Sustainable Packaging

CGO Caleb Nelson / Sifted

May 30, 2022 Cory Connors Season 2 Episode 99
Sustainable Packaging
CGO Caleb Nelson / Sifted
Show Notes Transcript

https://sifted.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/caleb-nelson-57a2322/

Data-powered insights for smart, sustainable shipping decisions.

Disjointed data. Reactive analysis. Rate discrepancies. Time constraints. Sounds familiar? It doesn’t have to. Sifted Logistics Intelligence (LI) gives you the power to overcome all this and more.

Are you ready for sustainable logistics? 
What's your Sifted score? 
How about some real data to show how you have improved your sustainability? 


https://ororapackagingsolutions.com/
Looking to improve the sustainability of your packaging today? Check out:
https://www.landsberg.com/
The views and opinions expressed on the "Sustainable Packaging with Cory Connors" podcast are solely those of the author and guests and should not be attributed to any other individual or entity. 

https://specright.com/ This podcast is an independent production and the podcast production is an original work of the author. All rights of ownership and reproduction are retained—copyright 2022.
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Cory Connors:

Welcome to sustainable packaging with Cory Connors . Today's guest is Mr. Caleb Nelson, the chief growth officer of sifted. How are you

Caleb Nelson:

Caleb? I'm doing well. Corey, thanks so much for having me on with the.

Cory Connors:

Yeah, me too. I really am excited about what you guys are doing in the, in the world of supply chain and logistics and sustainability, more importantly for this show, but what's your background? How'd you get into this

Caleb Nelson:

kind of work? Like many people in transportation and in the space it, once it gets in your blood, it's really hard to leave. And transportation's been a part of my family for quite some time. My father was in transportation. My brother's been in transportation. I've been in transportation since I was 18. And it's the world that I know. And I love it. I'm passionate about it. I think that anybody who spends decent time in transportation or in supply chain and in that kind of environment like I said, once it gets in your system, it's hard to get out of . I, I started off at a a three PL doing a variety of services, but I ended up owning a couple of district offices for that three PL and it gave me a great understanding of 3 P L are really unique because you sit right in between a shipper and. Carriers, and you're representing both to either party. And when, especially when you, you mix and kind of multiple carriers in that you have to be an expert in multiple carriers and what their networks look like. And then you're dealing with multiple customers whether it's in manufacturing or different areas that support those carriers. So it gave me a really good. School of hard knocks on what transportation was all about and how the whole thing works. Transportation industry, that the industry itself is so massive, but the people that work in it and support it is a relatively small group. And we all kind of know each other and get to know each other like you and I are doing today.

Cory Connors:

Yeah. It's very much like the, it sounds like the packaging industry, we, once you get in, you don't leave because it's just a unique skillset and a, and it's a real tight knit community of, of great people. So can you tell us about sifted? What, what makes this company unique? W what do you guys do that?

Caleb Nelson:

A great question, sifted really at our core is we are a data modeling company that works with shippers data. So we sit right in between the shipper and their partner carriers. We're absorbing the carrier data on a regular basis and we provide a full sandbox virtual environment . For a customer to go in and play around with their data in. So what we'll talk about here you know, a number of what if scenarios, but if the shipper wants to say, look, what shipments are causing me the most amount of pain. And what am I paying the most amount in terms of boxes or skews that are costing me the most amount of money, right? Sifted software allows for a shipper to go through and be able to identify those. What the pain actually is. And more importantly, model it out to say, if I change this one box size, what will that do to reduce my overall costs? Or if I could split this one box into multiple boxes that are smaller with less waste, what does that do for my overall spend? The software goes through and rerate those packages. In reality, they had gone out with the partner carriers and gives that client a full idea of if I change this, what happens back to a customer before they even take one step into reality of actually doing it. So it's a full virtual environment whereby people make better decisions and it's the best version of the shipping self that they can. Oh, that's

Cory Connors:

excellent. And as you were saying that a FedEx truck went right behind you, and that was just perfect timing, right? No, I've got a

Caleb Nelson:

I'm in Utah here and you've got the mountain range here and a nice freeway. That's a, or a little, on-ramp.

