Reusable packaging materials are extremely valuable for any business – they represent a medium to long term investment and help reduce logistics and operational costs. At Logistic Packaging, we strive to educate our customers on the benefits of using plastic containers, plastic pallets and other reusable packaging materials. We have shared our know-how on how to select the right packaging materials and how to use them properly in various articles in our Knowledge Base section.
However, there is one issue which we have not addressed yet, and it needs addressing: how to make sure you do not lose your batch of reusable packaging materials. It may seem like a common sense issue that such packages have to be returned. But our packaging experts have already seen situations where customers complained that their reusable packaging materials kept getting lost and they had to purchase new ones to replenish their stock.
Reusable Packaging Materials Are a Valuable Investment – So Protect It!
Best practices in tracking your stock of plastic pallets or plastic delivery totes are necessary in every company. Whether you are a distributor selling to retailers or a retailer selling directly to end consumers, you need to make sure that your employees, vendors and customers know that reusable packaging materials represent a valuable asset for your business. Thus, they need to look after them while they have your packages in custody and return them to you in good condition.
To help you create and enforce adequate rules concerning your reusable packaging materials, the team of packaging specialists at Logistic Packaging prepared this list of best practices:
1. Brand Your Reusable Packaging Materials
Plastic containers and plastic pallets can be customized by printing or hot stamping with your business name, logo and contact details. Thus, every client and supplier will know that the packages are valuable enough to be labeled with your brand name and will use all diligence in caring for them and returning them in good condition.
This practice is especially recommended for distribution companies that ship their products overseas. Going from checkpoint to checkpoint, chances are higher that some of your packages may get lost – or stolen. However, a branded batch of reusable packaging materials is quite difficult to be used by someone else and thus present a lower chance of being appropriated.
2. Encourage Your Employees to Be Accountable
Your employees must be just as interested as you as manager to look after the company’s packaging materials. They must understand that the loss of reusable packages is a loss which, in the end, will impact the financial position of the company and their own earnings.
It is important that they apply these best practices consistently and train new hires in doing so. The transfer of knowledge and accountability will keep your entire staff aware of the importance of tracking and recovering packaging materials, even after a significant proportion of your original employees are replaced by others. This is how an ongoing company culture is being built.
3. Offer Incentives for the Safe Return of Reusable Packages
People in all walks of life are more willing to do something if they know that there will be a reward for them. Thus, you can consider creating incentive programs, both for employees and for customers, with adequate rewards for the successful efforts to return all your reusable packaging materials and maintain them in good condition.
4. Maintain an Up to Date Inventory of Your Batch of Packages
You will never know whether you are losing reusable packaging materials or not if you do not have a detailed inventory of them. Some companies are still unaware that reusable packages represent an asset – they need to go in the inventory just like the machinery, office furniture and company cars.
The inventory is also helpful to track your packages – whether they are in the warehouse, on the way to a client loaded with products, or expected to be returned. In turn, this helps you plan your order shipping so that you always have the adequate quantity of packages needed for each order.
5. Consider Charging a Deposit for Reusable Packaging Materials
This deposit should be charged to the customer together with their order, and then credited back to them once you get your packages back. The amount should be small enough to be acceptable by the client, but also significant enough to make it worth the trouble to care for and return your packages.
6. Enforce Care in Handling Packages with Forklift
A manner in which reusable packaging materials are frequently lost is by brute force handling with forklifts, rendering them unusable and too costly to repair. Train your employees to handle packages with care, applying the best practices we detailed in this article.
Logistic Packaging is your one stop shop for reusable packaging materials and specialized advice from experienced logistic consultants. Send us an email or schedule a Skype video call to discuss your project!