Loadhog Ltd., an employee-owned designer and manufacturer of returnable transit packaging headquartered in Sheffield, UK, has experienced increasing interest in its line of eco-friendly pallet-securing products. The company is currently working on integrating automation technology into its 17-year-old Pallet Lid system, significantly reducing waste, labor, and resources involved in securing loads to pallets for several retail and e-commerce giants.
Sky, Unipart Logistics, Poste Italiane, and Penguin Random House are already avid users of the Pallet Lid, which replaces single-use packaging resources such as stretch wrap and banding. Loadhog recently received the 2020 Queen’s Award for International Trade as well as the 2019 SBA Outstanding Business of the Year Award.
Last year, Loadhog estimated that three million pallets of stretch wrap were eliminated by customers utilizing the Pallet Lid. Based on a recent business case, this is equivalent to 108 million meters of stretch wrap, almost enough to wrap around the earth three times.
Since the launch of its first product, Loadhog has introduced numerous innovative returnable packaging solutions and has expanded its reach across the globe. Its turnover has increased by 79% in the last three years, with exports up 181%, assisted by the launch of various containers and material handling equipment.
|Customers receiving goods with the Pallet Lid system can stack the reusable lids and send them back to the company, where they are scanned back into the system. Image courtesy Loadhog.|
“We make the biggest difference when customers get involved and drive the developments forward alongside our design engineers and packaging experts,” said Loadhog Managing Director Shaun Khan. “Awards and case studies help us get the message out there but it often comes down to a business’s willingness to make significant change and its drive to challenge the industry to do more to reduce single-use resources, which determine the strength of a project. We’re looking at how the future of packaging is shaping up and which forward-thinking businesses — like Sky, Unipart Logistics, Poste Italiane, and Penguin — are going to make the difference in packaging innovation.”
Remaining at the forefront of the global campaign to reduce single-use packaging resources, Loadhog has also remained resilient during the recent outbreak. The business continues to perform by offering versatile packaging solutions, enabling companies to set-up their first home delivery distribution network and a click-and-collect service in response to the changing needs of today’s consumers. With the lockdown accelerating the growth of e-commerce, home delivery, and automated warehousing, Loadhog is focusing its packaging design around new solutions that integrate seamlessly with automation technology to deliver cost benefits.
Loadhog believes that the future of packaging will shift dramatically after the recent outbreak and it anticipates growth in the investment in returnable packaging solutions, as businesses are challenged to be more environmentally aware and require, more than ever, the promise of a substantial return on their investment. Not only are Loadhog’s packaging solutions re-usable, they are also predominantly manufactured from recycled plastic — more than 60% of its products in 2019 were manufactured from recycled material. The business has set a vision for 2023 aiming to increase that percentage to more than 70%.
The latest case study shows the Pallet Lid being utilized by well-known publisher Penguin Random House (PRH). With RFID tracking technology, Penguin has managed to maximize the potential of this product, tracing its resources throughout the closed-loop operation and safeguarding its goods and packaging resources. The project began two years ago with the PRH team sitting round the table to discuss what exactly could be done within their own distribution to minimize waste.
“What we particularly liked about the Pallet Lid is just how speedily we could use the product,” said Penguin’s head of operations Neil Springall, who led the project. “We found the benefits to be absolutely phenomenal. On average it was taking us about three minutes to stretch wrap one pallet, whereas we’ve now got the speed down to about 20 seconds to apply the lid.
“Equally, when customers received the Pallet Lid they were finding that they could take it off within seconds and they wouldn’t have to cut off the plastic waste. They just stack the lids, send them back to us and we scan them back into the operation here,” said Springall.
PRH reduced its consumption of single-use plastic by more than 47% in the first year since it adopted the new product. The company has ambitions to continue pushing that percentage higher and campaigning for the market to make a bigger difference by speaking out at various trade conferences.
Loadhog’s next plan will be to launch its new line of automation products targeted toward businesses that are implementing automated warehousing. Loadhog has an R&D objective that states that 25% of its turnover must come from products less than four years old. This instills a drive throughout the company to invent, challenge, and implement the latest innovations.