Editor’s Note: Following is an interview with Rob Zachrich, President of the Fabri-Form Company a manufacturer of thermoformed plastic products for logistics (custom packaging, pallets, sleeve packs), work-in-process (totes, trays and freezer spacers) and for end products (custom components).
RPA Editor: Describe the area of the supply chain where your products play a role.
Zachrich: We provide returnable and custom packaging used for the transit of product between facilities, offering optimal protection, density, and the elimination of expendable or one-time use packaging materials.
RPA Editor: Describe some of the challenges you see that impede companies from implementing reusable packaging.
Zachrich: The two most prevalent challenges that we face include: 1. When a low volume of product is being manufactured, it results in a delayed payback on a reusable tooling investment, and therefore a reluctance to invest. 2. Non-closed-loop shipping systems make it difficult to get packaging returned.
RPA Editor: Describe some of the successes you or your customers have had with implementing reusable packaging. Include any innovative methods or insights.
Zachrich: We are in the process of implementing a new project tracking system that allows our clients to view the status of their custom project, and maintain an up-to-date timeline for production. This has been received with open arms from some of our more trusted accounts. We see it as a tool to enhance our relationship with our clients by keep the flow of information current and accurate.
RPA Editor: What are the key changes you see happening in the reusable marketplace in the near future?
Zachrich: The key change that we see happening involves a real dedication to a reduction in solid waste. It appears that the environmental concern is real, and companies are very serious when they discuss their carbon footprint and initiatives to help them improve their environmental impact. This has resulted in a more concentrated look at how reusable packaging could play a role in these ratings; opportunities that previously were unlikely are now legitimate leads.
RPA Editor: List your current position within the RPA and state why you chose to become a member of the RPA leadership team.
Zachrich: I am currently on the RPA board of Directors. It’s an unbelievable group of people and I am honored to be a part of it. It’s really a privilege to help shape how our industry attempts to educate the marketplace on the value of reusables, particularly at a time when public companies are hungering for a way to improve their impact on sustainability.
RPA Editor: What value do you personally gain by being in a leadership role with the RPA?
Zachrich: Frankly, I learn a great deal from the other board members. We are all facing the same questions and issues as proponents of reusable packaging. So I get exposed to how others are thinking about these things, not to mention what you can pick up just spending some time with first rate business people.
RPA Editor: What has your company gained from your involvement?
Zachrich: Fabri-Form has gained notable exposure from our relationship with RPA, allowing for extended networking with companies and businesses that otherwise would not have been targets for our company. It has also allowed us to be privy to industry discussion and be more in tune with technologies being used, what industries are doing, and how packaging is being utilized.
RPA Editor: Has RPA had a positive impact on your business? If so, how?
Zachrich: Absolutely! As previously stated, we have been privy to industry conversations and have been exposed to new and cutting-edge uses for returnable packaging. We have the advantage of getting involved at the beginning of these discussions, which allows for Fabri-Form to educate clients as to how our products can benefit their systems.
RPA Editor: Why would you recommend membership in the RPA to another company?
Zachrich: The added exposure and networking opportunities for a small or mid-sized company are invaluable and could help in the growth and expansion of any company that is involved in these markets.