Cory Connors:

It was like an advertisement for a truck. I was like, perfect. So how can optimize in your supply chain make you more sustainable ? as a company.

Caleb Nelson:

Yeah. It's, it's really interesting because sustainability has always, in individual companies that kind of support and work with their vendors and transportation, it's always been kind of a nice to have or and it, a lot of conversations like, dude, I'm just worried about getting boxes out of the door, you know, out of my warehouse, I'm not even gonna focus on sustainability. What's really changed in the last little bit has been a spotlight on the fact that their customers are demanding it. 90% , of customers we've polled indicate that having a sustainability piece of Really what's what's on the e-commerce side, when they go to checkout, they want to see that the, the organization that they're ordering product from is sustainable. It's a very critical piece. So it's being driven by consumers. It's also being driven by the fact that I think C level decision makers, CFO, CEO, CEOs, are now in a spot where they understand transportation. They understand costs and they have a driving impact to them. We need to be more sustainable as an organization. And transportation is one of the tops that list. And I, I think it's really gone away from the nice to have, to an absolute essential piece , of being a part of I would even think of, of it being a piece of a competitive portion. That's somebody's e-commerce business. If they can, if two companies are offering the same product for the same. One major differentiator is going to be, is this company green? Is this company not? And that'll drive a lot of competition your way if you're a company and you're smart enough to pick up.

Cory Connors:

Yeah, I totally agree. And it sounds like supply chain and packaging are just totally intertwined in this situation because the more efficient the packaging can be the more efficient we can cube out a truck or, or a pallet or a train load or whatever logistics you're using. That makes a lot of sense and can save a lot of money for companies, the fewer loads, the fewer costs. That's great. Well

Caleb Nelson:

done. Yeah. It's one thing that's really interesting. Consumers often think of going green as being more expensive. You know, you think of like a test. People want Teslas, but they're more expensive than a normal car. You're breakeven on it. It's not for another 10 or so years. Solar panels on your house, you, you don't break even maybe till 20 years in on it. Right. Sustainability within transportation is a very unique industry because it's a one for one, whatever you do on a sustainability side for transportation has a direct cost reduction at the backend. It is a very unique, very lucky position that most shippers are in because most shippers haven't taken. A full attack on, on being more sustainable as an organization and shipping is going to be at the top of the list to be able to do that and make a sizeable impact. Oh, and it's going to save you a substantial amount of money in doing so to.

Cory Connors:

Well, and that's a great segue to my next question. Can you tell us a story of a time when you guys, when you felt like you made a big impact on the sustainability of a one of your customers, and you don't have to mention the customer name unless you want to promote them.

Caleb Nelson:

I've I've got a a great example in there. They're an excellent customer. Would not mind me dropping their name whatsoever, but it's a company called Betty's B E D a D Y S. They do a really unique household product that sits. It's almost a, it's like a comforter and a sleeping bag mixed together. So it's, it's for kids and it's a comfort that goes on there. And in order for them to make their beds. And I have four kids and I'm yelling at my kids all the time to make their beds. All the kids have to do is that they zip up. This comforter has a zipper around it and they zip it up and the bed is made. So they are if you've got little kids, you probably know who they are, but they have exploded in growth. And being green has been. A part of that one for one that we've talked about, which is how do I keep up with my growth and how do I do it while not increasing my carbon footprint to a point that it doesn't. You know ethical sense for me to be able to keep that going. So we worked with them on doing two things, reducing their box sizes, which is extremely helpful in keeping that waste down into your point. Great. Making sure that it's more efficient for the carrier. Right. And we did that with our modeling software that we have where they could be able to say, okay, if I, if I take this 18 by 12 by 12 inch box, I know I can get it into a 16 by 10 by 10 watches. The system goes through and kind of rewrites all those patterns. Under that new, what if parameter of a dimension for the box saved them a substantial amount of money. And likewise and transportation, if you can shorten the distance from point a to point B. It not only is more sustainable and the fact that you're, you're using less miles, it's more efficient for the carrier and your client gets the package faster for less money. So we worked with them on our modeling going through and doing a DC analysis where we say, look, these are the strategic locations that you probably need to be shipping from in order to reach your customers within a two day window. So it's one of those things I think more. Want a sustainability component to their business, but it's been hard to track it. And it's hard to identify from a data perspective confirmation of what they feel kind of a, from a gut instinct right back to their business.

