Where packaging meets logistics, Nordic style

Edited copies of presentations at a Danish symposium are bound into a 106-page volume that largely examines transit packaging and how it fits into a company’s logistics plan.

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A short, scholarly volume delivers an edited version of research papers presented at an international packaging logistics symposium held June 14 in Aarhus, Denmark. The symposium was held in conjunction with the 12th annual International Conference on Nordic Logistics Research, held June 14-15, at the Aarhus School of Business. The editor is Kim Sjöström, chief technologist at Helsinki University of Technology in Espoo, Finland. Virtually all of the speakers whose presentations are included in this volume are affiliated with a Scandinavian university or institute. The exceptions include Diana Twede of Michigan State University’s School of Packaging and Michele Palumbo, a researcher at the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy. The papers are interspersed with advertisements and calls for papers for other related conferences that have been or probably will be published by Econpap (Helsinki, Finland), the publisher of this volume. Although a few papers are illustrated by flow charts, the graphics are dwarfed by the bibliographies that attend each paper. Thus, like most scholarly works, this volume serves as a reference piece to the various topics presented, rather than a book to be read front cover to back. The specific subjects, like the abstract of Transport and handling of timber packages for maritime freight by Rolf Nordström and Palumbo’s Philosophy of reincarnation applied to recovery and recycling of packages, display both the Nordic flavor and European focus. Other papers are more theoretical; Sweden’s Kennert Johansson and Pär Weström describe many of the most important factors that can be used to measure package logistics parameters, and the book’s editor, Sjöström, looks at the structure of packaging logistics in his paper, Building towards theory in packaging logistics. Twede presents a comprehensive look at Returnable packaging, and especially the many industrial applications for that package form in the United States. Looking more closely at European attitudes toward “green packaging,” Norwegian Marianne Jahre offers insights on how packaging projects can not only enhance the environment, but also result in economies throughout what is described as the value chain—from packaging manufacturers through to retailers. And Swedish researcher Carl Olsmats amplifies on Jahre’s paper by focusing on retailers and how they demand more package innovation to avoid “commoditisation” of products. This book has some interesting ideas and concepts, but is lacking in describing applications or experiences. With participants coming primarily from academe, that’s probably not unusual. Abstracts are available at: http://honeybee.helsinki.fi/logistics/plabst.htm. The book sells for US$50 or US$70 for two copies. (AO)

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