Walmart's views on Retail-Ready Packaging
Chet Rutledge, director of packaging for private brands for Walmart Stores Inc., recently participated in a Packaging World webinar that presented Walmart's views on Retail-Ready Packaging, or RRP as it's come to be called. Speaking exclusively with Ben Miyares, president of the Packaging Management Institute, Rutledge outlined some of the achievements made—and some of the challenges still faced—as Walmart works to realize the business benefits of RRP.
An excerpt follows; the full Q&A can be found in the May issue of Packaging World Magazine. (Link below.)
How does Walmart define retail-ready packaging, and what is the business justification for implementing RRP?
RRP is packaging that's fit for purpose throughout the supply chain. That means it must be in keeping with the five easies. Is it easy to open? Is it easy to identify? Is it easy to shop? Easy to stock? Easy disposal? Those are the core elements that have been defined through the IGD network in the UK. We have today a lot of products that I would call essentially "shelf-ready," but in our terms, we refer to that and most of our suppliers will refer to that as a PDQ. So what's the difference between this and the PDQ? Well PDQ is something I could get into fairly easy but it may be today just a perforated box with a knock-out panel. Graphics may not even be in the picture. True RRP, on the other hand, takes graphics into account, harmonizing graphics at that. I've seen some really good work where the transport secondary packaging actually ends up on shelf. The graphics marry up with the primary package for a really nice look and presentation on the shelf. It's much more than just a brown box. Is it easy to stock products? Think about products that are high-volume items, small items that you end up stocking one at a time on the shelf. If you can stock multiple of those items in one motion versus a dozen separate motions, there's speed and efficiency gained in stocking practices.
Key icons are also part of true RRP, a graphic look that makes it easy to find it in the back room. If you've got product that's in the back room and storage that's two or three bays high and somebody's looking for that, it makes it very difficult when it's a sea of the same look, the same item. It's really just looking at it as a whole delivery system that goes throughout the whole process and making it easier for an associate to find, locate, and put the product on the shelf, while also helping the customer find it, recognize it, and purchase it.
That's just the beginning; click to read the entire article.
CTE—a key advance in food traceability
In the May 2011 Packaging World Magazine, Bruce Welt, associate professor and coordinator of the Packaging Science Program at the University of Florida; and Jennifer McEntire, senior staff scientist at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), gave an updated analysis of an IFT report commissioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration titled, "Product Tracing in Food Systems."
The report, released November 2009, introduced the concept of "Critical Tracking Events" to the problem of food traceability, an idea that has gained increasing acceptance. As a result of the legislation passed by the 111th U.S. Congress relative to product tracing, members of the food supply chain—including packaging professionals—have been gearing up to improve their ability to trace food products.
Welt and McEntire explain the critical importance of traceability as well as technologies such as machine vision cameras, RFID and laser marking among other developments. While the authors note that real-time traceability is becoming plausible, thinking in terms of "Critical Tracking Event Analysis" or CTE-Analysis can yield results as well, regardless of hardware and software issues.
As government mandates and market dynamics require greater attention to tracking and tracing, contract packaging professionals would do well to consider the role CTE-Analysis can play.
Read the entire article.