Cory Connors:

Yeah, that's a great point. How do we, how do we track something when we don't know what the starting point is? And that's a big question right now. That's a lot of times when I'll ask people about sustainable packaging, they'll say, well, you got to know where you are today, so you can know where you need to get to. And, and that sounds like the same in supply chain.

Caleb Nelson:

Yeah. But a 100% it's, it's the it's the feeling that individual shippers have. That say, look, I have a gut feeling we're, we're wasting packaging. I've a gut feeling we're overspending comparative to where we should be. And I, I have a feeling that maybe there's a more efficient way to be able to do it, but there's no easy way to totally validate it. So shippers spend a lot of time in Excel trying to run some Excel numbers through. Really call that being trapped in Excel. Hell whether they're trying to work on pivot tables and answer some of these questions, when there are easier solutions that are out there,

, Cory Connors:

that's incredible. And it sounds like your system will, will help them identify those savings and in both dollars and cents and in sustainability.

Caleb Nelson:

Absolutely. And putting it back to. Score or something that's tangible for them. We've created a, what's called a sifted score. It's kind of like a credit score, but for shippers to be able to say, okay, I've made these adjustments. Now I want to share those adjustments and talk about. The fact that our organization is now more sustainable and putting it to a score to say, look at our sustainability score, went from, you know, 100 to a four 50. It's something that they can be able to talk about internally have that conversation with, you know, their COO or CFO or see. To say, this is the impact that I, as an individual at the organization has made is extremely helpful too. So putting something tangible around the sustainability piece has been a I think something that's been missing in the industry that we we've fought really hard to put a place in the mark.

Cory Connors:

I agree. And with the onset of extended producer responsibility, there, there's going to be a need for those kinds of measurements where someone can say, look, I've got it, I've got this score. You know, and it used to be that so here we are, we're improving.

Caleb Nelson:

Yep. And something in terms of e-commerce businesses in particular to have something at your point of checkout that has something related to. The sustainability of your organization, the end, the efforts thereby you've, you've attempted to be able to be more of a sustainable company. I think is, is really impactful for what buyers want buyers want to know that the companies that they're ordering product from are responsible and sustained.

Cory Connors:

Yeah. I saw a stat the other day. 70% of people will pay more money for sustainable packaging. And I thought, wow, that's a, that's really cool to see that that consumers are, are aware of this and they care. That makes me feel.

Caleb Nelson:

Yeah, I, you, you take that competitive example that we talked about earlier. Okay. If I have a product that another company has and it's it's for the same price you're, you're totally correct. Shippers or consumers have early indicators. Not only is the sustainability piece emotionally important for them in terms of where they're buying the product from, but they are willing to pay a little bit more money for it. Whether it is in the packaging itself or they're willing to, in some cases, wait a little bit longer for a more sustainable routing option. If it gets there within, you know, two or three days longer than what it usually is, Yeah. And the shipper or the, the consumer knows that it was shipped in the most economical and more sustainable route possible, I think is something that's really interesting that shippers should be really kind of incorporating into their, their checkout process as an e-commerce and consumers are more patient and willing to pay a little bit more for.

Cory Connors:

Yeah. And, and they've kind of been forced to be a little bit more patient late lately with supply chain issues, but well done. So what's, what's coming up for sifted. Anything exciting that you guys have in the works that you can talk about?

