Packagers challenged on logistics engineering

As a packaging professional, where do you go with Efficient Consumer Response?

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That was just one of the issues addressed by Paul Evanko of distribution and logistics engineering firm St. Onge Co. (York, PA) at the Nov. 20-21 Advanced Technology of Packaging conference sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professionals. One answer to the ECR question, Evanko told his audience, is the high-performance unit load, illustrated in the diagram shown here. Though hardly suitable for low-volume shipments, Evanko wondered aloud why it wasn't being used more regularly for high-volume items like cereals, paper towels or bathroom tissue. "Resistance on the part of packaging professionals," Evanko suggested, might be part of the problem. This kind of resistance, Evanko warned, will not do in an era of profound change, when a new economic reality based on continuous flow principles requires new ways of thinking about the role of the packaging discipline in distribution and logistics. Evanko advised consumer goods packagers to be aware of four emerging ECR distribution concepts: * Postponement packaging, wherein packaging is done closer to the consumer than to manufacturing, * Increases in innovative channels of distribution such as home delivery, * Global market penetration by suppliers and retailers, and * Emerging transportation systems capable of carrying cargo payloads two or three times the size of today's largest payloads.

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