Brent Harrison has an idea that would save melon grower-shippers money, reduce labor for retailers and eliminate waste in the supply chain.
Unfortunately for Al Harrison Co., Nogales, Ariz., he can’t do it alone.
“A change would have to be industrywide,” Harrison, the company’s president and chairman of the National Watermelon Association.
“Retailers are set up for 24-inch bins.”
Watermelons typically are shipped and displayed in 24-inch bins.
Harrison said switching to a 30-inch bin would allow shippers to put more than 2,000 extra pounds of watermelon on every truck.
A truckload of 30-inch bins also requires 14 fewer bins and pallets than a truckload of 24-inch bins, saving $250 worth of material on each truckload, he said.
Harrison said that while 24-inch bins are loaded on trucks in stacks of three, 30-inch bins are only double stacked. The difference, he said, would provide better arrivals.
At retail, Harrison said the deeper bins would require less replenishing.
Though the taller bin could be too high for some customers to reach the last melons in the bottom of a bin, Harrison this could be addressed with a perforated, tear-away side panel to allow easier access.
Harrison did a three-month trial with watermelons in 30-inch bins two years ago, and the idea was well received, he said.
The problem, he said, is that when Harrison’s season was over and the retailer switched to another shipper, the chain had to switch back to 24-inch bins.
“It’s a work in progress for us,” he said.