In this instance the culprit was expanded polystyrene peanuts. Used as dunnage inside corrugated shipping cases containing software the peanuts "were flying all over our plant creating quite a mess" says Alex Adamovich director of distribution and operations for the Value Products Div. of New York-based GT Interactive Software. "We ship about 1 packages a day to fulfill orders from retail stores in the U.S. Canada Japan and Europe" he asserts. These include such popular software titles as "Mortal Combat" "Duke Nukem" and "Window Works." Orders tend to be small numbering between 25 and 50 titles. These specialty orders put the emphasis on dunnage flexibility to ensure damage-free shipments. "We used compressors to blow peanuts into boxes and we were running about three shifts a day" he explains. "We were spending nearly five hours a day cleaning up peanuts in the plant. And once they mix with dirt from anywhere in the plant we couldn't use them any more." Besides the labor costs the peanuts caused downtime within the plant's distribution area. "Loose peanuts were flying around and clogging up conveyors and case sealing equipment in distribution" says Adamovich. "Production was actually halted a few times because of jammed machinery. And since peanuts were also slippery they created a safety concern." Two additional problems with EPS peanuts he adds had to do with the storage space needed to contain them and occasional product damage traceable to product shifting inside the case during distribution and handling. Clearly an alternative form of dunnage was necessary.