In 1992 three packaging pools, part of the cooperative auction houses in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, wanted to put an end to the logistics impasse of inefficiency in the packaging of fresh produce. They collaborated on this and devised a standard form of packaging for fruit and vegetables.
The collaboration led to a sturdy, blue reusable type of packaging in four sizes and represented a major leap forward in the manner in which fresh fruit and vegetable were distributed throughout Europe. The administrator was Euro Pool System: a European pool organisation managed by the packaging pools with a simple, but strictly organised system. From the outset the packaging was a major success. The trays are sturdy, sustainable, clean, always available on time in the various European service centres and most importantly, the de facto standard.
Within a short time there were millions of blue packaging trays in circulation in the fresh supply chains in Europe and the use of these was growing annually. The deposit system led to a rapid rotation and also proved effective in preventing waste. Because Euro Pool System continued growing, the organisation became autonomous in 1996. The auction houses remained shareholders.
At that time the packaging was not only being used for fruit and vegetables, but to an increasing degree for fish, meat, baked and convenience products. Retailers discovered the benefits of this far-reaching standardisation. The packaging become a favourite across Europe, even outside the Benelux area and Germany. This is how Euro Pool System spread to Spain, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the opportunities in Great Britain were investigated.
Because empty trays were being transported over greater distances, in 1997 we designed a new winner: the folding sibling to the rigid tray. Stackable, even with the rigid version, but up to 86% less volume once the tray is folded. Because of this it is considerably more efficient in the logistics of the fresh supply chain.
Gradually we continued growing and in 2015 we achieved a record number of 888 million rotations a year. And we continue innovating. Euro Pool System is investing in washing capacity, service centres, traceability, automatic order picking and E-web registration of our packaging. We are placing more focus on service provision to retailers. In practice we do far more than managing reusable packaging: our strength lies not only in our packaging, but also in the knowledge of the logistics of fresh produce and service concepts. Euro Pool System is ready for this challenge.
Today, Euro Pool System has also extended its scope to other countries in Europe. That ensures that we can provide service to retailers that are internationally oriented. We are proud to be a market leader in Europe. Not only in size, but particularly because we are service oriented and collaborate with our customers to realise innovative solutions.
The fresh supply and return logistics has innumerable challenges for us to overcome. This requires close collaboration among retailers, Euro Pool System and other supply chain partners. Fortunately, we welcome collaboration. We nurture our collaborative roots. This ensures that we keep our thinking realistic. And it keeps us sharp, so we continue innovating. It is this sharpness that makes it possible for us to become the de facto standard in Europe in the future.