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Italy: the hidden important steps of production at IFCO

The logistical cycle of reusable plastic packaging seems trivial at first glance: the boxes are sent by IFCO to the food producer, who uses them to deliver his products to the distributor. Then, the seller returns the empty packaging to the Distribution Centre and, from there, back to IFCO, so that it can sanitise it and put it back into circulation.

Eleonora Gemini, IFCO Country Manager for Italy: "It seems easy, doesn't it? But there are many complex aspects. First of all, the format of the box (only we in Italy have 42 for fruit and vegetables), its color, their use (fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, bread, just to name a few), the priorities of delivery and handling depending on the seasonality or availability of products, possible errors in inventory, etc. In short, there are many variables, so we are equipping ourselves to simplify and automate everything possible.

Eleonora Gemini

At Macfrut 2019, IFCO presented its new app, MyIFCO, which allows you to instantly catalogue pallets that can contain both large and small crates and different types. It is sufficient to frame the stack of boxes to obtain the separation of the pallet in the respective colours and identification codes. This greatly facilitates both the user (who simplifies the compilation of the delivery note), who must return the boxes to IFCO (because he can stack them in bulk, without having to make an initial selection of the various formats/codes), and IFCO itself because it knows perfectly the composition of the incoming pallets and can work in a logic of priority of the sanitization operations.

The objective is, therefore, to offer value-added services for each link in the chain of use and supply of the boxes. "The app is just the first step of processes that could become fully automated, with significant savings in terms of labour costs and zero risks of human error. In Switzerland, for example, where 100% of large-scale distribution uses the IFCO system, automation is already a reality. Unfortunately, it is often forgotten that what is really important is invisible to the eyes. It is the processes that underlie our logistics and distribution system that make the real difference for users, not just how the box itself is made".

It is no coincidence, therefore, that IFCO has grown exponentially on the Italian market, with sorting centres in Brescia, Cesena and Catanzaro. But there are other markets that are already very mature (such as Northern Europe, the United States or Japan), some in evolution (such as Russia and South Africa), and others that are exploding at a dizzying pace (such as China), where IFCO successfully offers its goods handling system.

Gemini emphasizes: "In our Full Service we sanitize all the crates that go back to us, without exception. This allows full compliance with all phytosanitary and hygiene standards in force in the domestic market and foreign destination. We are proud to inform you that the washing cycle is completely closed, in order to save water".

In an age when plastic always causes concern, the manager reminds that: "If well managed, the plastic supply chain, especially if reusable and fully recyclable, is by no means an environmental problem. Our reusable boxes, among other things, are designed for intensive and repeated use (up to 120 times) of the same source material, without introducing new plastic into the environment, with complete traceability of each individual element. At the end of their life, they are also perfect for being totally recycled into new crates.

Contacts:
IFCO SYSTEMS ITALIA
Corso Stati Uniti, 18b 
35127 Padova (PD) - Italia
Tel.: (+39) 049 8538401
Email: infoIT@ifco.com 


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