A leading grower of leafy greens, Taylor Farms was in the market for a much tougher, more impact resistant tote as their current totes were not meeting their needs. Less-robust, breakable totes break and can add debris to the finished product. A broken tote costs more than just the replacement price as it causes operational disruption and increases risk. What was needed was a greatly improved tote and Taylor Farms was prepared to lend its real-world expertise in its development.
InterCrate and Taylor Farms collaborated to hone this new FreshTote so that it could truly be the best salad harvest tote available. This new tote was made more rigid by design so that a more pliable, impact resistant resin could be used. The new geometry would use double walls and corrugations to build in rigidity versus exposed external ribs that regularly catch and crack on machinery. A traceable and metal detectable material was pioneered so that even small pieces of plastic could be detected in packages of finished product. We were able to achieve traceability while maintaining color options.
In addition to material, geometry and traceability improvements, the FreshTote manages to improve ergonomics considerably by using thicker, more comfortable bale arms as handles, and smooth interior and exterior which is more comfortable for the salad and the harvest crew. A smooth underside also means that crews stacking totes create less mechanical damage on the heaped product in the tote below. Finally, a significant 20% improvement in the nesting efficiency means 20% less handling, freight and storage costs when FreshTotes are empty.
The FreshTote has demonstrated an incredibly lower breakage rate and an has impacted productivity.
While a tote may only be a small part of a fresh-cut salad operations, industry leaders understand that every improvement, no matter how small, has the potential to reduce risk and increase profits.