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.
The 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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