Member Spotlight: Rich Larson, National Accounts Manager for Buckhorn Inc.; Member RPA Board of Directors

RPA Editor: Describe the products and services that your company offers.

Larson: Buckhorn Inc. is a provider of a wide range of plastic packaging products. We manufacture reliable, high quality, cost-effective reusable packaging and material handling systems that protect product and improve workflow. Our products are used in agricultural harvesting, transportation, distribution, storage, and processing. We work directly with the end users. Recently we have teamed up with leaders in pooling containers to allow customers the options of purchasing, leasing or renting plastic products.

RPA Editor: Describe some of the challenges that impede companies from implementing reusable packaging.

Larson: The main challenge we face daily is working with customers to understand the true cost of packaging – the realization of the cost of expendables versus the cost of reusables. It is important for us to explain the value that is gained when a packaging program is executed well.

RPA Editor: Describe the areas of the supply chain where your services and products play a role.

Larson: In the past, Buckhorn has provided innovative solutions to customers in a variety of industries. We designed a plastic container for efficient and clean distribution of poultry to the stores, eliminating leakage. In another situation, we provided a large plastic container to a seed customer that is used in storage and distribution of seed products to the growers. It has a center discharge that make it easier to use than other options available on the market, and it significantly reduces wasted time and money for farmers. We also manufacture an all-plastic Intermediate Bulk Container that is working effectively in the food processing market.

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

Larson: One is the use of more and more third-party logistics or pooling providers. With the squeeze on capital and reduced labor forces, the need for third-party providers is on the rise. Reusables are needed, but companies are more concerned with providing products, not managing containers.

RPA Editor: What is your role within the RPA and why did you choose to become a member of the leadership team?

Larson: I am currently a board member of the RPA and became the Buckhorn representative when we joined. Buckhorn wants to work with companies in our industry to make a difference in the perception of reusables. Our goal is to learn more from other key individuals in the business and to strengthen our image in the reusable products industry. I personally learn more by listening and taking part in open discussions about all aspects affecting our industry – from effective use of our products to regulations that might be coming in the future. I’m convinced that we can formulate legislation through a strong association like the RPA.

RPA Editor: What changes would you like to see within the RPA?

Larson: We need more members, and I would recommend anyone involved with reusables to join the RPA. I’ve witnessed some positive changes taking place, and there is definitely strength in numbers. With your involvement, more great things can come from an association like this.