How many times have we heard companies say they like the idea of reusable packaging in principle, but that they just don’t see it working for them? And following from this, how does the reusable packaging sector go about continuing to win conversions given such thinking?
This was one of the themes touched on recently when Reusable Packaging News connected with Albert Seecharan, recently named president of Reusable Packaging Management (RPM) at ORBIS Corporation. Overseeing a business with a big potential upside, Albert is no stranger to new market development, having spent 27 years with McDonalds Corporation, with responsibility that included Operations, Marketing, Real Estate Development and Supply Chain, having worked in and developed new markets in a number of countries including Canada, Venezuela and South Africa. It was a great experience, he reflects, one that he no doubt will draw from as ORBIS RPM expands.
The move from fast food Operations and Supply Chain to reusables was a logical progression for Albert. “I wanted to take a lead in a company that has an entrepreneurial spirit, a focus on new market development, and an enthusiasm and passion around sustainability,” he says.
And while ORBIS is well known as a leader in reusable plastic pallet and container manufacturing, readers might not be as well versed with ORBIS RPM. “ORBIS RPM provides reusable packaging management services, especially in manufacturing assembly and beverage industries, and also delving into retail applications,” Albert explains. “The company operates 20 service centers in the U.S., Mexico and Europe. ORBIS also has a manufacturing plant in China, and has a focus on providing service to key customers as they enter selective new markets.” In terms of products, RPM typically handles reusable packaging such as totes, dunnage, pallets, bulk containers, shipping racks, divider sheets and top frames.”
“Today,” Albert observes, “reusable packaging is increasingly used to move product from A to B to C, sometimes over long distance and entailing multiple stops. Visibility is needed so customers can eliminate stock outs, minimize inventory, and allow them to get the most out of their system.”
He points to packaging pooling, sorting, washing, repair, recycling and replenishment as popular features of ORBIS RPM, along with demand planning and asset tracking. RPM utilizes its proprietary SmartTrak asset management software to provide customers with meaningful data, visibility, and reports. Through asset visibility, RPM can help customers efficiently fill trucks and reduce miles to optimize returns and minimize backhaul costs. This translates not only into cost reduction, but a lighter carbon footprint as companies strive to become more lean and more sustainable.
Albert notes that ORBIS RPM operates a pallet pool for the beverage packaging system – the glass bottle, PET bottle and can side of the business that moves between packaging supplier and beverage filling plant. “It is a pool model based on trips, size of the customer’s pool, allowing for flexibility based on the customers need and with a really good sustainability story,” he adds.
“We are creating long term relationships, value and intimacy so we can really become a full complement of services to our customers,” he explains. “The manufacturing side of the business helps us to engage companies considering reusable packaging. Through RPM we leverage our experience and expertise to help optimize their reusable packaging systems.”
ORBIS RPM can help owners of legacy reusable packaging improve performance by decreasing dwell time and improving transportation
Finally the conversation got around to one of our favorite questions – how to break through that mindset among packaging buyers that reusables won’t work for their particular application. “We have to understand that each supply chain is unique,” Albert begins after a moment of pause. “When one looks at the entire supply chain we know it can be overwhelming, so we simplify it by mapping out the various subsystems for customers and documenting specific opportunities within it.”
“We take this business very seriously,” Albert says in conclusion. “We are committed to our customers’ growth and we see RPM as an integral part of ORBIS’ overall value to customers.”
For our money, reusable packaging management services such as ORBIS RPM are critical in opening new markets for reusable packaging in applications that to this point often have been looked at as impractical for reusables.
If you are one of those companies that likes the idea of reusables but believes that it won’t work for you, why not put that hypothesis to the test? For more information on ORBIS RPM, visit www.orbisrpm.com.