Member Spotlight: An Interview with John Frey, RPA Secretary/Treasurer

John Frey is President of Tosca Limited in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Tosca provides customized solutions to manage and service returnable containers for its customers. It currently serves customers in the cheese, beer, meat and produce industries. Tosca will usually own the fleet of containers and provide a variety of services throughout the supply chain including cleaning, repair, logistics, and support. The containers may be various sizes from handheld to bulk bins—whatever fits the application.

RPA Editor – Describe the area of the supply chain where your services/products play a role.

Frey – Our returnable containers will generally transport our customer’s product to their customer. This may be a direct shipment from plant to plant, or it may involve multiple touch points through the supply chain, all the way to the retail store. Our goal is to provide our customers with a custom solution which reduces cost in the overall supply chain.

RPA Editor – Describe some of the challenges you see that impede companies from implementing reusable packaging.

Frey – Generally, I see two challenges. First, finding a container solution that works well throughout the supply chain. We must be able to gain “buy in” from all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain. This can be complicated in some cases with a multiple number of users. A second challenge is building the infrastructure to perform the reverse logistics. Once the product has been delivered to the end user, a returnable container now needs to be able to “complete the loop”. This is where we can provide some very good options with our national network.

RPA Editor – Describe some of the successes you or your customers have had with implementing reusable packaging.

Frey – When we convert a customer’s supply chain to returnable containers, a few benefits are quickly identified. First, the quality of the product improves—less damage is incurred during the transportation through the supply chain. Secondly, cube utilization improves which translates to lower shipping costs per unit. Finally, our customers typically find operational improvements by utilizing a standard package.

RPA Editor – What are the key changes you see happening in the reusable marketplace in the near future?

Frey – I look for reusable packaging to expand in the future. There are mega trends that fit reusable packaging very well including sustainability and food safety. However, we must remain diligent as an industry. We must continue to meet the quality standards established with our customers every day with every container we provide.

RPA Editor – What value has your company gained by being a member of the RPA?

Frey – Tosca has gained the benefit of working with member companies in the industry to promote reusable packaging. We have seen a much better awareness in the marketplace and a desire to learn about the benefits of reusable packaging. It really energizes our company and the entire industry!

RPA Editor – Why did you decide to take on a leadership role with the RPA?

Frey – I wanted to meet other people excited about expanding the use of reusable packaging. It has been very beneficial for me to meet other industry leaders and strategize how we can move the industry forward as a whole.

RPA Editor – Why would you recommend membership in the RPA to another company?

Frey – We are still a young association and a new member’s input will make a difference in shaping the RPA in years to come. This is a great opportunity to have your voice heard and generate good debate on how we can grow the industry.