Case Study - Fond of
When FOND OF realised that there were freight costs that could be reduced across their supply chain, they turned to Billerud Managed Packaging for a way to simplify their packaging, reduce product damage, and reduce their impact on the environment.
FOND OF is a German manufacturer of sustainable, ergonomic backpacks, which started in 2010 with the ergobag backpack. As a result of the brand’s dedication to sustainability and high-quality products, FOND OF was able to expand to seven brands, spanning 35 countries. Ergobag backpacks combine the ergonomic design of trekking backpacks with everything a student could need from a school bag. These bags stand out for their comfort and strength, and are made of 100% recycled PET fabric.
FOND OF suspected their packaging solution could be improved after noticing inefficiencies in their pallet utilisation in their distribution centers, but needed to understand the root causes to work out a solution.
The FOND OF team started by analysing the packaging environment, discovering the following:
With these considerations in mind, the Managed Packaging team performed a packaging review on the company’s existing packaging to find opportunities to optimise. The goal was to find a packaging solution that better fit the products and improved pallet utilisation, while protecting the ergobag backpack throughout the supply chain.
Since the cartons needed to be sturdy enough to prevent bags from getting crushed in transit, the design team started by analysing the size and dimensions of the ergobag backpacks packaging, along with the amount of material used for both the outer packaging and the interior components that provide cushioning and product separation.
The base of the ergobag backpack is a hard shell that cannot be folded, which made reducing the size of the primary packaging a challenge. However, the design team noticed that there was unused space in both the length and width within the outer cartons. This presented an opportunity to optimise the MOCs to reduce material use and right-size the packaging in order to reduce the overall freight costs through increased efficiency.
To help mitigate against product damage, a key part of the solution was the implementation of high-quality, single-wall materials that provided better product protection than the original triple- wall MOCs. Sustainability is one of the core values of the brand, so it was important to find MOCs that not only used less material overall, but also helped reduce the overall carbon footprint.
Additionally, to reduce overall freight costs, the Managed Packaging team reduced the size and adjusted the dimensions of the cartons. The new MOCs were smaller in width and height than the original packaging, which improved space utilisation when loading containers and pallets.
As a result of these packaging optimisations, Billerud helped FOND OF address their concern of pallet utilisation. Working with the Managed Packaging also helped them improve their sustainability, which is a cornerstone of FOND OF’s code of conduct and brand vision. Most importantly, the new packaging upheld FOND OF’s commitment to quality, ensuring that their ergobag backpacks reached customers in the best condition possible.
Though the reduction in carton size was minor, it made a significant impact on pallet utilisation, freight costs and carbon footprint. After the new packaging design was implemented, FOND OF saw the following results:
- Pallet utilisation increased by 33% — original pallets could hold 12 cases, while the new pallets hold 16 cases
- Over the course of a year, it now takes 833 less pallets to store the same amount of product
- Container utilisation improved by 36% going from 695 cartons per container to 942 cartons per container
- Material weight was reduced by 27% and blank size of MOCs was reduced by 8%
- Changing packaging materials resulted in a CO2 reduction of 28% while reducing water consumption by 949 m3 per year
Head of Corporate Responsibility, Fond Of