Monday, June 22, 2009

Square is now hip for watermelons

With summer now in its first official days I long for tasty sweet watermelons, particularly on those hot days. And while I never thought much about how much space they took up in my parents refrigerator when I put on my supply chain hat I can see where the trouble lies -- they are not easy to store, pack or ship. Until now.

Not only do they weight a lot, but they are oval, making stacking them incredibly difficult. The solution is of course square and for $80 USD in Japan you can buy yourself a square watermelon apparently. The Japanese have figured out that if you put glass containers on the fruits as they begin to grow, as they mature, they will take the shape of the container. Brilliant.

While this is great for consumers, it's really great for green supply chains. No more empty space between oval fruits, now producers can stack them and ship them just like boxes of laptops, i.e. more watermelons in less space, means better efficiency. Now they just need to get the price down to something more reasonable.

1 comment:

Bruce H Anderson said...

Volumetric efficiency may be higher, but how do you get there? Consider the packaging of this interesting fruit. Regular watermelons are shipped in large "Gaylord" type bins that hold dozens. These are individually bagged and boxed. And of course there is the amount of labor to package, the labor to fiddle with the glass bottles, the storage and handling of the glass, box formers, palletizers, and I am sure there is an etcetera necessary. Normal watermelons take none of that. Expecting these square melons to be anything more than an expensive novelty may be an exercise in futility.