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Rethinking The Box For Sustainable Logistics

Jesús García-Arca, José A. Comesaña-Benavides, A. Trinidad González-Portela Garrido, J. Carlos Prado-Prado

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Packaging design is one of the potential strategies for increasing logistics performance, not only from a cost reduction perspective, but also from a sustainable point of view. The deployment of a sustainable vision in packaging design should demand a holistic view of packaging, supply chain and product; this integrated vision is the main point of the “Sustainable Packaging Logistics” (SPL) approach. At a logistics level, a key link with the different stages of the supply chain is the secondary packaging, which most commonly takes the form of a corrugated cardboard box. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to develop a systematic and dynamic method that makes it possible to connect design decisions about the dimensions of that box with their impact on overall efficiency and sustainability of the supply chain. In order to develop this model, the impact on three different logistics systems is described. Those systems are palletizing, multimodal containers and parcel services. Likewise, in addition to proposing the theoretical model, the authors have tested it successfully in three different companies (with the three logistics systems mentioned) following the “action research” approach.