Transportation challenges Coca-Cola & wind turbine blades

Common transportation challenges between 1,5L Coca-Cola bottles and 54M wind turbine blades

Everybody will agree that both a 1,5 L Coca-cola bottle and a 54M wind turbine blade have a lot of differences but a few million people working in logistics will immediately recognize some common challenges!

Transport6 Source: Transoft solutions
If you remember, a few months ago we launched a competition to improve the maritime transportation of wind turbine blades. Such blades are being manufactured somewhere but need to be moved for final installation at wind farms, far away. Transportation is performed first by road and then by ship, well ... this depends on the origin and destination. Similar stacking Source:
Our challenge here was to find the best stacking solution from a volume point of view and from a handling process (you can imagine how complex can be to manipulate a 54 M long blade! Well, nothing comparable to a 1,5 M Coca-Cola).   blades3 Source: F Martin-Mora SL

People from many countries joined our competition and our engineering community found a way to optimize the stacking and reduce the shipping volume up to 24%! And this goes to a direct cost reduction in maritime transportation cost... not bad!

But,... before going to the Coca-cola example, we invite you to dream for a while with these futurist technologies to transport blades using zeppelins! These are fresh technologies and innovations coming soon ... so use your passenger belt!

Now, let's look at the 1,5 L Coca-Cola transportation challenge!

Unit transportation volume is small compared to the blades, however, the number of transported units is tremendously higher! ... And looking at the labor-intensive character of the handling of the bottles from production until the shelf delivery, including the return-cycle of empty bottles and crates, the Dutch retailer Albert Heijn and Coca-Cola launched a project called ESSO and invited the  Flex/TheInnovation Lab to help them redesign the packaging.

Source: Coca-Cola tray by Flex/The Innovation Lab

This dutch innovation agency, inspired by packaging for eggs, developed a new system that doesn’t require individual handling of crates and bottles until the consumer buys a Coke!

The new system is a big cost-saver for Albert Heijn: A reduced overall labor costs by approximately 15 million euro a year and direct material cost savings of over 1 million euro! David Butler. Photo: Brett Falcon.

So, David Butler, VP Innovation at Coca-Cola, would be happy with these results since he doesn’t get caught up in the jargon of innovation... “A lot of time is spent just talking about the meaning of these words, and they get in the way,” he says. “Let’s talk about the benefits, the outcomes.

Looking at these 2 examples... Can a big equipment manufacturer learn something from Consumer Goods or vice-versa? Do you believe in cross-industry problem-solving? What is your experience?

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