IFCO's Dan Martin Talks New Role, New Products, and More
TAMPA, FL - 2019 means more than just a new year for IFCO, as the company celebrates a landmark $1 billion in annual sales, 8% growth, a new President for North America, and its ever-improving ability to deliver high-quality and affordable produce to millions of consumers all year long.
IFCO veteran Dan Martin has returned to the company as its new President of North America, after five years at CHEP. AndNowUKnow caught up to discuss his new role, where he said he is focused on enhanced collaboration with growers and retailers, the development of new products that keep pace with automation trends, and helping customers boost efficiency and sustainability.
“Automation is transforming the supply chain and the way our customers do business,” says Martin. “Supply chain automation is moving rapidly from Europe, where it has been implemented successfully, to North America and other markets. Our RPCs are the one constant from the field to the retailer, often right to the shelf. RPCs are a must for any automated environment due to their efficiency, strength, and resistance to moisture. Add to that the labor and efficiencies and sustainability benefits, and the case is compelling.”
Since the company was founded in 1992, IFCO's RPCs have made 9.5 billion supply chain trips, moving fresh produce as well as meat, baked goods, and eggs, from farms and production facilities to retail locations.
“Last year, IFCO experienced 8% growth because our RPCs maintain freshness better and are easier to handle than one-way packaging. Our grower and retailer customers, like Tanimura & Antle, Wiers Farm, and Walmart, partner with IFCO because of the tangible benefits of our packaging and the thought leadership and problem-solving skills we provide,” Dan continues.
IFCO will clearly benefit from Dan’s ‘lessons learned’ during his time at CHEP, a sister corporation under parent company Brambles, and a leader in the industry in shared and reusable pallets and bulk containers.
“It’s so great to see how much growth IFCO has experienced under Brambles,” he shares with me. “As I learned at CHEP, we are not simply a supplier of tangible assets, we are in fact, end-to-end supply chain solutions experts.”
This can mean, Dan explains, sharing facilities or much-needed labor or a number of other avenues that empower both sides of the supply chain.
“Transportation strategies, global strategies, network strategies, all are areas that pertain to our customers,” he says. “So that’s going to be something we’ll be doing at a level that we have not done before.”
RPCs are among the most efficient and sustainable packaging for fresh produce, Dan explains. Their design allows superior airflow that maintains freshness and reduces food waste. They are easier to handle, reducing labor costs, and use less energy and water than other forms of packaging.
In short, he says, “the company will focus on sustainability, labor efficiency, and automation as keys to continued growth and to drive value for our customers.”
The year-round fresh food supply chain is a testament to innovation, and IFCO plans to continue to be there every step of the way to help ensure consumers have access to high-quality, fresh and affordable food year-round.
Stay with AndNowUKnow as we to keep our eyes on that horizon and where our industry is off to next.