Founded in 1901, Johnson Tiles is based in Stoke-on-Trent, and is the UK’s leading manufacturer and importer of ceramic wall and floor tiles. It has been at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing for over 20 years, and has pioneered a major fired ceramic waste recycling scheme.
Exploring ways to improve the efficiency and environmental sustainability of its supply chain, Johnson Tiles identified its use of disposable white wood pallets as a potential source of improvement. To address this, the company approached CHEP.
In 2012 Johnson Tiles moved the majority of its flows to CHEP pooled pallets. From CHEP’s range of payment and service models it chose the one-way trip model, which involves CHEP collecting empty pallets from Johnson’s retail customers.
A system designed to protect fragile loads
Johnson Tiles decided on a combination of CHEPs industry standard europallets and B0806A display pallets. Ceramic tiles are both heavy and fragile, so it’s essential that the pallets transporting them are well-made and robust. CHEP assured Johnson that its equipment is built to the highest standards, protecting Johnson’s tiles as well as possible.
Johnson products are offered further protection through less handling, because using CHEP pallets means goods can be stored and shipped on the same pallet. This reduces breakages, because there is no need for slave pallets (which are used to support fragile loads in many situations), so breakable goods like tiles are handled less. This all adds up to lower supply chain costs, too.
Lower costs and time savings
Day-to-day management costs can be high when a company is using multiple pallet types and suppliers. So using a single supplier reduces administration. And because CHEP removes and inspects the pallets, the CHEP system frees up space in the delivery yard and significantly cuts down on the time spent on sorting pallets.
Supporting sustainability by reducing waste
In addition, pooling is more environmentally sustainable than either one-way or exchange white pallets, which was a key aspect of Johnson Tiles’ decision to choose CHEP. Other types of wooden pallet, without a clear system of ownership and accountability, end up in landfill. CHEP’s solution avoids this by maintaining clear ownership of its pallets, making sure equipment is recovered, repaired and reused. It also uses sustainably sourced wood for its pallets.
“This move to the pooling model makes sound economic and environmental sense for us,’ says Adam Bellis, Johnson Tiles’ Logistics Director. “CHEP is the recognised market leader, and their global coverage is obviously an important factor for us, given the proportion of imports and exports that make up our business. With CHEP, we’re already starting to look at other initiatives to improve our supply chain.”