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NEW ORLEANS — PMA Fresh Summit is all about partnerships. So it makes sense that a trio of industry giants — Tanimura & Antle, CHEP and IFCO — are here celebrating 17 years of an evolutionary partnership that has led to increased efficiencies and sustainability, and virtually eliminated supply chain disruptions along the way.

CHEP leads the way in the pallet space with its familiar bright blue juggernauts; IFCO is the global leader in reusable plastic containers (RPCs) — both are part of the international supply chain logistics group Brambles, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. For 35 years, Tanimura & Antle has been an industry leader on the grower side with tens of thousands of acres of premium farmland in production throughout California and Yuma, AZ.

The power trio has combined to conquer markets, sure — but there are more altruistic outcomes as well. Since 2000, Tanimura & Antle’s partnership with CHEP and IFCO has generated impressive sustainability savings. They have eliminated more than 5 million pounds of carbon emissions – the equivalent of removing over 5.3 million cars from the roads. They also saved nearly 92 million gallons of water, eliminated over 4 million pounds of food waste, eliminated the amount of waste produced by more than 3,000 homes annually and saved enough energy to power over 32,000 homes for one year.

“We’ve had a long-term partnership with the Brambles Group — we’re aligned on initiatives and commitments to sustainability, and working with these folks we have been able to translate that commitment into positive action time and time again,” Tanimura & Antle Vice President of Supply Chain Management Eric Wexler told SPW Oct. 19.

For instance, to handle the staggering volume from the employee-owned farms, CHEP stores hundreds of thousands of pallets at Tanimura & Antle locations in Yuma and Spreckels, CA prior to peak harvest seasons. No shuttling back and forth, no unexpected shortfalls — meaning fewer CO2 emissions and diminished environmental impact.

Said Wexler, “We’ve got a very strong commitment to sustainability and we try to align ourselves with strategic partners like the CHEP and IFCO group — everything we do is toward that goal. We were among the first to use drip tape, we’re mindful of all of our operations in terms of power consumption. It really involves every facet of our operation. Our customers ask us what we are doing and who are we working with, what are our suppliers doing, up and down the supply chain. Having CHEP and IFCO onboard with this program has really helped us strengthen that commitment.”

IFCO provides Tanimura & Antle with RPCs for packaging, transporting, storing and displaying fresh produce. IFCO also uses crop forecasting, acreage yield data and harvest transition plans to provide Tanimura & Antle with RPC Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) services that ensure IFCO RPCs are on-hand and readily available throughout the year.

IFCO Vice President, Grower Sales NA Craig Kelly told SPW in that same conversation, “It’s really about understanding the supply chain for a particular customer or grower and understanding what their commitment is to partnership. What we looked at with Tanimura & Antle, with Eric’s guidance, is, What are some of the benefits from field to fork? And really understanding partnership — it goes two ways.”

CHEP has also helped companies like Wholesum Harvest and Metro Inc. develop innovative supply chain solutions that increased efficiency, reduced costs and provided sustainability dividends.

Said CHEP USA Vice President of New Business Development Jason Adlam, “The success of this relationship and the evolution of a true business partnership is very, very important. On the CHEP side, we’re still scratching the surface of this partnership. By looking at some of the challenges either organization has, working as true partners, we can solve a lot of those things together so the supply chain benefits. It’s a lot more efficient and results in a lot less cost getting product where it needs to be.”

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