Proper planning is key to ensuring the equipment in your warehouse or DC does what it’s supposed to. But there are other considerations, said Stan Dunton, Buckhorn Inc’s international sales manager.
“When we approach the DC environment some of the tools that we bring to bear are return-on-investment models. You know, if you’re looking at a shipment—let’s say a corrugated box on a wooden pallet with some stretch wrap—there’s the environmental impact of that, there’s the up-front cost of that. If that asset isn’t going to be returned and recovered, well, where does it end up going?”
He said it’s important to consider the costs of disposable versus reusable assets, not just from a pure cost perspective but also on the ROI and environmental fronts.
“Obviously, a plastic pallet’s going to cost more, a plastic shipping container’s going to cost more, but when you offset the longevity of that asset and the price-per-trip continues to go down, at a certain point the packaging is free because it’s paid for itself,” he said. “So we use those ROI models; we use those sustainability scorecards.”
There’s also a growing trend towards customers wanting to know the environmental impact of the supply chain.
“If your customer or your customer’s customer is keeping track of things like that, some low-hanging fruit might be the types of packaging that are being used, and if a substitute material could be used for that packaging. So that’s generally how we approach it,” Dunton added.