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Returnable plastic packaging solutions are the driving force behind supply chain stability

Retailers are now looking beyond just the box for transporting goods and are increasingly turning to plastic returnable transit packaging (RTP) which provides value for money, supply chain efficiency and helps reduce the amount of waste.

There are commercial and environmental pressures to cut packaging waste in the grocery supply chain for example Courtauld Commitment 2 targets a 10% reduction of the carbon impact of grocery packaging, many retailers see plastic RTP as the answer because it is a cost-effective, greener alternative to single-trip products, such as cardboard.

Plastic crates, trays and pallets are specifically designed for numerous trips over an extended life. They can be rented or purchased, offer a rapid return on investment and a lower cost-per-journey than other packaging materials. This flexibility of supply and commercial advantage is particularly relevant for transporting seasonal goods.

Peak periods such as Christmas and the summer months sees a spike in demand for food items such as meat and fresh produce. Renting is a cost-effective solution to access the thousands of extra crates needed which can then be returned to the supplier when things get back to normal, saving companies hundreds of thousands of pounds in storage space and capital outlay.

PHS Teacrate, part of the PHS Group, is a leading RTP specialist in the UK and supplies more than 25 million crates every year for rent or purchase to non-food and food sectors, including fresh produce, baked products, dairy, meat and poultry. It deals with several of the major supermarket chains who are insisting on much more versatility from their transit packaging.

This is fuelling the switch to retail ready packaging (RRP) to boost marketing opportunities and improve in-house logistics, with plastic expected to account for a quarter of the total demand for RRP by 2016, according to figures from PIRA.

Today’s store managers want packaging that can go straight on the shelf with the minimum of fuss, typically in less than 20 seconds. Maintaining footfall to the check-outs is essential for retailers and nothing slows this process down more than empty shelves. Improving in-store efficiency and helping shelf stackers replace goods as quickly as possible is to be welcomed.

PHS Teacrate’s National Sales Manager, Patrick Sheehy, said: "Reliable and quick delivery of crates is vital. We work with many retailers and provide a consultative service to achieve the best packaging solutions for individual needs, whether its suitable rental terms for seasonal fluctuations, branded crates, crate pooling or wash services. It’s all about meeting customers’ expectations.

"We have made significant investments to meet demands for greater access to and choice of products. We offer a large range of styles, flexible purchase and rental agreements with a quick turnaround. Services such as these are what retailers are looking for when sourcing their crates."

Enabling supply chain stability was one of the key factors behind PHS Teacrate’s recent decision to invest in the tooling for Rehrig Pacific UK’s plastic trays and crates. This enterprising move will significantly expand its already extensive product portfolio and for the first time, RTP users will be able to get Teacrate and Rehrig crates from one single source.

PHS Teacrate’s Commercial Director, Gordon Philip, believes the company’s purchase of the tooling from Rehrig bolsters security of supply, as it also plans to make the crates available to competitors to ensure no breakdowns in the logistics chain.

He said: "We can provide retailers with even greater supply chain efficiencies by allowing them to source all their RTP requirements from one single supplier. In the past there have also been some difficulties in obtaining supplies of some Rehrig crates but with PHS Teacrate acquiring the tooling to make the crates, these problems will be eased. We will continue to invest in tooling to ensure quality of our product is maintained at the highest level."

This is just one of a series of multi-million pound investments by PHS Teacrate to consolidate its position in the packaging industry as a leading RTP specialist, offering retailers a one-stop shop for a huge variety of plastic crates and trays and value-added services.

PHS Teacrate has most recently opened a depot in Bristol to serve the South West and Wales, introduced environmentally friendlier vehicles offering reduced haulage costs and built a new online presence for greater access to products. The ambitious company’s modern national fleet now operates out of eight depots encompassing London, Sunderland, Livingston, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester – giving fast and reliable delivery of plastic crates and trays to anywhere in the country.

Proud of having its products manufactured in the UK, PHS Teacrate supplies crates, trays, pallets and plastic containers in a variety of dimensions including attached lid containers, patisserie and bread trays, produce boxes, hygiene pallets and nestable bale arm trays that are compatible with retailers’ existing trays.

Parent company PHS Group is a leading workplace services provider and has traded in the UK since 1963. It has 10 operating companies and a diverse portfolio of services aimed at improving work and leisure spaces, while making life much easier for facilities, building and people managers.

It employs around 5,000 personnel, operates from a network of over 90 regional service branches, and takes care of over 250,000 customers at over 300,000 locations throughout the UK, Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Spain.

Patrick Sheehy
National Sales Manager
PHS Teacrate
151 Scrubs Lane
NW10 6RH
Telephone: 020 8282 0000
Fax: 0870 130 2019
Email: patricks@teacrate.com

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