Caleb Nelson:

Yeah, so it's, it's sustainability, but on steroids I think is really what we're embracing moving forward. So sustainability, in terms of working with FedEx and ups shippers that is being brought out to regional parcel carriers like on-track or LaserShip or lone star, which are, you know, regional carriers that service a particular part of the United States extremely well. We have a lot of customers that are looking for sustainability. Data modeling options around that as well as breaking into less than truckload palletized freight. We have you know a partnership upcoming with 48 40 and their sustainable pallet program that I think is really important to have there's a substantial amount of us goods being moved on, on pallets today and finding a more sustainable way to be able to do that. Track it, model it and then report back to your industry and to your your colleagues is really what sifted itself.

Cory Connors:

Does that pallet program have to do with the pallets themselves? Will they be a reusable, like a chip pallet or a plastic pallet or something like that?

Caleb Nelson:

Yep, that's correct. And it's more, more along the lines of recycled pallets themselves. Gotcha. Through their pallet recycling program. That I think is really helpful. I, I walked through a parking garage the other night on my way to to a dinner and a. There was a sign that was out there that just said free pallets and a stack of 12 pallets that are out there. So the amount of waste that's really happening in transportation when it comes to not just pallets, but corrugated boxes and the space that is wasted within those boxes. And therefore what ends up in landfills is really astonishing and needs to be addressed. The beneficial part is that not only does it need to be addressed and it's good for the environment, but it's. It's a great thing for the business to do, to reduce their overall. It's a no brainer. Very

Cory Connors:

true. Very true. Pallets are, are, have spiked in costs. And just because of supply and demand, I, I, a few months ago I had a pallet manufacturer on the show and she said, That we have, wood we have lots of wood? We just can't make them fast enough for the supply that's needed. And I thought, wow. I thought there was a literal wood shortage. No, there's not a, there's not a lumber shortage. We just can't process it through the mills. Fast enough to keep up with the spike. So we're using pallets is absolutely critical in sustainability. So, how can we get ahold of you guys, if we're ready to be more sustainable with our supply chain,

Caleb Nelson:

pretty easy sifted.com and we make it really simple. And that website just S I F T E d.com. Gives you a lot of great examples on what are. Do and how we're able to help shippers across the country. We also have an, I I'll include this for your audience as well. Just in terms of a link, we have a sustainability ebook, a guide that gives you five simple and a really effective ways to be able to reduce your carbon footprint increase your sustainability. Platform within your organization things that you can be taking action on right now. And that's always a great resource for individual shippers who want to learn a little bit more about ways that they can be more sustainable as an Oregon. You can also add me on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. I think it's a great platform for the packaging community as well as the transportation community. You've got some great content on there, Cory, and a lot of individual commenters that I've seen that follow you, call themselves pack a holics, which I really liked. I think that's spot on and I think it becomes a really cool. Passion and obsession on finding ways to be optimized within your boxes and in your packages. There are some as I mentioned, pretty, pretty bad waste items that are happening in the industry right now that I would love to see some of that behavior change.

Cory Connors:

Yeah, well said, and absolutely there's a lot of pressure on us as packaging professionals. And as, as supply chain professionals, we have to solve these issues in order to keep business going in order to keep people employed in order to keep costs down so people can afford groceries. So it's, , I take it seriously and I can see that you do. That's

Caleb Nelson:

important. Yeah. It's it's something, you know, once you understand the inner workings and the wastes, , it becomes something that you'll, you do become passionate about. And I honestly think most. Like 99% of businesses really do care about it. They have a really hard time quantifying what it would take in order for them to be able to make that change. And they have a fear in some, some ways that it's going to cost them more. When in reality, it's going to save them. It's answering that question of how much will this save me? And what do I need to do that is the challenge. A lot of times that's found in the data that's found in the transportation data, that's found in the way that the carriers bill you that's found in the extra fees that are associated or tacked onto it. So being able to kind of calculate that and understand it and model it. And then go back to other individuals within your own company to say, this is what we should be doing. And this is why we should be doing it. Makes it really easy at that point. It's all that front end load work that is really challenging. And that's exactly what sifted does and why we exist is we help companies get to those decisions faster.

Cory Connors:

Excellent. Well, keep up the good work, sir. We appreciate it. Thanks for being on the show. This was great.

Caleb Nelson:

Thank you, Cory . Appreciate your time.