Ross Collins, Director
Building low cost, sustainable packaging and supply chains is a crucial and increasingly business critical focus area for manufacturers today. The colossal growth in e-commerce dictates that packaging must now survive as part of a supply chain that is radically different from the traditional store or retail-based models. Sustainability and the urgency to respond to concerns around packaging waste are also driving notable changes across the spectrum. With added impulsion for local production, especially in terms of food, which is encouraging various multinational clients to reassess their supply chain operations and cost structures. On the other hand, continuous research has demonstrated that packaging has a significant impact on logistics and supply chain performance on creating value. Packaging affects every single logistics operation throughout supply chains from the point of filling to the point of emptying and recycling. Set against this backdrop is James Ross Consulting, the world's largest independent packaging management specialist.
James Ross Consulting helps clients with their packaging goals in terms of how it is developed, supplied, used, and increasingly, disposed of. For this, the company follows a process that entails the analysis of packing line efficiencies, distribution, logistics performance, cost, sustainability impact, and packaging structure. Their flagship offering, PackDevPro, a SaaS platform, takes big data from clients’ logistics and supply chain operations and identifies packaging related improvements. Through the aggregated data insights, the platform also generates cost and sustainability improvements. "There is a linear relationship between cost and sustainability improvements. A lot of work that we do is driven by improving sustainability that results in cost-benefits. Both are two sides of the same coin," remarks Ross Collins, Director, James Ross Consulting.
PackDevPro, the in-house software developed by James Ross Consulting, provides them with the ability to manipulate abundant data sources and place the business in a distinct position as specialists in the supply chain cost-analysis field. PackDevPro takes the specificity of the client’s supply chain into account and helps them in New Product Development (NPD) accordingly. "PackDevPro will say instead of going 2 millimetres that way, let's go 2 millimetres this way, and that will give you the optimum costas well as sustainability benefit. With the platform, we created an aggregation of 3 trillion data points, including the bulk of data from the client's existing product to help them devise new strategies for packaging various products," claimsRoss.
Currently, NPD processes leave pallet design to the final stages of pack development. The result is a pallet that is often not optimized for the supply chain, deliveringless efficiency in warehousing, transport, and higher handling costs, more pallets than needed in the supply chain, and an increased risk of damage to the product.
A process that does not challenge constraints in the supply chain does not enable sustainability, cost, and process optimization for either the producer or the retail customer.In these complex supply chain environments, PackDevPro has generated supply chain savings for clients of over 30 million dollars in the past 12 months. It has also enabled significant cost avoidance by using the software at the beginning of the NPD process. In parallel, there has been a reduction in weeks of employee time on each NPD project engaged in reviewing and developing specifications.
PackDevPro will say instead of going 2 millimetres that way, let's go 2 millimetres this way, and that will give you the optimum costas well as sustainability benefit
Established in 1993, James Ross Consulting has developed an admirable track record and can boast unique industry expertise and global flexibility that enables them to tackle problems few others can. In the case of a European client, "We worked with them to embed the supply chain as part of the new product development design process. You don't just design something to fit on a pallet, you have to design something within the constraintsof the supply chain," states Ross. There are various rules regarding double stacking and single stacking that should be incorporated when a product is designed from the get-go. A real barrier was the importance of stretch wrapping and palletsecurity. If the stretch wrap becomes too tight or too slack, it ends up crushing the boxes, the stacking strength is lost, resulting in damage; if it isn't secured to the base of the pallet, the product moves and damage can occur. One of the crucial findings was the needto create an approach for stretch wrapping. It should be incorporated as much more of a KPI than 'as-long-as-my-lines-don't-stop-I'mokay-approach.'
James Ross Consulting also has a partner software platform, Greenshare, designed for sustainability tracking. Greenshare allows them to gauge a client's impact in terms of packaging waste, on each of the markets they serve. Ross is enthusiastic about how their innovative sustainability tracking software works as a powerful addition to James Ross Consulting’s capabilities and client deliverables. "There is a very clear relationship between improving your supply chain and improving your sustainability footprint. A lot of the work we do is actually driven and badged as sustainability improvement that happens to deliver incredible cost-benefits,” states Ross. Greenshare also reports data in formats specific to the corporation, along with 'one-click' industry scorecard outputs. In terms of Sustainability Report Management, Greenshare gathers sustainability project information from around the corporation and tracks the progress of projects against predefined targets, replacing awkward tracker spreadsheets.
Both PackDevPro and Greenshare continue to be developed to meet emerging client and market need. As James Ross Consulting continues to expand these services, they can benefit hundreds of organizations across the globe.
"As a business, James Ross Consulting remains optimistic about the future. We are at the forefront of the evolution of the packaging industry, and we will continue to help our clients reduce their costs and, consequently, reduce their packaging footprint and improve margins,” remarks Ross. He further adds, “The coronavirus crisis will increase focus on costs, but we also believe that sustainability will remain a core concern for manufacturers, retailers and customers in a post-virus world.”