RPA: Four steps to managing and tracking reusable assets

If you're not tracking and managing your reusable assets, someone else is likely benefitting from your investment.

June 06, 2012 - MMH Editorial

At any given time, a manufacturer can likely tell you the quantity of bulk items available for processing, and a distributor can tell you the number of trucks it has on the road and the number in for repairs. However not every company can tell you how many reusable assets, including pallets and containers, they have out at retail stores, in the warehouse or waiting for repairs.

These reusables are recorded on a company’s books as assets, yet often they are not tracked and managed the same as other assets because historically packaging is often treated as an expendable commodity.

If you’re not tracking and managing your reusable assets, someone else is likely benefitting from your investment. There is a strong secondary market for reusable containers, with resellers and regrinders capitalizing on companies that do not properly monitor their reusable assets.

Implementing an effective system to track and manage your assets requires four steps:

·      Understand the issues
·      Understand the available asset management systems
·      Develop the processes & KPIs necessary to create actionable and enforceable data
·      Obtain stakeholder alignment, educate the supply chain and implement a discipline to ensure compliance

Since 1999, the RPA (for­merly the RPCC) has been a col­lab­o­ra­tion between sup­ply chain part­ners to pro­mote the envi­ron­men­tal, safety, and eco­nomic ben­e­fits of reusable pack­ag­ing. It is a trade asso­ci­a­tion of lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, pool­ers, dis­trib­u­tors, retail­ers, edu­ca­tors, and oth­ers with a com­mit­ment to reusable pack­ag­ing sys­tems and the mes­sage of re-use.

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