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Chep races away with green solution

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CHEP Asia-Pacific received the Environmental Excellence in Logistics and Supply Chain Award at the National Logistics and Supply Chain Awards in recognition of its development of returnable packaging associated with the production of GM Holden ’s HFV6 engine.

CHEP’s program manager Brett Rennick, said the award recognised the wide-reaching environmental and economic benefits associated with the use of returnable plastic containers.

“This was very much a joint venture project with Holden, from concept to delivery, and the credit needs to be shared equally with our partners,” Rennick said.

“In working closely with Holden, we set out to develop a packaging solution that not only met the project’s environmental and operational objectives, but also added value at every step in the supply chain.”

“We believe we have achieved this with our returnable plastic containers. They are very cost-effective, provide superior product protection and storage capacity, simplify handling and transport and improve occupational health and safety.”

“Overall, returnable plastic containers are an environmentally sustainable and economically attractive solution for a broad range of logistics applications.”

The HFV6 is assembled in Melbourne and is the global V6 engine for General Motors Corporation.

Cost efficient and effective movement of inbound engine components is crucial to the success of the project and minimisation of environmental impact and waste is a high priority.

The packaging designed and developed by CHEP for the HFV6 engine inlet and exhaust valves demonstrates that returnable plastic containers have major advantages over one-trip packaging systems used elsewhere in the automotive industry.

For example, the valve packs were specifically designed to double the yield of parts, compared to one-trip disposable packaging.

The packs have the durability to travel thousands of kilometres by sea, keeping components dry and rust free. Increased space efficiency means fewer trips are necessary while the smart pack design also provides transport cost reductions due to container cubic efficiency and nesting of empty packs for reverse logistics.

Labour costs are also reduced because “double handling” is eliminated through a ‘One Touch’ supply chain operation. The injection-moulded and thermoformed packs provide dimensional accuracy for robot loading by the vendor, after which they are handled only once, by the line assembly operator in Melbourne.

Key environmental benefits of the CHEP packaging include:

· removal of up to 3,575 tonnes of cardboard and waste from the supply chain each year;

· elimination of reject parts, cardboard dust and washing operations at assembly plant prior to part end use;

· less use of resources for manufacturing paperboard containers and one-trip pallets; and

· modules that can be fully reground and used in the manufacture of next generation part packs.

Continuing pressure to eliminate waste from the supply chain is driving many industries to convert from cardboard and other disposable packaging materials to returnable plastic containers. This benefits the environment by promoting a sustainable culture of Reduce – Reuse – Recycle.

In addition to its work in the automotive industry, CHEP has also developed returnable plastic container solutions for the fast moving consumer goods (“FMCG”) market.

These include Beverage Trays and Fresh Produce cases, which enhance product quality and facilitate ‘one-touch’ merchandising by providing a display-ready package, significantly reducing labour requirements at retail store level.

Two other CHEP customers - Australian Bakels and Red Gem Growers & Packers - were also finalists in the 2005 National Logistics and Supply Chain Awards.

Specialist baking industry supplier Australian Bakels was a finalist in the Manufacturing Logistics Award, having achieved reductions in manual labour, waste, capital equipment cost and enhanced productivity at its Sydney plant.

The gains were a result of partnering with CHEP to make effective and innovative use of the CHEPBox – a container already being used in more and more conventional applications throughout Australia’s food processing industry.

Based at Nar Nar Goon in Victoria’s Gippsland, Red Gem Growers & Packers, a specialist supplier of onions and potatoes to Australia’s largest grocery chains, was a finalist in the Transport Logistics Award.

A switch to CHEP foldable plastic bins has reduced transport and storage costs for Red Gem and its suppliers, as well as improving the quality of the produce it delivers.

Nearly 50% of Red Gem’s suppliers have switched over to the innovative CHEP foldable bin in just 12 months. For a number of suppliers this has resulted in reduced freight costs, storage and handling efficiency improvements and occupational health and safety benefits.

CHEP Asia-Pacific is part of the worldwide CHEP organisation, operating in 42 countries and with more than 218 million pallets and 47 million returnable plastic containers in circulation.

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