Automotive on the Move with Reusables

This article originally appeared in 2017.

When it comes to reusable packaging and innovation, the automotive supply chain has rarely been far from the forefront. Here is our take on the latest highlights for reusable packaging and pallets in automotive and industrial applications. Trends such as global supply chains, pooling, more lightweight, sensitive parts, flatter walls and better return ratios are all part of the conversation.

Trends Impacting IBC Design and Pooling

In the automotive arena, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are looking more holistically at the supply chain when making packaging decisions.  Historically, these were skewed toward line-side presentation optimization and the lowest cost of packaging.  With extended supply chains, OEMs are taking a wider view to include logistics impacts like cube optimization of trailers to ensure the lowest total cost of ownership when evaluating packaging choices. Read more.

CHEP & Eberspächer win the Automotive Global Innovation Award

With automotive supply chains stretching globally, the economics of reusable packaging can become strained. One obvious answer is pooling.

Last November, logistics solution provider CHEP and automotive supplier Eberspächer received the prestigious award for Product Innovation at the fifth Automotive Global Awards for supply chain. Voted for by senior industry peers, CHEP and Eberspächer accepted the award for the development of a new, efficient packaging solution designed to significantly optimize Eberspächer’s intercontinental supply chain.

The solution uses CHEP’s IcoQube™ platform, a reusable foldable plastic sleeve-pack container specially engineered for intercontinental sea freight flows. This solution replaces disposable packaging to eliminate waste, improve transport efficiency, minimize contamination and enhance product protection while reducing cost and the impact on the environment. Read more.

Big data, pool management heroics, and automotive packaging: what’s next?

Do trends such as Big Data and Industry 4.0 provide the perfect opportunity for sensor-equipped reusables to deliver powerful value to automotive? Check out comments by Surgere’s William Wappler as well as from Bridget Grewal of Magna. Read more.

Automotive Suppliers and OEMs Encouraged to Post Their Lost and Found Reusables

The AIAG wants to get the word out to Tier suppliers and OEMs that it has built a new website for reuniting lost reusable containers with their owners. For it to be effective, participants need to upload information about stray reusable automotive packaging they have accumulated. The goal of the program is to help participants find their lost RTIs through a robust, easy-to-use information-sharing system that will speed up the search process. As a result, members will save time and money.

The new tool, known as the AIAG RTI Portal, benefits members by reconnecting them with their reusable packaging. The program will also help participants reclaim lost warehouse space, as well as provide them with useful data about container leakage points. Click to read more.

Automotive Case Study: RFID Helps Supplier Avoid $425,000 in Expendable Packaging and Reduce Pool by 40 Percent

Readers configured to determine the direction of travel into or out of a zone.

The automotive supplier had a pool of about 250,000 totes, which it supplemented with expendable packaging when it did not have reusables available. It spent an average of $450,000 annually for the single-use containers. While the customer would reimburse the cost of expendable packaging if the supplier could prove that the shortage of reusables was the fault of the customer, this in practice was tough to do. The supplier did not have confidence in its data. Due to the labor-intensive requirement of counting returned empty packaging, estimates were made (“I think there are 200 on that pallet.” ) To complicate the issue, many totes looked similar or the same from the outside, but with different dunnage. Read more.


Buckhorn® launches new line of automotive products

Buckhorn Inc., a leading provider of reusable plastic packaging and material handling systems, launched a new line of automotive products at th2 Modex 2016 Show.

Redesigned with the latest molding and tooling technology, Buckhorn’s new state-of-the-art, straight wall hand-held containers are lighter, super robust and more ergonomic. And they come with first-rate Buckhorn quality, excellent service, and shorter lead times – all at a competitive price.  Ideal for closed loop shipping, in-process handling, and storage, the new straight wall stack-only modular containers deliver cost savings and efficiency throughout the supply chain. Read more.


What does the future hold for reusables in the automotive supply chain? Customers increasingly expect providers to see the forest and the trees – delivering broader supply chain efficiency while checking all the boxes in terms of line side automation and ergonomics, pack density, part protection, cost containment and more. Look for continued product innovation and service excellence as operators and providers collaborate in taking automotive to the next level.