In most industrial shipping department budgets, packaging materials are typically considered expense items. They are used and abused, damaged and discarded, and left to become nearly one-third of the total corporate solid waste stream – with transport packaging alone making up nearly half of that waste. While switching to reusable containers is a step in the right direction, doing so requires a change in attitude towards their use and their management. Reusables are no longer simply expense items: they are long-term corporate assets. Reusables represent an investment in the future.
To properly manage your reusables as corporate assets requires an increase in visibility throughout the supply chain. Doing this gives managers the data needed to reduce transportation and production problems throughout their enterprise. Depending on the technology you deploy, the data captured can reflect container arrival at and departure from supply chain stops, how long they have been dwelling unused in storage, and define the locations where containers that have gone missing were last seen.
This collection of container movement data enables managers to answer three key questions for the most efficient container management program:
How many containers are needed?
Increased visibility can collect precise container demand metrics, across all locations in your supply chain, based on historical data and updated requirement notices.
Where are your containers?
The data trail helps you track location changes and current container status, enabled by serialized container identification. Knowing the current and future situation throughout your supply chain helps keep all relevant partners in your supply chain informed, enabling better planning.
How many containers are available?
Information provided by inventory management and demand calculations helps improve the shipment of empty containers to locations with a demand for them, and more precisely cubed trailers can be built knowing what is ready to ship and where it’s going, for greater efficiency in logistics.
Capturing reusable container usage and movement data, consistently and intelligently, will enable you to make smarter decisions that will impact your organization for the better. Visibility increases ability to plan, and good planning results in less downtime, less waste, and more efficiency.