Member Spotlight : RPA Interviews Its Vice Chairman, Mike Hachtman


Editor’s Note: RPA is begin­ning a new monthly series of guest inter­views with top indus­try exec­u­tives from RPA mem­ber com­pa­nies to dis­cuss their insights and per­spec­tives on the reusable pack­ag­ing indus­try and the role of RPA in today’s reusable busi­ness.

Mike Hacht­man is Senior Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales and Busi­ness Devel­op­ment at IFCO SYSTEMS N.A., INC. in Hous­ton, TX. He is also RPA’s Vice Chairman.

IFCO pro­vides reusable, recy­cled wood pal­lets and related ser­vices (recy­cling, sort and repair, etc.) as well as reusable plas­tic con­tain­ers (RPCs) and related ser­vices. IFCO’s pal­lets play a crit­i­cal role in mov­ing prod­uct safely and effi­ciently through­out the sup­ply chain, from man­u­fac­turer to retailer. IFCO offers ware­house and logis­tics ser­vices as well, assist­ing retail­ers and dis­trib­u­tors with a vari­ety of pal­let and container-related han­dling ser­vices, includ­ing reverse logis­tics. The company’s RPCs are used through­out the fresh sup­ply chain, pro­tect­ing del­i­cate pro­duce in tran­sit to ensure that higher qual­ity pro­duce reaches stores.

RPA Edi­tor — Describe some of the chal­lenges your com­pany faces in the mar­ket.

Hacht­man — Because reusable pack­ag­ing impacts the entire sup­ply chain, many com­pa­nies view a reusable sys­tem as too com­pli­cated. In real­ity, the cost and pro­duc­tion effi­cien­cies typ­i­cally gained through reusable sys­tems far out­weigh any addi­tional ‘home­work’ required to imple­ment a reusable sys­tem. The process of imple­ment­ing a reusable sys­tem also brings greater vis­i­bil­ity to your sup­ply chain, a ben­e­fit in and of itself. Under­stand­ing this is one of the major chal­lenges com­pa­nies face.

RPA Edi­tor – Describe some of the suc­cesses that IFCO or your cus­tomers have had with imple­ment­ing reusable pack­ag­ing.

Hacht­man — The gro­cery retail indus­try has repeat­edly expe­ri­enced suc­cess­ful reusable pack­ag­ing imple­men­ta­tions. Sev­eral fac­tors con­tribute to this. First, fresh prod­uct is already highly vis­i­ble in the gro­cery sup­ply chain due to shrink and food safety con­cerns. This facil­i­tates the imple­men­ta­tion of reusable pack­ag­ing (namely RPCs) because obsta­cles can be quickly iden­ti­fied and over­come. Sec­ond, the bet­ter prod­uct pro­tec­tion offered by reusable pack­ag­ing is par­tic­u­larly crit­i­cal in fresh pro­duce appli­ca­tions, as pro­duce qual­ity is the top deter­min­ing fac­tor used by con­sumers in select­ing a gro­cery store. Finally, the ease of use and ergonom­ics offered by RPCs (as well as most other reusable pack­ag­ing) is an imme­di­ate ben­e­fit to DC and store employ­ees, reduc­ing much of the ini­tial appre­hen­sion and/or push­back that is so com­mon with new pack­ag­ing sys­tem imple­men­ta­tion.

Continued on Page 2.

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