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The APS Group is the largest supplier of tomatoes to major cities in the UK, growing five hundred million tomatoes a year and serving nearly 30 percent of tomato production in the country. They had been using deep crates from another manufacturer, but for fear of damaging the products, APS was not able to fill them to the top. Unsurprisingly, this practice was inefficient and costly, as a significant part of each truckload was filled with air. As their operation continued to grow in complexity, the APS Group looked for perishable shipping solutions that would develop its supply chain further to enhance productivity and efficiency. It turned to Polymer Logistics, a reusable packaging provider that is now part of Tosca.

The Process

After a careful review of APS Groups’ current operating model, it became apparent to Polymer Logistics that the most effective way to improve efficiency was to change the types of reusable packaging the company used at key stages of its supply chain. Polymer offered to develop a connected solution consisting of two different types of products, delivered as a pooling service.


Plastic produce crates from Tosca

Polymer Logistics replaced the deep crates with its nestable trays. The shallow plastic produce crates are lightweight, nestable, and stackable, ideal for optimizing space during storage and transport while the durable design ensures that products are fully protected throughout the journey. The new plastic produce crates have had a significant impact on productivity, as APS can now use all available space in each crate, knowing that the products would reach the supermarkets in perfect condition.

Next, Polymer Logistics focused on enhancing hygiene in greenhouse operations, replacing the existing wood pallets with its Cleanpal pallets. They are easy to keep clean and, unlike wood, plastic is non-permeable, reducing the risk of potential pests or disease entering the greenhouse. This is vital for protecting profitability, as contamination can have devastating results. Cleanpal pallets also offer a range of benefits when it comes to storage and worker safety. Weighing just over 33 lbs, it takes only one person to move them, improving productivity. Furthermore, the nestable design, with a 3:1 nesting ratio, enables significant space savings during storage.

Finally, the APS Group also needed a new solution to move the tomatoes from storage to store as smoothly as possible. The Universal Display Pallets (UDP) are easy and secure to stack, saving truck and storage space, and once the products reach the store, the pallet and its contents are instantly ready for display. The unique design minimizes replenishment costs while maximizing in-store availability.

“Polymer Logistics provided us with a comprehensive solution that would enable us to protect the quality of our products while introducing new efficiency into our supply chain. They are able to ensure that the products are kept fresher for longer, and the journey from farm to store is quicker, enabling us to cut product waste and unlock new levels of productivity.” – Dave Hughes, Purchasing Manager at APS Group

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