Total supply chain solutions specialist Oakland International has launched a sustainable, fully reusable temperature-controlled packaging unit, for home and business direct delivery. The OakRA unit (Oakland Returnable Asset).
The purpose of the OakRA is to replace large quantities of waste packaging materials and insulate with a new way of sending goods that is stronger, safer and that remains in the economy to be reused indefinitely. Oakland International Group Innovation Officer Lindsay Winser explained: “Throughout the pandemic Oakland issued over 15 million units direct to homes and it was whilst delivering this service we became aware of the shortcomings of packing in cardboard from a sustainability and practical point of view. We set out to develop a solution that was not just good enough to be recycled, but that would be wholly reusable and able to be fully tracked.”
After 2 years of development and testing different materials for their performance properties, the OakRA was born. Tooled and manufactured in the UK, the units provide significant impact resistance and excellent thermal insulation, whilst being lightweight and strong. The boxes are made secure with tamper evident banding and the water-resistant material makes them ideal for chilled, frozen or ambient produce.
Operating through an asset tracking portal with a unique RFID tag on each unit, the last whereabouts of each OakRA will be known, allowing Oakland and its clients to keep track of the assets and ensure they come back for reuse.
Operational trials have been a total success with positive feedback from both end users and carrier drivers, particularly on the strength, thermal performance, ease of handling and weather proofing, making them ideal for doorstep delivery. An additional significant advantage of a reusable packing solution is the potential impact on customer retention which will be a major influence for the brands signing up to the exclusive scheme.
Oakland is working closely with key customers on this innovative approach to reusable packaging and have a list of sustainably focused clients poised to deploy.
Added Lindsay: “With a substantial reduction in cardboard packaging for each unit used, the OakRA is a gamechanger, offering consumers a completely new experience for their food delivery with a closed loop solution and a simple collection process for the return.”