CHICAGO – Her­man Miller Inc. was presented the first-ever Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award from the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) at Pack Expo last week.

Herman Miller Wins Reusable Packaging AwardThe Zeeland, MI-based office furniture giant was honored for reusing packaging to ship a chair component, helping the company save $46,000 in material and labor.

Information supplied by Her­man Miller on its entry form details the ben­e­fits gained when it switched from expend­able pack­ag­ing to a return­able filler with cross-link foam for the ship­ping and han­dling of part of a  “Y”-shaped plas­tic part used in the “spine” assembly of its SAYL office chair.

Herman Miller said the part was shipped in cor­ru­gated boxes that were re-used sev­eral times before being recy­cled. Benefits of this reusable solution include:
• Saving 63 min­utes per day in han­dling of the parts; this equates yearly to 266 hours;
• Using 4,300 fewer boxes sav­ing 24,645 pounds of cor­ru­gated per year;
• Achieving a com­bined mate­r­ial and labor sav­ing of $46,000;
• Elim­i­nating the need for two ware­house skid loca­tions;
• Elim­i­nating move­ment of heavy boxes from skid to roller con­veyor by a mate­r­ial han­dler, and elim­i­nated need to cut them open with a knife; and
• Elim­i­nated han­dling of boxes by part supplier.

Her­man Miller has been using return­able pack­ag­ing through­out the com­pany for more than 20 years as a step toward envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity,” said Cindy Doman, pack­ag­ing engi­neer at Her­man Miller. “As we under­stand bet­ter the pos­i­tive finan­cial impact it can also have on our man­u­fac­tur­ing process, we are look­ing for other oppor­tu­ni­ties to use reusable pack­ag­ing."

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