Returnable plastic containers are not a one-size-fits-all solution for all businesses. Using stack nest containers 180 offers a different handling and shipping experience than using EURO containers or large rigid containers. This is the most important aspect we want you to remember and we will showcase it with this case study. Our client is a major agribusiness, producing and delivering fresh tomatoes to supermarkets across the country. Since tomatoes are among the most popular vegetables, used in all types of cuisines, the client was under constant pressure to deliver quickly and ever increasing quantities.
To keep up with the market demand, they were using deep plastic containers. However, for fear of damaging the delicate tomatoes, these shipping crates were never filled to the top. With the current increase in fuel prices, the agribusiness saw its shipping costs soaring. Yet, they could not increase the sale price of their fresh produce too much, as they would lose market share to their competitors.
Logistic Packaging Specialists Analyze the Client’s Business Model
The most important problem our packaging and logistics specialists noticed was the lack of optimization in packaging at critical steps of the supply chain. The freshly harvested tomatoes were placed directly into the shipping crates. These are professional packaging solution, but they are not a good fit for the type of products the client has to pack and ship.
The crates did not have ergonomic handles to help workers lift and stack them into the truck. They did not have special features to protect fresh tomatoes, such as vented sides and smooth inner walls. Also, the stacking method meant that only about 80% of the available container space was filled with tomatoes.
Creating a Plan for Tomatoes Shipping Optimization
Our experts realized that the client needed a two-step packing process in order to optimize shipping costs, speed up deliveries and protect the sensitive fresh produce from damage. Farm workers should be able to fill up and handle containers with ease. At the same time, truck space must be used to the maximum capacity.
The solution we came up with was replacing the deep containers the agribusiness currently used with shallow stack nest containers 180 and plastic pallets.
How Stack Nest Containers 180 and Plastic Pallets Work Together
Stack next containers with perforated bottom and sides and smooth inner walls are especially created for packing and shipping fresh produce, even the most sensitive ones, such as lettuce, grapes, peaches and tomatoes.
The model of stack nest containers 180 we recommended is, in our opinion, the best packaging solution for the client’s business model. The key features that answered the client’s needs are:
- A smart stacking method, preventing the damage of products loaded in the containers
- When empty, the containers can be nested, reducing their total volume by 75%, simply by turning them at 180 degrees
- The containers have open handles on all four sides
- The containers have a standard footprint, compatible with EURO pallets.
We also recommended standard closed deck EURO plastic pallets to help create stable stacks of containers and optimize the use of truck space. Pallets represent the most efficient and cost effective solution for optimizing shipping costs, without compromising product safety. Modern pallets are designed for handling by automated loading and unloading machines and other logistic equipment.
At the same time, placing the containers on the pallets improves the hygiene, as the bottom layer of tomatoes is no longer exposed directly to the truck floor.
The Client’s Feedback after Implementation
The agribusiness agreed to the Logistic Packaging experts’ solution. They phased out the older packaging materials and implemented the stack nest containers 180 and closed deck plastic pallets. Our team supported the client throughout the implementation process and remained available for any post-sale assistance.
We reached out to the client for feedback several months after replacing their returnable packaging materials. The client reported a positive response from all the departments and teams involved in harvesting, packing and shipping the tomatoes.
Farm workers reported that they are able to fill the crates faster and load them with less effort. The financial department reported a decrease in the costs per shipment, as they needed less trailer space for the same quantity of tomatoes. Finally, their end customers reported a faster and more efficient unloading process and a reduced quantity of spoiled produce.
At Logistic Packaging, we have the know-how to recommend the most adequate returnable packaging solution for your business needs. Send us an email and let us start discussing your packaging application!