The process of creating a nation-wide pool system for transport packaging - from vision to decision

Detta är en avhandling från Lund University

Sammanfattning: After several years of disussions, tests, investigations and additional tests, the suppliers and retailers within the Swedish business sector for food and commodities formed a jointly owned, non-profit company in 1997, which subsequently started in physical operations in 2000. This company, Svenska Retursystem AB (, is now responsible for introducing returnable transport packaging into the Swedish food supply chains. The product range includes a family of nestable and interstackable plastic trays and plastic pallets in two sizes. This pool system is unique, since it is the only open, business-wide and national pool system in operation in the world. Planning and implementing an open loop, business-wide national pool system for transport packaging is a complex process. This research project focuses on the driving forces in the entire process, from vision to decision. During 1992-1999, a group of logistics specialists within the Swedish food supply chains took part in a development process that resulted in a great deal of learning. The process contained eight separate missions that are all described in this thesis. This development and decision process is an example of a process where there has been no clearly dominant or driving actor. Instead, suppliers and retailers have worked together in a process based on majority decisions, negotiation and consensus. The collection of data is based on semi-structured interviews with 14 informants. Documents from meetings complement these interviews and support the analyses. The theoretical platform for this research is based on change management in packaging development oriented towards the supply chain. The results obtained show the importance of establishing a common vision at an early stage, where a shared understanding forms a driving force for packaging development. Three "power tools", information, resources and support (Kanter, 1984), must be applied to avoid failure in change processes. One conclusion drawn in this research project is that an additional, fourth tool, gaining acceptance, is required in order to secure the participation of all supply chain actors in a packaging development process. Another conclusion is that all future development of packaging and logistics systems must be based on co-operation and an active dialogue among the actors along the suuply chain. Supply chain transparency is an important driving force, enabling parties to see where costs can be cut and savings can be made. Study visits and pilot tests have been identified as the most efficient methods to acquire new knowledge about logistics development.