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Reducing damage in the supply chain

Pira Intl., a packaging business consultancy based in the United Kingdom, recently released the results of a study that examines the causes of damage in the fast moving consumer goods supply chain.

The study, which was discussed at the recent Dimensions.04 conference in Orlando, FL, shows that damage can be significantly reduced at the store leg of the supply chain and by avoiding mixed orders on pallets or in roll cages.

The paper studies the condition of 1-L aseptic drink cartons as they move throughout the supply chain. The names of the end-user companies involved in the study were not released.

Researchers studied the physical condition of the Tetra Brik and Combibloc packages at six points in the supply chain and in four different formats: Tetra on dollies, Tetra on pallets, Combi on dollies, and Combi on pallets.

The study indicates that there are much lower levels of damage present when the pallet or dolly is moved through the supply chain from manufacturer to store as a single item. When the pallet is broken down, either at distribution centers or stores, the “amount and seriousness of damage increases significantly,” according to the study.

Damage levels are lower during primary and secondary packaging at the manufacturer. At retail, the back-of-store area is the least organized part of the supply chain and a large inventory of goods is exposed to frequent impact and manual handling hazards. Once at the shelf, trays are manually handled, becoming damaged, dented, and deformed from awkward lifting and dropping.

To find out more about Pira’s study on Reducing Damage in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Supply Chain, visit

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