A recent investigation conducted by the Swedish research and technology institute Innventia has found very low damage rates to paper sacks on the way from the filler to the retail store. Most product losses occur due to poor handling practices at retail sites and can be avoided by informing and educating the responsible staff.
Based on the research work by Innventia, which tracked sacks from the point of fill to the point of sale, the level of damage to paper sacks for cement and other powdered building materials does not exceed one to two per cent. “In fact, it is our opinion that less than one bag per hundred is affected in this part of the supply chain,” says Kennert Johansson, Senior Project Manager and member of the Innventia research team. “This is entirely realistic considering the evidence we have gathered.” The investigation looked at the do-it-yourself (DIY) and the builders’ merchant retail supply chains for paper and plastic form-fill-seal (FFS) cement sacks. The spoilage rates observed for FFS bags are comparable to those of paper sacks. “This finding refutes the recent claims that FFS bags are impaired less than paper sacks,” says Stina Blombäck, Senior Adviser at CEPI Eurokraft and EUROSAC, the associations that commissioned the investigation.
Among the major causes of damage are incorrect palletisation and forklift operations like snagging or tine penetration. The level of spoilage varied greatly from store to store, suggesting that different procedures and handling practices have a significant impact on the sacks and can thus be prevented by education on best practices. “The study confirms that due to their unique properties, paper sacks ensure ideal protection and durable storage for powdered goods,” says Stina Blombäck. “Nevertheless, we see the outcome as a challenge and are therefore working on a solution and guidelines for the industry in order to reduce damage and loss in the supply chain even further.”