Do we need a common system for returnable container management?

August 12, 2014

Automotive car manufacturers and Tier One Supplier’s are facing significant challenges in keeping track of their returnable packaging. Every participant within the supply chain has a high investment, regardless of which party actually owns the containers. Most of the costs are part of the part “piece price” and it is not typically seen as a potential for significant cost savings, but it is a regular discussion point for supply chain optimization experts.

When containers get lost or stolen, there is not only the cost of replacing the container, but also additional costs and interruption to the manufacturing processes when assets are not returned to the right place or within the right time.


The absence of an adequate container management system causes a long list of problems for OEM’s and their tiered suppliers. This lack of supply chain visibility is results in very high loss rates and damages that are difficult to pinpoint and prevent.

Bottom Line:

The capital expense for special packaging is typically very cost-intensive. Most manufacturers do not dedicate the appropriate labor resources and infrastructure to track and manage the containers that they have invested in.


Engaging with a partner to provide a scalable solution for container management can cut costs and bring unmatched supply chain efficiencies. Aggregate or individual container tracking ensure full visibility of container flows and the success of the tracking program can be easily quantified against improved cycle times and reduced loss rates.


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