Vikkii Jacobs - Warehouse Admin & Project Developer at P W Gates is trying to improve the company's green credentials by changing to a more sustainable packaging product and getting closer to her 100% paperless ideal.
Following a successful trial of eco-friendly paper packaging tape and void fill at our Bedford site, P W Gates has now moved away from using plastic tape and bubble wrap and is committed to identifying other areas where we can reduce our impact on the environment.
We interviewed Vikki with a quick Q&A to find out more.
How did you hear about this product?
I had a meeting with a potential new supplier about how we could move the business forward in a more Eco-friendly way using more sustainable packaging products, because up to this point we had been using plastic tape and bubble pack and although the new supplier offered us some interesting ideas, what we have gained in sustainable options would have been eliminated in carriage costs and carbon footprint, so we decided to go back to our local provider Rajapack and explore more Eco-friendly options with them.
As part of this process, I noticed that we go through a large amount of plastic bubble wrap and that was something I wanted to change. I spoke to Terry who does our parcels work in our warehouse, and he recommended an alternative to bubble pack, a paper version that we were already using with one of our existing customers, Peters Yard. Terry advised that is was just as good as plastic bubble wrap and that he preferred using it. Also, not only is it better for the environment but it is slightly cheaper.
It has worked out well because not only were they able to supply what we required, they are local to us, which really makes a difference. If they are unable deliver, we can pick up our own orders when we are passing, reducing the carbon emissions for both of us.
How long has Rajapack been an existing supplier?
The company has been using Rajapack as our main supplier of warehouse consumables for many years, their products are very well priced and are very good quality. The new paper tape that we are now using is incredible, previously we had to use 2 or 3 strips of plastic tape to ensure boxes were sealed. Now with the paper tape one strip does the job, it’s super robust and extremely adhesive.
Did you trial the eco-friendly paper packaging tape before you purchased the product?
Yes, Terry trialled it in the warehouse and also I took some home to tape up a wardrobe that weighed 25 kilos, it held perfectly that’s when I knew we had to change to this new product.
Can you let me know the other areas you have identified in the business where we can reduce our impact on the environment?
People have been talking about it for years - the paperless office. I really wanted to do something about this as I felt that we were still printing too much paper so decided to come up with some small steps to make changes, the first one was eliminating the visitors book and replacing it with an electronic sign in for all visitors. We are reconfiguring all our internal forms so that they can be filled in electronically and emailed straight away to the relevant person/department. These include weekly health declarations, uniform/PPE orders, damage & defect forms and housekeeping logs.
We are emailing more and more PDF’s of documents such as delivery notes rather than printing paper copies and most of our POD’s (proof of delivery) are totally electronic and real time to give the customer instant notice that goods have been delivered successfully.
Once we have tried and tested the paperless processes to make sure that they work efficiently, we will roll them out across our other sites and will develop a new software system for us to introduce paperless picking and despatch documents on hand held devices.
These are all small steps, but they can make a big difference to our business economically and sustainably. We do know that we have a long way to go to be 100% paperless, but we have already reduced our paper purchase amount which means the systems are already making a difference.