity as wooden pallets, but should weigh less, making it easier for employees to pick up and handle. The weight savings will also mean less weight is transported in the trucks, adding to fuel efficiency.

The crates will have ergonomic handles that make them easier to lift and handle, and they won’t collapse from wet conditions. The reusable crates will go directly on display, saving staff labor. And there is no cardboard to break down and dispose. The reusables will be easier for employees to handle than alternative packaging systems. This means it will be easier to train people in the skills needed to use the plastic systems, so it will be easier to provide employment opportunities as well. Learn more…