Reusable containers are the durable, environmentally-responsible, and valuable choice for use in your company’s supply chain. However, the benefits these assets bring makes them targets for theft. Unless you’ve invested in expensive technology to track them independently anywhere in the world, simple barcode identification and embedded RFID tags won’t to be enough to keep track of lost containers that have departed the confines of your intended supply chain loop.
Containers can become “lost” after being shipped to a supplier, after which a period of time elapsed in which those containers aren’t needed again. If the supplier cannot afford the extra space to continue storing them, and don’t have enough of your containers to justify building a truckload to send back, simply selling the containers – regardless of any supplier agreement in place – might be a preferable option to renting external storage space.
Alternatively, sometimes reusable containers are sent to locations that cannot send them back; if a delivery of reusable containers arrives at the wrong location, not only will they have no use for the containers, they don’t do business with you, and have no way of getting the containers back to you. These lost containers are often sold, recycled, or simply thrown away – all of which represent a loss of investment for you.
Lastly, even the most secure yards can’t always prevent someone from just loading up their pickup truck with your expensive reusable containers and driving away.
With just a few simple preventative measures, such as serializing your containers and recording their last known locations, lost container issues can be swiftly resolved. To properly manage your reusable containers, you need to know who is responsible for them, and where they are at any given time.