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Supply Chain Stressors

Returnable containers are the primary method of transporting parts throughout modern supply chains. The use of returnable containers:

  • Minimizes damage while in transit

  • Improves lineside consumption as the packs are engineered specifically for the customer

  • Minimizes transportation costs as containers can be strategically stacked and loaded to cube a trailer

  • Reduces corrugated waste and minimize negative environmental impacts


While the use of returnable containers has numerous benefits, their adoption has created several supply chain stressors. 

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The determination of required fleet size of returnable containers is one that can create negative consequences if the process or formula to calculate the fleet size is incorrect.

The location of the entirety of the fleet must be managed, and reallocated as demand changes, or new trading partners are introduced.

Chargebacks can be costly if an entity loses another’s container property.

Unanticipated shipments in cardboard when expecting returnable containers:

  • Creates floor space issues

  • Is more difficult to consume lineside and involves more labor

  • Introduces a requirement to dispose of the material and negatively impact the environment

  • Increases transportation spend by limiting the amount of material that can be shipped in a singular trailer, requiring extra trailers to move the same amount of product

  • Impacts quality of parts

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Surgere Solutions


The Interius Returnable Container Management module is a cloud-based application hosted on Microsoft’s Azure global platform. The module can be accessed via mobile or tablet device.


The tool, its design, reports and dashboards were architected by supply chain professionals for supply chain professionals.


Users bypass the problem investigation phase as it pertains to returnable container management and move directly to problem resolution through the intuitive where to work design theme. 


Leading supply chain professionals, pack engineers, and material service experts, staff the Surgere Operations and Program Management teams.



The Interius Returnable Container Management module has a lot to offer.

  • Gain a finite understanding of current, available, and useable returnable containers in the fleet and within each loop.

  • Measure plan vs actual. For example, without a serialized approach to container management, certain system day assumptions can never be validated.  They remain permanent assumptions. 

  • These key system day metrics can be measured precisely:

    • Dwell at the plant or factory

    • Turn to the supplier and back

    • Inbound and outbound transit times​

  • With accurate system day information:

    • Loops can be right sized

    • Containers in oversaturated loops can be reallocated

    • Transportation, suppliers, and plant associates can be accountable to the plan

    • System days can be modified where needed

    • Loops that are under-allocated can be corrected which ceases the use of cardboard and expedited freight

    • New fleet purchases can be right sized by using empirical data as opposed to assumptive data

  • Real-time visibility to the current location of all tagged assets, along with a complete genealogy of the lifecycle of the asset (transactional, damage, repair, etc.)

  • Audit compliance from control of investment standpoint

  • State-of-the-art where to work dashboards customized by user type and role (pack engineer, material service, transportation, etc.)

  • Robust API toolkit for seamless connection to internal systems (ERP, transportation, production demand, pack to part data)

  • Real-time alerts and notification to supply chain sensitivities and potential disruptions.

  • Forensic level chain of custody throughout the supply chain

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Read the case study.

Learn more about how the Surgere Interius™ Returnable Container Management module kickstarted a revolution for this Automotive OEM's supply chain.

Discover the significant gains they experienced with the increased visibility and digital transformation on their facilities.