Reusable plastic containers deliver safety and savings

At Pitney Bowes, reusable plastic containers seal the deal on enhanced ergonomics, lower costs and improved efficiency

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But the limited-use corrugated boxes were delivering their own set of challenges for the workers and for the company's bottom line. For the company, it cost more than $69,000 to purchase the boxes and even more in labor to break them down and bail them for recycling. For the workers, the lack of handles made the boxes very difficult to grip and handle. That created the potential for repetitive motion injuries. The boxes also presented a significant risk of injury to employees during the unpacking process because sharp box cutters had to be used to cut away the box flaps.

Pitney Bowes management team recognized that reusable plastic containers (Orbis Corp., 800-890-7292, http://www.orbiscorporation.com)) could be implemented to address all areas of concern: safety, ergonomics, cost and efficiency.

After analyzing a number of options, the Antioch manufacturing facility chose a straight-wall modular container to move and store printed materials. With contoured, easy-to-grasp ergonomic handles, the standardized containers are easy to handle and significantly reduce the employees' exposure to repetitive motion injuries. They are easy to palletize, create stable stacks and provide the cube efficiency required to maintain high levels of productivity. And because the containers are made of plastic, gone are risks posed by box cutters and corrugated materials in the aisles, so overall safety is greatly improved.

After introducing 7,000 plastic containers into the operation, Pitney Bowes achieved a financial payback in just nine months, and a 430% return on investment over a five-year service life.


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

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