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How the RPC “Pull Through Effect” Creates Supply Chain Efficiencies Upstream

Posted by IFCO Systems
March 23, 2016

For retailers, RPCs provide a number of benefits, including the elimination of nonvalue-added activities in the produce department. But did you know that RPCs at retail also positively impact operations upstream at the distribution center and in transport? This is what we would call “the pull-through effect.” When retailers choose RPCs as a container of choice, there is a pull-through effect that results in a number of supply chain efficiency wins from one end to the other.

Here’s how these gains are felt for each area of the supply chain:

For growers, there is faster cooling, more efficient handling and storage, and a reduction of damaged product delivered to the distribution center. RPCs provide a much sturdier packaging option that is unaffected by time and moisture compared to other packaging alternatives. Ventilation and temperature control ensures the product quality is maintained all the way through to retail.

At the distribution center, fresh produce contained in RPCs provides more efficient storage, safer and more productive order assembly, and greater cube efficiency for retail delivery. The strength of RPCs allows heavy product to be safely stacked on top of lighter product with no risk of product damage. They can be built higher, while requiring less wrap. And because they do not overhang the outside edges of the pallet, this translates into efficiencies of movement, storage and loading. RPCs eliminate the inefficiencies all too familiar in produce order selection at the warehouse level.

In addition to these benefits, according to recent third party research, RPCs can reduce grower costs by 10 percent, warehousing costs by 25 percent, and cost at retail by 51 percent. Overall, the decision to choose RPCs at retail results in a 23 percent cost reduction.

The use of RPCs is a story about how the entire supply chain can benefit from the decision of retailers to endorse a more practical approach to packaging - one that can free store personnel from activities that do not add customer value. And in the case that a shopper is interested, the clerk might now have a few minutes to share that story!

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