There are many different approaches to reusable container management. But for all the nuances and unique challenges to address, all successful container management programs have three components they share – and the importance of getting these core elements right cannot be overstated.

1. Use the right reusable container.
Ensuring the reusable containers being used to move your materials are the correct size – and contain the inventory perfectly – maximizes efficiency. Using the wrong-sized containers can means building loads that waste space. In the event that alternate packaging is the only option, due to shortages brought about by inaccurate records or delayed replenishments, wasting space can drive costs up even further.

2. Get it to the right place.
Sounds obvious, right? Sending containers to their intended destination ensures not only that suppliers get the inventory they need, but that the shipping containers can be reused. Running short on inventory can mean lines down and a significant loss of productivity. Buying replacements for lost or missing containers – or having to bear the cost for lost or missing containers – can also represent a significant investment.

In particular, this is where serialized tracking, like RFID tagging, can become crucial. Increased visibility means you can visualize where your containers and merchandise are, or when they pass through specific chokepoints. You get confirmation of when containers arrive and when they depart – or if containers go missing, where they were the last time they passed a checkpoint.

3. Get it there at the right time.
Shipments arriving late are problematic, but an early arrival brings its own issues. On-site storage space is often limited – and warehousing unneeded containers can get expensive quickly.

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful business can come down to their level of management and their insistence on visibility. Visibility increases ability to plan – having better visibility allows you to be more prepared and make clearer decisions. Good planning saves you time and money – a good plan results in less downtime, less waste, and more efficiency. Decisions that will have a positive impact on your business become much simpler to find.

The right container, to the right place, at the right time.
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