How a Foodservice Distributor used Rehrig’s Semi-Automated Asset Tracker Solution to Improve Pallet Utilization

Overview

In the food service distribution industry, companies are challenged with moving and delivering product in the safest and most efficient way possible. As companies explore the use of alternative reusable shipping platforms in service of this goal, a concern of having the appropriate resources and technology to properly manage reusable assets is commonly raised.

One of the premier food service distributors, Performance Food Group (“PFG”) expressed a similar concern when entertaining the idea of moving away from using wood pallets for downstream shipments to its customers. To mitigate this and other concerns, the distributor agreed to pilot Rehrig’s SmartPallet Vision® Asset Tracker Solution at one of their distribution centers for three months.

During this pilot, PFG in Denver, CO closely collaborated with Rehrig to provide valuable feedback so enhancements could be made to the technology to align with its needs. Ultimately, the pilot met the criteria for success by validating functionality, reliability, and quantifiable value of the solution.

Process

Rehrig provided an end-to-end solution including 1,260 SmartPallets (RFID enabled), hardware, and a propriety online asset tracking software called Vision®. In addition to installing the required hardware and Vision® software, Rehrig provided ongoing training to PFG’s operations and management teams. PFG utilized the SmartPallets throughout its entire network of customers, company-owned distribution centers, and transfer locations spanning numerous states. This solution captured data 24/7 and generated actionable real-time reports that the company used to improve asset utilization. This information was collectively reviewed and discussed weekly to ensure timely decisions were made to drive change.

Conclusion

PFG was able to leverage the actionable data provided by Rehrig’s SmartPallet Vision® Asset Tracker Solution to optimize its pallet utilization. As a result, PFG recognized savings in improved selection speed, trailer loading efficiency, safer working conditions, warehouse space optimization, reduced product damage, and cleanliness. Additionally, the improved visibility helped PFG identify customer locations where pallets had low return rates leading to additional cost savings of $36,000 annually.

Vision® Asset Tracker solution generated a total savings of $68,822 per year and a cumulative savings of $344,122 over five years.

Testimonial

“In the past, the biggest question about ROI on plastic pallets was loss. There are many benefits to using plastic pallets, however, the ROI is more challenging without being able to effectively track and recover lost assets. Rehrig has answered that question through its Vision® Asset Tracker Solution. This solution provides enhanced visibility and identifies the assignment of pallets to the correct route. The Vision® Asset Tracker reporting allows us to communicate with our transportation department to pinpoint which potential customers may have the assets so that we can target recovery. This increase in supply chain visibility not only enabled us to recover lost plastic pallets, but also identified areas of wood pallet loss that we previously didn’t know existed.

—Dan Searcy | VP of Operations | Denver, Colorado