Totes and Containers: Solving the puzzle

Don’t take totes and containers for granted. These seemingly simple products are key components in the materials handling process, ensuring a smooth, efficient and safe flow of goods through the entire supply chain.
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Reusable plastic totes and containers in a closed loop systems can provide cost savings as well as environmental benefits.

By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
January 19, 2011 - MMH Editorial

What’s made of plastic, has six sides and is brightly colored? If you said a Rubik’s Cube, you’re both right and wrong. If you said reusable plastic bins, totes and containers, you’re right. Unlike the puzzling toy, bins, totes and containers offer clear solutions.

Available in hundreds of sizes and configurations—and found throughout the supply chain—reusable plastic bins, totes and containers bring many benefits to the materials handling table. From reducing packaging waste, to maximizing product protection, to optimizing inventory management through standardization, returnable boxes generate dramatic cost and efficiency returns. But with so many choices, how do you choose?

Before you answer that question, Joe Borer, marketing manager for Buckhorn (http://www.buckhorninc.com) says you will need to ensure a good closed loop system. “First and foremost, you have to make sure you can get the containers back. If you can’t, you won’t realize the cost savings.”

With your closed loop system in place, you carefully consider which returnable you need. “Ask yourself the proper questions for the proper container recommendation,” says Nathan Franck, new product development manager for Rehrig Pacific. For example: What’s the use temperature range? Is a lid needed? Will the container interact with automation? How long do you need the container to last?

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Totes and containers can yield 7 magnificent gains
Although not new to the materials handling market, reusable plastic totes and containers are growing in use throughout many industries by addressing seven key challenges for users.

 



About the Author

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Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

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.


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