PLASTIC CRATES THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD
Week in, week out the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest and most sophisticated bakery distributes 2.5 million loaves, rolls, crumpets, pikelets and hot cakes throughout Sydney in a crate first produced by Viscount Plastics in the late 1980’s.
The recently commissioned Top Top® Sydney Bakery is a 24 hour a day, seven days a week operation servicing 28,000 customers catering to the appetites of four million Sydneysiders.
On both sides of the Tasman, Tip Top operations have followed similar timelines in making the switch from wire mesh to returnable plastic bread crates. Prone to rusting, a wire mesh crate nearing the end of its service life also had a tendency to expose handlers to razor sharp breakages. Health and safety issues aside, Tip Top in Australia and New Zealand recognised the plastic bread crate for what it was --- a quantum leap forward. Management could foresee in this one crate wide ranging economic, operational, logistics and packaging benefits.
Since the late 1980’s, the Viscount Plastics returnable plastic bread crate has, among other benefits, delivered Tip Top space-optimising nesting and stacking during transportation and storage, compatibility with latest conveyor systems, easy adaptability to automated bread production and packaging, strong brand awareness achieved through company-specific colours at retail and exceptional durability.
Although looking much the same as it did over 25 years ago, the current crate supplied by Viscount Plastics to Tip Top throughout Australasia has nevertheless evolved to improve still further its efficiency in important areas of design. For instance, Paul Esplin, Tip Top’s National General Manager for Technical Operations, enthuses about the design’s ability to maximize the cubic carrying capacity of trucks. With the Sydney Bakery’s two bread plants generating 1000 trucking movements a week, freight carry efficiency represents a major cost saving.
Paul Esplin also refers to the plastic bread crate as designed for a bakery where almost every operation is automated.
“The Sydney Bakery was an enormous project and one which benefited from the long established sole supplier relationship we have with Viscount Plastics.” explained Mr Esplin. “They were very much part of the team working alongside to us ensure the crates would contribute to the new bakery achieving 20,000 units per hour and a total output of 2.5 million per week.
“Yes, I guess for Tip Top in Australia and New Zealand the Viscount Plastics returnable plastic crate has been the best thing since sliced bread.”