Expert switches to reusable containers for shipping

The specialist electronics retail group Expert is dropping shipping cartons in favour of a reusable shipping solution developed jointly with the trans-o-flex Express freight company. This will speed up incoming goods and reduce the damage rate. In addition, the procedure is more environmentally friendly.

Instead of packing goods in disposable cartons, Expert’s central warehouse in Langenhagen will in future exclusively use reusable containers for dispatch to the 410 specialist outlets nationwide. “The changeover is part of our logistics sustainability strategy and is a further step towards environmentally friendly delivery to our locations,“ says Edwin ten Voorde, Head of Logistics at Expert. “In addition, this will enable us to significantly reduce damage and losses in transport and speed up and simplify incoming goods at our specialist dealers.” The switch will mean that Expert will no longer be sending around 700,000 parcels a year in disposable cartons. Cardboard containers will only be used for transport if they are original packaging designed for shipping, e.g. TVs or fully automatic coffeemakers which do not have to be repackaged.

The group tested trans-o-flex Express to see what happens when central warehouse orders are delivered to stores in reusable containers of two different sizes. 38 of the total of 410 Expert locations participated and took delivery of 22,000 small and large returnable containers in the pilot phase. The result of the subsequent survey of participating stores was clear: the overall concept, practicability, quality and handling were all rated “very good”. The Management Board went with this clear approval and, together with the Supervisory Board, decided to switch to the new container concept. The necessary reusable containers are currently being delivered, and the introductory phase will be completed by the end of the year. From January 2020, shipping in returnable containers will be a regular service to all Expert specialist outlets. In the course of the conversion, trans-o-flex has also taken on transport of around 250,000 parcels a year which Expert had previously shipped with another provider.

On switching to returnable containers, Expert was impressed not only by the environmental friendliness of the new solution but also by the improved quality of shipping. Compared to shipping in cartons, the test phase showed a drop of 74.2 per cent in. Over the entire study period there were only 14 cases of damage in the reusable containers. Expert also found that all the outlets save significant time by switching to returnable containers. The reason for this is that acceptance, preparation for sale, and disposal of the cardboard packaging is faster or no longer necessary. Based on an 8-hour day, Expert saves almost 3,000 working days a year.

“trans-o-flex will move to the reusable solution exclusively over the next few years,” explains CEO Wolfgang P. Albeck. “We believe that this will also benefit us with other companies.” Expert uses two different sizes of reusable containers: the impact-resistant boxes are secured at  multiple points and can be folded up to save space during return transport. They were developed by the Schoeller Group, a trans-o-flex shareholder, specifically for transporting sensitive and valuable articles. Albeck notes, “Other container sizes are also possible, depending on the sender’s requirements.”