Page 7 - Case Study Annual 2018
P. 7


                               From farm to

                          fresh food aisle

                                                         By Gerhard Stander, Agricultural Director at CHEP South Africa

          Supply chain management in the fresh produce
            industry needs to be effi cient and innovative,
              working as it does with precious cargo.

        PLAYERS WITHIN this space are fi nding innovative
        ways of balancing the three main challenges facing
        the sector: Ensuring lower costs for businesses,
        sustainability for society and quality for the

        The power of pooling
        Though balancing these three considerations is
        precarious, the sector has been highly adept at
        doing so. One of the ways they are managing it is    supply chain companies, like CHEP, are establishing
        by opting for a share-and-reuse model that enables   service centres at the premises of large growers,
        growers to transport their product from the farm to   centralising and aligning the management of
        the fresh food aisle on a single shipping platform.  produce and containers to ensure effi  ciency and
           Shipping platforms most often used within the     comprehensive tracking throughout.
        fresh food industry include foldable plastic bins,
        captive bulk bins and collapsible crates that can    A quality export market built on trust
        now replace costly and ineff ective carton boxes.    South Africa is known as a signifi cant global
        Because these containers are reusable, they allow for   produce exporter. It is one of only a handful of
        signifi cant cost savings, protect the cargo and also   countries that produces citrus without black spot,
        have a far smaller environmental impact. A reusable   making our fruit highly sought after in European
        plastic container is manufactured once, and it can   markets. Gold-standard supply chain management
        make many trips over its lifespan, which most often   is necessary for the country to convert this
        lasts decades.                                       advantage into export successes.
           Growers often opt for bulk bins. As the name         What truly distinguishes and benefi ts the local
        implies, these bins transport produce in bulk, while   agriculture and fresh produce industry is the
        ensuring the highest integrity and food safety.      high level of trust that exists between players.
        Today, for instance, apples or pears can be harvested   This underscores the need for industry-wide
        directly into bulk bins. They are transported to the   collaboration. Such collaboration is fostered by
        grower pack houses, where they can be decanted       logistics operators that embed themselves in the
        and washed and selected for export or the local      communities they supply to.
           A foldable bulk bin, measuring 1m x 1.2m, can hold   The value of industry bodies
        freshly harvested fruit, transport it to retailers and   The Produce Marketing Association (PMA)
        then function as a display platform. Then, from the   provides the perfect networking platform for
        retailer, it can be folded down and returned to CHEP,   agriculture and fresh produce players, because it
        conditioned, and be re-issued to the grower. This    includes growers and retailers not just in South
        type of solution drastically reduces the handling    Africa, but around the globe.
        of fresh produce, which has a direct impact on the      It is crucial that we close the loop and pass
        aesthetic appeal and lifespan of the produce.        on these fi nancial, effi  ciency and environmental
           The real logistical challenge then becomes        savings to the customer. The entire process is
        managing the movement and return of the              for the customer – the most important trust
        containers to ensure optimum effi  ciency. Today,    relationship in the entire supply chain. •

          The Logistics News Case Study Annual 2018                                                             5
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