Finelite Wins RPA 2nd Annual Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award

Finelite has been named the win­ner of the Reusable Pack­ag­ing Association’s sec­ond annual Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award. The award was pre­sented at PACK EXPO in Las Vegas. The announcement was made during the Reusable Packaging Association reception, held in conjunction with the show. In addition, Finelite presented their award winning case study as part of the Reusable Packaging educational series that took place at the Reusable Packaging Pavilion during PACK EXPO.

Finelite designs and man­u­fac­tures high per­for­mance, envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able light­ing solu­tions and prod­ucts for com­mer­cial, edu­ca­tional, and health­care facil­i­ties. The com­pany makes per­va­sive use of many types of reusables for stor­ing and han­dling parts, and for ship­ping mate­ri­als between its fac­tory in Union City, CA and its strate­gic part­ners in Liv­er­more, CA and China. The reusable solu­tions include tarps, straight-wall stack­able plas­tic crates, plas­tic col­lapsi­ble con­tain­ers, and trays. In addi­tion, rack­ing sys­tems are used through­out its ware­house. All of the company’s reusable prod­ucts have been care­fully designed to reduce waste and sup­port lean man­u­fac­tur­ing. Finelite pro­duces more than 25 prod­uct lines, and the longest light fix­ture is 144 in. x 12 in. x 4 in. and weighs 18 pounds. By using reusables, Finelite has achieved the fol­low­ing results:

Annual cost savings:

  • 53% ($9,100) cost sav­ings by replac­ing shrink-wrap with reusable tarps
  • 40% ($8,400) mate­r­ial cost sav­ings and 130 hours of labor by replac­ing cor­ru­gated boxes with reusable/collapsible bulk con­tain­ers and straight-wall crates.
  • $10,800 cost sav­ings in LED pack­ag­ing mate­r­ial (bub­ble wrap and anti-static wrap) and 350 hours of labor saved by elim­i­nat­ing un-wrapping the pack­ag­ing material.

Annual envi­ron­men­tal savings:

  • Elim­i­nated 436 miles/6,000 pounds of plas­tic shrink-wrap
  • Elim­i­nated 14,700 pounds of cor­ru­gated cartons
  • Elim­i­nated 4,200 pounds of bub­ble wrap

Ongo­ing benefits:

  • Both the con­tain­ers and crates are stack­able, allow­ing ver­ti­cal stor­age of mate­r­ial and free­ing up valu­able real estate.
  • The vol­ume of each straight wall crate is used to its entirety and enables 20% more mate­r­ial to be pack­aged when com­pared to the pre­vi­ous cor­ru­gated box packaging.
  • Crates are eas­ily fed into the assem­bly lines for oper­a­tors to con­sume. Oper­a­tors can work with the mate­r­ial from their own crate supply.
  • Capac­ity for mate­ri­als in the col­lapsi­ble con­tain­ers is 10% more than cor­ru­gated boxes.
  • Empty con­tain­ers are col­lapsed, allow­ing for effi­cient storage.

“We use reusables because they deliver cost sav­ings in mate­ri­als and labor. In our expe­ri­ence, we break even on our ini­tial invest­ment of reusable sys­tems within 2 years, and then the sav­ings con­tinue to accrue long after that,” said Ana Koo, indus­trial engi­neer, Finelite, Inc. “In con­trast, dis­pos­able pack­ag­ing mate­ri­als have a short life span and rep­re­sent an ongo­ing expense. We are hon­ored to be rec­og­nized for our efforts, and we applaud the RPA for cre­at­ing this award pro­gram to bring more atten­tion to the value of reusables.”

Finelite’s first reusable ini­tia­tive replaced pal­lets and shrink wrap with stack­able racks through­out Finelite’s fac­tory and at two strategic-partner facil­i­ties in Liv­er­more, CA. The light fix­ture com­po­nents are man­u­fac­tured in Liv­er­more, and pack­aged into the racks. The racks are then trans­ported to the paint sup­plier (also in Liv­er­more). After paint­ing, the com­po­nents are re-packaged into the same racks, and shipped to Finelite for final assem­bly. The racks are trans­ferred into Finelite’s inven­tory sys­tem. As inven­tory is used up, racks become avail­able and they are back­hauled, empty, to Liv­er­more, ready for the next cycle.

“Finelite is a great exam­ple of a com­pany that rec­og­nizes the hard sav­ings enabled by reusables, and con­tin­u­ally looks for new appli­ca­tions within its man­u­fac­tur­ing and assem­bly areas,” said Robert Engle, Chair­man of the RPA Board and CEO of Otto Envi­ron­men­tal Sys­tems North Amer­ica. “They also demon­strate the inno­va­tion of reusable sup­pli­ers. No mat­ter what the size, com­plex­ity, or mate­r­ial of the prod­uct being han­dled, reusable sup­pli­ers can develop right-fit reusable sys­tems that pro­tect prod­ucts, enable effi­cien­cies in mate­r­ial han­dling, and deliver cost savings.”

About the RPA Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award

The RPA annual Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award rec­og­nizes com­pa­nies that have devel­oped, sup­ported, or imple­mented mea­sur­able and inno­v­a­tive reusable solu­tions in a business-to-business sup­ply chain. Non-members as well as mem­bers of the RPA are encour­aged to enter. Sub­mis­sions are reviewed by an inde­pen­dent com­mit­tee of judges who are not mem­bers of the RPA. The call for nom­i­na­tions for the 2014 award will be posted on the RPA web­site in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2014. The win­ner will be announced at PACK EXPO Chicago 2014.

Source: www.reusables.org.

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