Cisco Saving $24 Million With Packaging Diet

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Photo by ejhogbin via Flickr CC

We're fast to post about packaging failures, which are all too common. But happily, we sometimes get to post about packaging brilliance. Cisco is giving us just such an opportunity. The company has taken up a pilot program for a packaging diet, and will see a savings of about $24 million just by getting smart and rethinking the materials and size of packaging, and the transportation of products. Check out how they're doing it, and the kind of example they're setting for other companies who are due for a rethink of how they're boxing up and sending out their goods. Greener Computing outlines how Cisco has managed to make some great strides in smarter packaging. Overseen by Edna Conway, the company's Senior Director of Advanced Compliance and Social Responsibility, Cisco's experiment with smarter packaging isn't fully evolved yet, but still the company has managed to shave off some big numbers. The company has started off by selecting particular products for a pilot test. One product line was able to reduce packaging by 33%, increase transportation load utilization by 50%, and realize an annual savings of $1.3 million

That's huge! But just the beginning. Another product saw a 450% increase in transporation efficiency for a savings of $1.8 million. This is fantastic, but also begs the question - what kind of gross negligence was happening to allow such poor use of transportation in the first place? And further, what other major companies could realize the same kinds of both financial and environmental savings by taking a quick look at their packaging?

Across the pilot products, over 4 million pounds of materials were eliminated, shrinking the company's carbon and water footprints, as well as saving some big bucks. And this is just the pilot program! We can't wait to see what Cisco does as it rolls out the project across the rest of its products...and services!

Here's a chart of the pilot products and the savings realized by shrinking the packaging, choosing better packaging materials, and smartening up the shipping of the items:

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Claudia Girrbach outlines the entire program and more specifics over at Greener Computing. We hope more businesses will take note and follow suit. Overpackaging is a low-hanging fruit, and big companies like Cisco can make huge dents in waste and emissions by paying just a little bit more attention to this seemingly benign aspect of their products.

More on Packaging
Packaging Design at Its Worst (Slideshow)
Packaging Design at Its Best
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The Mysterious Carbon Footprint of Packaging

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