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[GreenYes] Fwd: Sam's Club and Stackable Milk Jugs (thinking outside the box)

Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 17:21:43 +0000 (GMT)
From: James Weatherford <gardengreen@no.address>

Found this nice little story:

Fortune interview with Sam's Club CEO Doug McMillon
? ?Sustainability? was defined in a financial sense for me ... to broaden the conversation into the environment and then social issues, it sounded like potentially a big distraction. benefit we could get from it. We found items that if you simply reduce the amount of packaging involved, save cost, and pass that on to the customer, you sell more. You're just eliminating waste. We thought we were efficient before, but we really weren't. It was as if somebody handed us a different pair of glasses, and the whole world looked different.? 

?... secondary benefit that I also don't think we understood. Many of our associates have an emotional connection to this subject. When we started declaring goals ... they responded in a way that was surprising. They said, Count me in, let me have a piece of that responsibility, and I'll help figure it out. Now it's moving with two million associates behind it, not just a small group of leaders.?

Sam's Club recently adopted a new milk jug. It looks like a rectangular block...

?Of all the things you might think you could innovate on, the milk jug might not be at the top of your list. But traditional milk jugs don't stack, and they were coming in on metal carts that were being shipped back to the dairy, cleaned, and then sent back to the stores and clubs, and recycled, which created a lot of energy drain.

The new milk jug is stackable, so in a trailer you can get 400 additional jugs. You don't have the carts going back to the dairy. It's also loaded in a way that reduces bacteria, which gives you additional shelf life. So we have 20 days of shelf life here compared with 14 days before. It's a better-quality product, and it actually costs a dime to 20 cents less, depending on the dairy. We've eliminated 11,000 delivery trips to Sam's Club by moving to this jug. The one big challenge has been that it's different to pour. If you tip it and put it into the glass, it works fine, but if you pick it up and pour it like the old jug, you'll miss. So we've had a lot of people crying over spilled milk.?





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