CHICAGO – Her­man Miller Inc. is the win­ner of the Reusable Pack­ag­ing Association’s first annual Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award. The win­ner was announced and the award was pre­sented at PACK EXPO in Chicago. Her­man Miller won the award for using reusable pack­ag­ing for the ship­ping and han­dling of a com­po­nent on a chair assem­bly line, sav­ing the com­pany $46,000 annu­ally in mate­r­ial and labor.

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. We applaud the RPA for its work in edu­cat­ing com­pa­nies about the pos­i­tive impact that well-designed return­able pack­ag­ing can have on peo­ple and prof­itabil­ity as well as the environment.”

We were really pleased with the strength and num­ber of entries for the award. And all the sub­mis­sions will strengthen our grow­ing library of best prac­tices to help edu­cate other com­pa­nies,” said Jerry Wel­come, Pres­i­dent, RPA. “We con­grat­u­late Her­man Miller for win­ning the award, and for its inno­v­a­tive and ben­e­fi­cial use of reusable packaging.”

Her­man Miller’s entry detailed the ben­e­fits gained when the com­pany switched from expend­able pack­ag­ing to a return­able filler with crosslink foam for the ship­ping and han­dling of an office chair com­po­nent. The part is a “Y” shaped plas­tic part called a “spine” that is assem­bled on its SAYL® office chair.

The part was being shipped into Her­man Miller Green­house in cor­ru­gated boxes that would be re-used sev­eral times before being recy­cled. By switch­ing to the reusable solu­tion, the com­pany has gained the fol­low­ing mea­sur­able out­comes:
• Saved 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
• Achieved a com­bined mate­r­ial and labor sav­ing of $46,000
• Elim­i­nated the need for two ware­house skid loca­tions
• Elim­i­nated move­ment of heavy boxes from skid to roller con­veyor by a mate­r­ial han­dler, and elim­i­nated need to cut them open with a knife
• Elim­i­nated han­dling of boxes by part supplier

We always con­sider the role of return­able pack­ag­ing in new prod­uct launches because we under­stand the ben­e­fits of using it,” said Doman. “This project alone elim­i­nated 24,645 pounds of cor­ru­gated per year. It might not sound like a lot, but this is only one case study of one part. There are hun­dreds of other case stud­ies that would have sim­i­lar results at Her­man Miller. We will con­tinue to be stew­ards of the envi­ron­ment for years to come.”

Click here to read the Final Her­man Miller Case Study

About the Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award
The Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award is designed to rec­og­nize com­pa­nies that have devel­oped, sup­ported or imple­mented mea­sur­able and inno­v­a­tive reusable solu­tions in a business-to-business sup­ply chain. The con­test was open to non-members as well as mem­bers of the RPA. Sub­mis­sions were reviewed by an inde­pen­dent com­mit­tee of judges who are not mem­bers of the RPA, and were judged on the quan­tifi­able envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic ben­e­fits achieved by the use of reusable pack­ag­ing solu­tions and ser­vices. The award is sup­ported by the U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA), Reusable Pack­ag­ing Machin­ery Insti­tute (PMMI) and StopWaste.Org.

About the RPA
The Reusable Pack­ag­ing Asso­ci­a­tion is a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort between man­u­fac­tur­ers, pool­ers, dis­trib­u­tors, retail­ers and edu­ca­tors to pro­mote the envi­ron­men­tal, safety, and eco­nomic ben­e­fits of reusable pack­ag­ing. The RPA serves as the col­lec­tive voice of the indus­try and uses its knowl­edge of the mem­bers’ prod­ucts and ser­vices to advance the adop­tion of reusable pack­ag­ing and sys­tems through­out the sup­ply chain. The RPA is focused on pro­mot­ing the expan­sion of reusables as the pre­ferred pack­ag­ing solu­tion across sup­ply chains in all indus­tries. For more infor­ma­tion, visit or call (703) 2248284.

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