For many businesses, the task of maintaining steady and strong growth in an environmentally sustainable way, while also keeping costs under control, is a great challenge. However, it is a necessary one as consumers are increasingly showing interest in how companies operate their businesses to minimize the impact of the environment.
This is also how CHEP, a global company dealing in pallets, crates, and containers pooling services, sees it. It says that dialogue with its customers has opened the theme of operating sustainably, and as a result, CHEP has launched what they call the Zero Waste World initiative.
Jason Adlam, VP of New Business Development at CHEP USA, says the Zero Waste World initiative is a collaboration between companies. "Zero Waste World is a working collaboration of companies committed to three primary sustainability challenges: eliminating physical waste, eradicating empty transportation miles and reducing process inefficiency," he said.
Jason Adlam, VP of New Business Development at CHEP USA
Bringing companies together
So how does it work? Adlam explained that the network scale of CHEP's parent company Brambles has enabled the initiative by working with large retailers and manufacturers and bringing all these entities together. "This will help solve these challenges and ultimately save them time, money and resources – all while creating value within their supply chains."
He provided an example of how this is achieved with CHEP's collaboration with Illinois-based Frey Farms. "Participating companies, like Frey Farms, will regularly come together virtually and in person to share ideas and examples of how to best address these three areas. In doing so, they will find practical and impactful new ways to collaborate, with the aim of building smarter and more sustainable supply chains."
Pallet storage program with Frey Farms
One of the practical ways in which CHEP's work is made tangible is through its partnership with Frey Farms and the pallet storage program. Tony Phillips (pictured, right), Chief Operating Officer at Frey Farms, discussed the issues the company previously faced before this program was implemented.
"Frey Farms utilizes a rather significant number of CHEP’s reusable pallets throughout each season," Phillips said. "In the past, we would have truckloads of pallets delivered every day, often receiving multiple loads per day in multiple locations. This created some obvious issues, such as the need for multiple trucks onsite during production, as well as the need for multiple forklifts to be running in order to load the product and unload the pallet trucks."
Now however, CHEP supplies empty pallets to Frey Farms in advance of the peak season. In this way, the company doesn't need to worry about ordering pallets during this busy period. Adlam said that Frey Farms stores approximately 50,000 of CHEP's pooled pallets at three of its farms in Florida. He explained, "Having immediate pallet accessibility as needed gives customers like Frey Farms peace of mind, especially as they manage mother nature and uncertain harvest dates. Our pallet storage program allows us to better optimize transportation lanes and provide Frey Farms the solutions they need to deliver the freshest product to their customers."
Both companies see this solution as a way to alleviate pressure during busy periods, while also increasing logistical efficiency along with reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact. As Phillips shared, "With CHEP’s pallet storage program, Frey Farms has eliminated those 'emergency load' situations which might have required empty load trucks and limited the use of forklifts. Frey Farms continues working to be a leader in sustainability within our industry. CHEP’s Zero Waste World initiative is definitely a great step in the right direction in assisting both retailers and suppliers in improving their sustainable programs."
"CHEP’s customer storage program has been a tremendous success and key offering for us. Companies participate in the program to ensure pallet availability and eradicate empty transport miles," added Adlam.
More work to be done
Implementing the Zero Waste World initiative is only one of the steps. CHEP is interested to continue to find ways to make supply chains more efficient and sustainable. Adlam noted that customers are also more interested in this and are engaged in helping to reduce transport miles and carbon emissions. He also said that CHEP can help monitor a company's progress in this regard.
"One challenge our customers often face is tracking their performance and calculating the environmental improvements they have made. This is where CHEP comes in. Bringing these initiatives to life requires access to data which we use to provide insight into how these initiatives are performing. We then provide that information back to our customers to track, analyze and build upon."
"Making widespread, meaningful and sustainable improvements in these areas will have a tremendously positive impact on not only our supply chains, but our global environment as well," he continued. "It is exciting to see the passion our customers have around their commitment to environmental stewardship on this very important journey."
At the PMA Fresh Summit, CHEP will be speaking more about the Zero Waste World program and how customers could stand to benefit from participating. Visitors to PMA will find CHEP at Booth #2715.
Phillips concluded by expressing appreciation that Frey Farms is able to participate in the program along with CHEP and is looking forward to maintaining Frey Farms' strategy to become more sustainable in its own business practices. "Frey Farms is glad to be associated with companies like CHEP that are out there innovating and creating avenues to make our industry smarter, more sustainable and, as with any business, help us increase our opportunities to enhance our profitability margins with creative and responsible business ideas."