NEW ZEALAND PRODUCE AND MANUFACTURING COMBINE IN ALL-IN-ONE EXPORT PACKAGE
Viscount Plastics NZ and New Zealand Kiwifruit growers are together contributing to the world's highest penetration into a supermarket chain of environmentally responsible foldable Returnable Plastic Crates (RPC's).
Mid-2005 saw Australia's retail giant Coles Myer launch the rollout of a 'one touch' grower-to-consumer supply chain based on the Viscount Plastics foldable RPC’s. Most of the 300 fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers currently using the RPC’s show their support for 'one touch' handling by picking and packing directly into the crates that are then transported directly to Coles Myer supermarkets and onto shelves. By Christmas this year, 95 percent of produce suppliers to Coles Myer will have converted to RPC’s.
Significantly, the rollout demonstrates Coles Myers’ support of environmental initiatives by removing 60 million units of ‘one-way’ packaging annually from the supply chain. Of these 60 million units, a percentage was recyclable cardboard, but the remainder was Waxed Cardboard and Styrofoam that went directly to landfill.
Buoyed by the very positive response from suppliers and retail customers, Coles Myer displayed the same innovative spirit by approaching Viscount Plastics New Zealand and the NZ Kiwifruit Growers Co-operative Satara with a unique business proposal.
This was for Viscount Plastics NZ to borrow their Australian sister company's die to mould the foldable RPC’s for despatch to a number of growers, including Satara in Te Puke. The crates would be packed with kiwifruit and shipped to the point of sale at Coles Myer supermarkets in Australia. When empty, the ‘Made in New Zealand’ foldable RCP’s would be added to the Coles Myer crate pool.
Exporting Kiwifruit in RPC’s directly to Coles Myers’ supermarket shelves has many benefits over traditional one-way packaging methods. For consumers it is the improved quality gained as a result of eliminating handling damage caused by repackaging and stacking on shelves. And as Satara’s Market Services Manager, Lon Wheeler, reports, at the supplier end RPC’s have achieved major reductions in storage requirements.
“When a pallet of one thousand cardboard container flats are assembled they stack 50 to a pallet adding up to 20 pallets that must be stored until the cartons are needed on packing lines. On the other hand, delivered 160 to the pallet, an equivalent number of folded flat Viscount Plastics RPC’s reduce storage to just six pallets. These crates then go onto the lines still folded flat. It takes packers only about three seconds to unfold and clip them together.”
Reviewing the project three months after introduction, all parties involved agree the result is a triumph for innovation all the way along the supply chain.