Qbox Frequently Asked Questions

Qbox Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the Qbox good for the environment?

A: Of course! The Qbox can eliminate all transit packaging – NO cardboard, NO tape or strapping to dispose of. The one off environmental cost of manufacturing the Qbox is divided over several hundred trips during the Qbox lifetime. There is no landfill or disposal cost associated with other transit boxes for flowers and plants.

Q: How quickly can we assemble the Qbox?

A: Manual assembly takes about the same time as for an equivalent cardboard box. An experienced person will be able to assemble well over 200 double collar Qboxes per hour. It is quickest to pre-clip the flat collars together in whichever combination required (i.e. 1 large and 1 small collar) and then open the combined collars so that the can be clipped to the tray.

Q: Is there an assembly machine available?

A: Yes – you can find information on this in the development page of this website.

Q: How do we manage the Qbox pool?

A: Every “pool” is different, but generally a pool management company will purchase the Qbox assets from us and they will manage the pool on behalf of the retailer (For example: Linpac Services manage the Marks and Spencer pool, Norbert Dentressangle manage the pool for Asda and Kuehne + Nagel for Waitrose). This means that every time the Qbox is issued to a supplier for use, then the supplier is charged a “rental” or “trip” charge. This charge will cover the finance and depreciation (normally over 5-6 years), the control and administration, the collection/sortation and if required washing costs.

Q: How much will the Qbox cost?

A: The simple answer is “less than the equivalent cardboard box”!! As a retailer you should expect to save money from the very first Qbox you use. In addition to the direct savings vs. the equivalent cardboard box, there are transport and handling efficiencies. With no waste to dispose of and be taxed on the total savings can be very significant.

Q: How is the Qbox operated and paid for?

A: The Qbox is rented to the suppliers who are using it and the rental or trip fee is typically around £0.10 per component (tray, small collar or large collar). So a 60cm high Qbox (1 tray, 2 large collars) will cost the supplier approx £0.30 per use. This fee includes the direct costs of capital cost, management, return, washing and losses …. So that when the asset has been amortised, there is a significant cost saving vs. cardboard boxes. We would expect you to have covered the capital cost within 2-3 years

Q: Do we need to wash the Qbox every trip?

A: Most of the Qboxes in use today are only washed when required. As they return from stores they are sorted by the pool management company and if they have been contaminated then they are set aside for washing. From experience less than 5% of the components require washing.

Q: What losses can we expect during use?

A: Losses occur for two reasons – (1) Shrinkage …… this depends on how good your control system is and how “closed” the loop is. Shrinkage should be maximum 2-3% p.a. (2) Damages ….. Like all returnable transit packaging in harsh retail environments the Qbox has been designed to last. The first Qboxes have been in the Marks and Spencer supply chain since 2003 and breakages have been extremely low (less than 0.1% per trip).

Q: What happens when a Qbox breaks?

A: As with all hinged components, breakages will eventually occur (as explained above). The Qbox collars have been designed so that each of the six panels can be unclipped and replaced. This means that if one panel is broken it can be replaced with a good panel from another collar. By “cannibalising” the collars in this way, then typically, from any 10 broken collars only 2-3 will actually be discarded. As the trays are a solid component, then they are extremely robust and damage is rare.

Q: How long will a Qbox last?

A: The Qbox has been tested rigorously to over 300 trips (or the equivalent of 15 years at 20 trips per year). The tests have simulated the most robust supply chain, with heavy loads, rough handling. The earliest Qboxes have been used for over 150 trips and are still going strong!

Q: Can we have our own Qbox colour?

A: Typically each retailer or pool operator will want their colour and this is no problem. We have designed different colours for each pool so as long as your colour can be distinguished from the others in your country or region then we can make them to you corporate colours.

Q: How easy are the Qboxes to open and fold down?

A: Very easy – the collars unclip and then lift off. When off, the collars fold down and stack inside an empty box (see training downloads).

Q: What is the return efficiency of the Qbox?

The Qbox nesting ration is on average 85% - this means that 10 incoming Qboxes will, when folded down reduce to the space of approximately 1.5.

Q: Does the Qbox stack onto all pallets and dollies?

A: The Qbox has a footprint of 300mm x 400mm so it stacks and locates onto most modern dollies (4 per layer on a 600mm x 800mm dolly). It will also stack 10 per layer on a 1200mm x 1000mm pallet or 8 per layer on a Euro pallet (1200mm x 800mm)

Q: How do we train store staff to use the Qbox?

A: We have had experience of the most effective way to train staff. You can download some examples of training documents here. We recommend that a version of the pictorial sheets be sent to stores prior to launch and that the black and white line drawing be placed in the top of boxes for the first week or so of deliveries.

Q: How do we repair the Qbox?

A: We provide training support to show the depots where sortation is happening how to identify and repair damaged collars. It is very simple and quick requiring no special equipment.

Q: Can we do a trial of the Qbox?

A: We are often able to facilitate a small scale trial with some trial Qboxes.

Q: Can we use our existing buckets?

A: The Qbox will work with standard 5 litre, 8 litre, 10 litre and 13 litre buckets.

Q: What happens if the water spills in the Qbox?

A: The Qbox is designed to channel water spills to the OUTSIDE of the Qbox collar so it will not drip onto flowers in a box bellow. Unlike cardboard boxes and collars, the Qbox will not collapse, no matter how wet it gets.

Q: Does the Qbox need a lid?

A: The Qbox is designed to stack onto an open topped Qbox without a lid. The tray on the upper box forms a lid. The Qbox is very strong and totally secure without a lid. If in certain circumstances a lid is required for other reasons then the standard tray inverts and locates onto the top of the collar as a lid.

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