Release Date:
Release ID: 4761

Packaging regulations leading to increase in supply chain stock damage?

British industry has had to comply with a glut of EU-inspired legislation relating to the disposal of packaging since the first Directive on packaging waste was issued and agreed in 1994.

Needless to say, as part of the drive to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill, the last UK Government introduced plenty of new rules of its own - including the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007.

In essence, the Regulations require every UK-based company with an annual turnover of £2million or more that handles over 50 tonnes of packaging each year to recycle or reprocesses the packaging used to contain the finished products they manufacture or sell.

In order to comply with the scheme, companies have sought to cut back on the amount of packaging they use to protect their products and anecdotal evidence suggests that this has led to a sharp increase in the amount of losses from stock that becomes damaged as it travels through the supply chain.

For example, one of Britain’s premier off licence and convenience store chains – Bargain Booze – saw a sharp upturn in breakages and stock damage at its national Distribution Centre following the introduction of the new regulations.

“The new packaging rules led many of our suppliers to cut back on the amount of packaging they use during the transit of their products,” explains Graham Woods, Bargain Booze’s operations manager.

“Pallet loads of bottles and canned drinks are easily broken and if one bottle or can is smashed or split on a pallet the liquid contents spills out and can ruin a significant percentage of the entire load – thereby multiplying the cost.”

Companies like Bargain Booze have been able to reduce the costs that they incur through stock damage caused by inadequate product packaging by fitting a newly developed load protector to the forks of counterbalanced trucks operating at its NDC.

Made in the UK from heavy duty moulded rubber, the Patented protectors fit to the rear face of a forklift truck’s forks and absorb the impact of an incoming load. Quite simply, they provide a cushioned barrier between the load and the back of the forks. As the pallet is picked up, the protector prevents the load from hitting the truck’s forks or the fork carriage with sufficient force to cause damage to the load.

In Bargain Booze’s case, the load protectors have virtually eliminated stock damage within the NDC.

“The load protectors have saved us literally thousands of pounds,” says Graham Woods. “The return on our investment was almost instant. It is a very simple solution, but innovation does not need to be complex and we have not seen anything like the protectors on the market that addresses the problem of palletised load damage so neatly and cost effectively.”

Available in a choice of sizes to fit 4” (105mm), 5” (130mm), 6” (160mm) and 8” (200mm) forks, the protectors – which are manufactured in the UK by Cotswolds-based Jayline Products Ltd – are suitable for use with a wide range of materials handling equipment, including counterbalanced and warehouse trucks and are quickly fitted using a simple yet robust strapping system.

“I think most people would agree that it’s important that we send less waste materials to landfill and, if the Packaging Waste Regulations encourage companies to reduce the amount of packaging they use then, that, on the whole, is a positive thing,” says Peter Kimberley, sales and marketing director of Jayline Products. “However, if the regulations lead businesses to cut back too much on product protection then the inevitable increase in stock damage within the supply chain undermines some of the gains that the regulations bring.”

Peter Kimberley adds: “Furthermore, the cost of damages to goods in transit are usually borne by the haulier or third party storage company, so while manufacturers may be able to save money by reducing the amount of packaging they use, in many cases, the haulier or 3PL is faced with a bill for damages. In industries where margins are notoriously narrow, seems more than a little unreasonable.”
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