Subaru of Indiana Automotive saves with reusable packaging program

As a result of the program, the manufacturer has reduced corrugated box usage and lineside space considerably.

By ·

In need of a reliable, reusable packaging program during one of its busiest production seasons, Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) was tasked with reducing finances and implementing sustainable practices along its supply chain. To build a strategy and implement a program that would result in a stronger return on investment and environmental improvements, SIA collaborated with an international manufacturer of reusable packaging and supply chain optimization expert.

SIA, with the help of the reusable packaging manufacturer, set two specific goals for the project: increase usage rate of reusable packaging from 89% to 95%, and reduce any reusable packaging expenditure for the Subaru Outback and Legacy models by 30%.

To start, the reusable packaging manufacturer’s program was used to analyze SIA’s manufacturing processes. It allowed SIA and the manufacturer to pinpoint opportunities for several improvements, cost reductions and sustainable enhancements, resulting in two main action items:

  • Leverage existing reusable containers for 2015 models to avoid investing in new containers, including containers and dunnage.
  • Analyze assembly time—look to other areas of the supply chain, outside of the project scope, to find additional benefits and savings.

These action items gave SIA the insights it needed to implement a program that achieved significant cost, environmental and operational savings. The outcomes not only surpassed the program goals, but also the expectations. After analyzing more than 10% of inbound parts, arriving in corrugated box packaging shipped atop wood pallets, SIA immediately saw a benefit and ROI when switching to plastic totes and pallets. In the end, corrugated box usage was reduced by 153 tons. And, SIA achieved an 83% reduction in lineside space required for each involved part, when changed from bulk bins to handheld totes. This also decreased assembler walking time.

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