Container maximizes warehouse space

American Plastics Group uses new pallet-sized, collapsible containers with an integrated pallet-and-lid system to save storage space and improve efficiency.

By ·

It’s a dog eat dog world in the retail business. So, when American Plastics Group (APG), manufacturer of dry storage containers found in stores like Pet Smart, began to outgrow its warehouses, it looked upward for a solution. 

To quickly fulfill customer orders, APG builds and stores a large number of work-in-process components for future assembly. “We were busting at the seams,” says Scott Metz, chief operating officer. “We were experiencing significant growth, and fortunately that growth has continued. Our space is being utilized faster than ever before, and this has forced us to think differently about our warehouse space.”

The company decided to capitalize on unused vertical storage space by implementing a collapsible container system (Buckhorn).

In the past, APG employees used 40 x 48-inch corrugated boxes on wooden pallets to stack and store product. But the boxes weren’t user friendly, would sometimes break down in the humidity, and weren’t sturdy enough to be stacked very high so floor space was at a premium.

So, APG invested in a new class of reusable pallet-sized, collapsible containers that feature an integrated pallet-and-lid system. With a 48 x 40 x 41-inch footprint and a 1,000-pound capacity, the container has two full-width access side doors and a four-way forklift pallet entry. It weighs about 30% less than traditional plastic bulk boxes so a single operator can assemble and handle the containers. They can be stacked higher than corrugated boxes, and when not in use, fold flat and fit within its own footprint.

After a 45-day trial, APG increased its warehouse space 25% to 30%.

They also used that time to conduct pack-out studies and discovered they could buy fewer containers than corrugate. “Not only were we able to better protect our products, but we found that our pack-out increased by 10%,” says Metz.

APG purchased 350 containers and is on track for payback in less than two years.

“Our goal is to be the most cost-effective plastics container supplier to our customers,” says Metz. “This is a tremendous opportunity that has really given us a leg up in becoming a more efficient and cost-effective manufacturer.”


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Download the full 2016 Modern Materials Handling Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your peers across the material handling industry? Materials Handling salary survey, Warehouse manager salary survey, Warehouse Salary Research
Download Today!
From the November 2016 Issue
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to the line. The result is a more consistent, efficient and safer operation.
Optimizing home delivery: It takes more than planning
9th Annual Salary Survey: Success and Satisfaction Continue to Reign
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Systems Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...

Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...