Casebook 2011: Packaging manufacturer trades splinters for stability, switches to plastic pallets

Plastic pallets cut costs, increase reliability for customer.

By ·

Automation demands consistent materials handling equipment, a characteristic not often associated with wood pallets. By introducing plastic pallets, one packaging company improved productivity, maximized trailer space, and made life easier for customers and employees.

Huhtamaki, one of the world’s leading packaging companies, produces high-quality plastic food packaging in 13 manufacturing plants throughout North and South America. At its New Vienna, Ohio, plant, Huhtamaki used wood pallets to ship cartons of cups and lids from its facility to its customer in standard 53-foot trailers. The company and its customers were experiencing wood pallet breakage that was causing downtime in automated systems.

Huhtamaki decided to seek a shipping solution that was more hygenic, easier for employees to handle, and more cost efficient on a per-trip basis. After partnering with a customer, the company collaborated on a reusable plastic pallet program for shipments (Orbis Corporation, 888-217-0965, http://www.orbiscorporation.com).

A provider worked with Huhtamaki to analyze the product flow and recommended a stackable 44-inch x 51-inch reusable plastic pallet. The footprint optimized unit loads and maximized space in a standard 53-foot trailer, resulting in more efficient shipments. The stackable design offered the durability and stability required for storage and transportation.

Since implementing reusable plastic pallets, Huhtamaki has eliminated recurring costs associated with wood pallets. It has effectively reduced its pallet cost-per-trip by at least 50%–a figure that will only increase over the service life of the pallet. Other results include less automated system downtime, reduced risk of product damage, reduced waste associated with pallet disposal and repair, and improved product flow.

With dimensional consistency, the new plastic pallet offers repeatable performance for Huhtamaki and its customers.


About the Author

Josh Bond, Contributing Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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!

Article Topics

Casebook 2011 · ORBIS · Packaging · Pallets · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Is Your DC Ready for E-commerce Growth? Here’s How to Handle More SKUs and Inventory Turns
The rise of e-commerce and multi-channel fulfillment has caused distribution centers (DCs) to experience ever-growing numbers of stock-keeping units (SKUs) and more inventory turns, up to an average of nine in 2015.
Download Today!
From the August 2016 Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
5 Emerging Technologies Enabling Competitive Advantage for Distribution
Come hear about the latest in each-picking robotics, co-bots, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, sensors, drones and droids that are enabling competitive advantage for distribution.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...
Destination Maternity: Destination Automation
Running short of space in its old facility, Destination Maternity Corp. built a new, highly...

Hibbett Sports: Faster, Flexible and Efficient
A high-speed conveyor and sortation system at Hibbett Sports’ Alabama distribution center speeds...
Necessity is the mother of invention at Quiet Logistics
Faced with the loss of a robotic pick solution, Quiet Logistics invented its own robots. Are they...