Container maximizes warehouse space
January 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial
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.
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.”