Adopting re-usable packaging

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A system for re-usable packaging enabled significant sustainability improvements at ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s China factory.


Carton packaging is traditionally used by most suppliers to transport raw materials. Suppliers have been reluctant to adopt re-usable plastic container because they are not sure if the containers will be returned to them in good time and they were therefore reluctant to invest in them. On the other hand ASSA ABLOY Hospitality in China had to deal with the disposal of cartons. The challenge was to persuade the suppliers to use plastic containers. 


ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s China factory has three years’ experience of applying kanban lean production methods.  Expanding kanban to suppliers accelerated the application of re-usable containers; five suppliers have been using re-usable containers since January 2013. The suppliers became convinced because the kanban process ensures the timely return of the containers, and it is therefore easier for them to justify the investment in them. Less scrap carton reduces the supply chain cost and the containers provide a sustainable solution.


With the five suppliers who have implemented re-usable containers, the estimated weight of carton packaging saved per annum is around 8.6 tons. The continued development of this method with suppliers is a key strategy for ASSA ABLOY Hospitality.