A forklift driver gingerly navigates a dock plate as the pallet of eggs wobbles. An order picker sets down a cardboard slip sheet to cover some exposed nail heads before placing boxes of eggs on his pallet. A clerk removes egg cartons cautiously to stock them and then returns later to find the shelf littered with opened cartons and broken eggs.
Eggs have long been one of most fragile products in the grocery supply chain. Since the invention of the paper egg carton in 1911, continued efforts have been made to reduce shrink. To this day, however, inadequate packaging combined with conventional material handling practices often results in damage. Such loss can be attributed to the limitations of corrugated packaging as well as the rigors of distribution and retailing, including warehouse order selection, loading, unloading, and stocking. Damage aside, the labor required to empty eggs from containers and stock shelves can be burdensome. As well, consider the nonvalue-added time spent to repack stock, clean up broken eggs, and take cardboard to the baler. RPCs largely eliminate the need for such activities.
Just as RPCs offer savings in the fresh produce supply chain, they can offer savings at every step of the egg supply chain. Given the extreme fragility of eggs, the rugged construction and one touch capabilities of RPCs provide the perfect solution for reducing loss. IFCO RPCs have been found to reduce egg product damage by up to 50 percent. Some of the other benefits of RPCs in the fresh egg supply chain are as follows:
- Superior ventilation of RPCs results in eggs being cooled up to 50 percent more quickly, resulting in longer shelf life
- RPC performance is unaffected by exposure to moisture
- Load weight is supported by the RPCs and not the product in them
- Interlocking design allows RPCs to form more secure pallets of eggs
- Standardized packaging facilitates more efficient pallet movement by equipment and better storage utilization
- Standardized packaging supports the use of automated equipment
- Ergonomic handles promote safe handling and decrease risk of injury
- Inbound pallets can be broken down an average of 30 percent faster than pallets of expendable boxes
- Fewer straps or cornerboards are required to be removed and trashed because of the improved load stability
- Order picking up is up to 50 percent faster. No worries about starting in a particular order because of standardized containers, and easier order building for pickers
- More efficient back room storage
- No need for box cutters
- Dramatically quicker one-touch stocking
- Elimination of nonvalue-added activities such as damaged egg cleanup, repacking, and cardboard baling
From packing operations to the retailer, RPCs boost the efficiency of egg distribution. The one-touch advantage not only increases efficiency but is also important in reducing product damage. Learn more about the one-touch advantage of RPCs across the supply chain here.