PACK & SEND: How can localised logistics support circularity?

PACK & SEND: How can localised logistics support circularity?

PACK & SEND: How can localised logistics support circularity?

PACK & SEND: How can localised logistics support circularity?

Acknowledgement of Country: This interview was conducted on Gadigal and Dharug Country. We pay our respects to the traditional custodians of this land, past, present and emerging. We recognise their deep connection to the land and their unique cultural heritage, which continues to enrich our shared community.

As ReCo’s logistic partner, PACK & SEND has been supporting us from the very beginning, when we first started our refill delivery pilot. PACK & SEND has a strong focus on local communities and personal customer relationships, setting them apart from most logistics services.

In this interview, we chat with PACK & SEND Country Manager, Nicholas Woodward, and Network Sales & Operations Manager, Reno Zalidas. They share insights into their successful hyperlocal model, the 30-year growth journey and their vision for the future of logistics.

Can you explain how PACK & SEND operates?

Nicholas: PACK & SEND provides logistics solutions at a hyperlocal level through our network of franchise partners. We have over 100 locations around Australia that are owned and operated by franchisees. Our franchise Partners provide bespoke solutions to their local community, from moving small parcels to delivering large shipments overseas, as well as packaging, ecommerce and warehousing solutions.

Reno: We make the customer our priority. We focus on customers' needs, understand how they do business, and provide a solution that works for them. If we need to create any customised solutions, we've also got the capability to do it.

How does PACK & SEND support circularity in the supply chain?

Nicholas: Circularity has specific needs, particularly in reverse logistics, warehousing and packaging solutions. It's an ecosystem on its own, and we've built a hyperlocal network that facilitates that.

Reno: In the example of ReCo, our localised and customer-centric approach works perfectly. We can utilise our own network to do the delivery and collections ourselves, which allows us to have full control over our footprint as well as minimising delivery packaging. Danling could also physically hop in our van and understand the deliveries herself when we first started our collaboration. For us, it's all about finding the right solutions for our customers.

Why is PACK & SEND's hyperlocal model successful?

Nicholas: Our franchise partners play an important role in PACK & SEND's success. They are small business owners, but also local members of a community. They are connected with their local customers. They are willing to listen to customer needs and treat their customers like partners. This model gives us strength to build partnerships in the local community. It would be hard to do if we were a large corporate.

Since the beginning, this has been PACK & SEND’s value. Our vision has always been a national brand, but with a local reach.

We started with one location in Parramatta 30 years ago. Through franchising, we've expanded our network to over 100 locations both in Australia and overseas. Our No Limits mindset is ingrained in our culture. We go the extra mile for our customers and try to do what no one else can provide. It reaffirms our capability to know that no one else was able to provide the solution that we're currently providing to ReCo.

Reno: From a warehousing perspective, we have a network of small retail-oriented stores that are 50 to 100 square metres around in the city and suburbs. Unlike mega warehouses, our stores are very close to end users, so we travel a shorter distance to deliver the goods.

For example, with ReCo, Uday in North Sydney stocks the products and delivers them in his areas. He also collects and stores the empty jars, until the next replenishment. This significantly saves carbon emissions as Uday doesn't need to travel to ReCo on every delivery. ReCo also saves on cost, too.

How do you collaborate with your network of franchisees?

Nicholas: We have a product called Store Connect, which enables all our franchise partners to connect and find the best solutions for our customers, with a national reach.

For example, you partner with our North Sydney centre. But if you need to deliver something in Melbourne, Uday can connect you with an appropriate centre in Melbourne and help facilitate the delivery in that area.

One of our key training principles is to ask more questions allowing us to really get to know our customers. Through that we can understand how we can support and collaborate to give solutions our customers need.

Reno: I remember when Danling and I first met at Bourke Street Bakery in Mascot in 2019, we talked about running the first delivery trial with 20 customers around town. I then connected her with our Mascot franchise partner to take on the project. They even let Danling in the van on the road to see how we do things. And then we got Uday from North Sydney involved. Now we are talking about the next steps.

It has been a learning curve, but also a relationship-building journey. It's really exciting to be a part of it.

How do you reduce delivery packaging?

Reno: We reuse and recycle our PACK & SEND boxes using a machine. We have water-soluble options, along with satchels made from recyclable materials. In the next six to 12 months, we're eliminating all plastic packaging nationally. It has already been rolled out in Victoria.

Nicholas: We have a sustainability taskforce to implement strategies, based on what's available and what we can achieve.

We're aligned with the National Packaging Targets, which is to have 100% of packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

But there's still a lot more we can do in terms of the full lifecycle of the logistic sector. We're looking at innovative ways where we don't only recycle, but reduce where possible, and re-engineer the techniques we use to provide cushioning and protection without plastic.

As we partner with third-party delivery providers, it's also about ensuring that our partners are aligned, in terms of their sustainability goals and strategies.

How do you balance between financial and environmental challenges?

Nicholas: It's an ongoing challenge. As a franchisor, our responsibility is to provide the options and specifications to ensure that franchise partners have the choice. 

It comes down to the individual franchise partner and the customers to make the decision. We provide the training and where possible, try to provide choices that fit within everyone's budget and expectations.

Reno: Quality is critical, especially for cardboard boxes. For example, highly recycled cardboard boxes aren't as strong as boxes that don't have as much recycled fibre in them. It's also about finding that balance and ensuring the quality of our products and services isn't compromised.

We do have very environmentally-conscious franchise partners. Sometimes it's them who come up with the ideas. We do our best to capture all of them, and share them internally as part of our education program.

What's the roadmap for electrification of your delivery vehicles?

Nicholas: To be completely honest, we're at the very beginning of the journey. We first need to get access to electric delivery vehicles, and then partner with the right company to incentivise our franchise partners for the transition.

We're currently going through the process of doing a life-cycle assessment of our own impact through our local deliveries and electricity consumption.

The biggest part of our shipments is through third-party partners, who have trucks on the ground or fleets of vehicles doing long-haul interstate and overseas. We partner with providers who provide green shipping options.

However, paying to offset doesn't solve the problem. It's also about what we can do, and with whom we partner to reduce our emissions over the long term. For example, we use AI to optimise our delivery runs and avoid heavy congestion, which saves time and mileage in our vehicles.

How do you see PACK & SEND's role in the transition to circular logistics?

Nicholas: For us, circular logistics is about minimising waste and maximising resource efficiency. Ultimately, solving problems around reverse logistics is critical.

Logistics has been about getting goods delivered from a sender to a receiver for many generations. Our challenge now is how do we get the same goods back, so they can be repurposed, reused or recycled.

Sustainable delivery packaging is also important in this transition. We need producers and resellers of packaging like ourselves to take responsibility and ensure the packaging materials align with the reduce, reuse, recycle principle.

Digitalisation of the industry will help optimise resource efficiency. What makes it better is electrification, but we still have a long way to go.

Reno: PACK & SEND will be championing a sustainable future. The hyperlocal focus will remain well into the future. Our network of stores will continue to work as the mini warehouse close to the end customer. Our franchise partners will play their part in this transition to a circular economy and continue to do their bit to provide solutions to customers such as yourself.

We're really excited to continue the journey with you, and to collaborate with you and everyone with regards to sustainability. That's our focus.

Learn more  
packsend.com.au


Nicholas Woodward:
Linkedin  
Reno Zalidas:
Linkedin  

This interview is part of ReCo Circular Sydney 2023 Series, supported by the City of Sydney Knowledge Exchange Sponsorship program. Explore more free content at: reco.net.au/circular-sydney

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Author

Interviewed and edited by Danling Xiao.

Danling is the co-founder of ReCo and creative director of reco.digital. Danling has an unwavering passion for creativity, spirituality and the pursuit of positive change in the world. Connect with Danling on Linkedin.

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