Jim Kulbeth

Recent Posts

Keep Track of Your Returnable Assets with RFID

Posted by Jim Kulbeth on Wed, Jul 01, 2015


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) isn’t a new technology. It has been keeping track of many things over the years from vehicles to pets. The read/write benefits of RFID tags are a better and less labor intensive way of tracking items than bar coding/scanning items individually.

What exactly is RFID?

Developed over 40 years ago, RFID tags have evolved into small devices containing a microchip to store data, a battery, and an antenna to transmit and receive info. An RFID reader in proximity to the tag picks up radio waves transmitted by the tag. Readers do not require direct line of sight to read tags, meaning that tags are read faster and without operator intervention.

As the technology has improved, the costs of tags and readers have come down making RFID affordable for almost any application and industry.

Incorporating RFID into reusable containers

Returnable and reusable containers offer high quality, sustainable material handling solutions which offer cost and operational efficiency. These ideal containers protect and transport a wide range of goods including agricultural crops and consumer products. A challenge is presented in knowing where they are and making plans to have them returned.

Adding RFID tracking is an excellent solution. The system is made up of three components: RFID tags, a reader, and a software program. The tags are in label form and are placed on each container. Once each tag is attached, all the containers can be palletized and tracked as they move throughout the supply chain. With RFID, human errors are eliminated with the reader’s ability to automatically scan the container and log the information.

How can this help your business?

Asset tracking allows you to locate items and know exactly where they are located throughout the supply chain. It significantly increases operational efficiency and reduces costs. Containers monitored through RFID are located and returned at a higher rate than those without tracking at little or no effort.

The system enables built-in alerts and authorization controls for customized tracking. RFID reduces or eliminates labor costs and eliminates human error in tracking and management. The ability to easily locate returnable assets enables cost effective management of business information.

RFID tracking is an excellent way to track returnable assets. Automatic data gathering provides information for you to improve businesses processes and optimize operations. With RFID technology products are visible throughout the supply chain and helps improve process management.

Want to know more? Request a Quote.

Tags: rfid, reusable containers

Improve Efficiency Across Your Business with Produce Boxes

Posted by Jim Kulbeth on Tue, Mar 24, 2015

macrobin_33As packers, growers, processors, and any other business owner involved in the agricultural industry fully know, no two kinds of produce bins are exactly alike. The industry imposes a range of challenges, with issues that many business owners need to consider and address, depending on the application.

Business owners may need to ask some questions as to the best method of storing or moving their produce from harvest to storage, as well as shipping over long distances. Owners also need be aware of methods of inexpensively transferring produce from facilities to market while protecting goods from spoilage and maintaining quality and freshness.

Here are common questions business owners should ask when working with produce boxes, and reasons why plastic produce boxes are better suited for a range of cost and performance benefits.

  1. Is the Storage Bin FDA Compliant?

Since produce boxes handle either food products or materials that are used in food production, they need to be compliant with statutes from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA requires that produce boxes prevent chemicals from coming into contact with produce and vice versa. This applies even if the storage is meant to be long-term. Plastic produce boxes are designed thoroughly for food and consumable material, and comply with all FDA storage and food handling requirements.

  1. Is the Box Long Lasting?

Everyone knows that cardboard boxes and flexible bags are not made of the strongest materials. They can easily puncture or rip, get damaged, and ruin the product inside. Plastic produce boxes, on the other hand, are built for longevity and perform well for years. This saves businesses costs over time and  as such, your produce will last longer than with other disposable boxes.

  1. Can the Box Handle Impact?

Flimsy cardboard or impractically expensive wooden boxes only add to the overall costs for a business. They have a low weight, damage, and impact threshold, easily getting damaged when they’re slammed, skidded, dropped, or improperly stacked.

Plastic produce boxes have a much higher resistance and strength. They can handle much more weight and damage, protecting the food inside and maintaining the shape and quality of the goods.

For a full list of the advantages of plastic produce bins, download your free eBook, 10 Things to Know About Produce Boxes, and learn how Universal Package can provide you with the plastic produce boxes for all your food storage concerns.

Download 10 Things You Need  to Know about Produce Bins


Tags: produce boxes, macrobins

What Is the “Green Thing?”

Posted by Jim Kulbeth on Mon, Jun 09, 2014


I keep hearing about companies making the decision to, “Go Green.”  During the last few weeks, I have had contact with various companies, as well as friends, that I have posed the question, “Just what is your definition of going green?”  In nearly all cases, the answer has been, “The purchasing of items that have been recycled, or saving refuse from a home or factory, which can be reprocessed into something else to save world resources.”  I then asked, “What if the cost of doing that exceeded the benefits?”  

For example:  You recycle plastic soda bottles.  You collect them, transport them to a recycle center, which transports them to a recycle processor, who grinds them, washes the product, transports them to a manufacturer, who then makes a “Recycled Product.”

The ultimate cost of doing all of this has saved a couple of barrels of oil needed to make the original product, but at the end of the day, did it save anything?   There were a lot of transportation fees involved in the movement of the product, before and after the recycling process, and a substantial amount of energy used, that is derived from oil, gas or coal, to make it into a new product.  So, did we save a natural resource?  I am not so sure.  What we did accomplish, is the creation of jobs at every step of the process.  We also reduced the content placed in our landfills.  This is all very important, but (without doing a huge economic impact study) my argument is that the average person’s perception of what recycling does is not as absolute as they believe.

Universal Package, as well as many other companies in our industry, are working to protect the environment, but in a manner that is a bit different than the normal perception.  We deal with reusable packaging.  We sell, as well as manufacture, containers that can be reused for many years.  The only cost that can be charged against this form of recycling is the cost to return the container to its original location, for refilling for the next trip.  It is our experience, that once a container is no longer in working condition, a large percentage of them can simply be repaired and put back into service for more years of service, without using all the aforementioned energy sources to make new product.  At some point in time, it will go to the recycler and the process starts again, as explained in the beginning of this article. In most cases, it costs less to repair and reuse than to recycle and reuse.

We can all contribute to the preservation of the environment.  For future generations, we need to start the education process of recycling in the schools, as we did with reducing smoking, and using seatbelts in vehicles.  For the older folks, we have to get practical and just do what is right.  Let’s ensure our generations to come, that we are striving to make a world that is better than we left it.

Tags: bulk boxes, custom plastic containers, custom container, green, environment, recycling, reusing

Customer Service, Business Ethics and Values....What's Gone Wrong?

Posted by Jim Kulbeth on Mon, Dec 20, 2010

UP-work-ethic-blog.jpgCan somebody tell me what happened to the old fashion values in business?  I can remember a time when all it took was two people to make a verbal agreement, and the deal was done.  Customer service lived up to its name, companies instilled good values into their employees, customers came first, and morals and ethics were a “Must” to maintain your job.  

I hate calling a company, taking 10 minutes to negotiate my way through a maze to get to the extension that I want to speak with only to get another computer asking me to leave a message.  In my company, I want a person to answer the phone by the second ring.  The only time I want one of my customers to speak with a machine is if they prefer to leave a phone message.  I can tell you that if I have a choice of doing business with a machine or a person, the person wins every time.  It may cost me a few cents more but I get it back in service.

What happened to the common courtesy of calling a person and cancelling a meeting before you drive six hours to find that your meeting has been cancelled?   I can think of nothing more aggravating than traveling 300 miles to meet with someone (at his or her request), only to arrive and find the person is not there, and there has been no arrangement made for you to meet with someone who has at least a crumb of information on the project.  It is inconvenient, costly and time consuming.

What happened to companies with good morals and ethics?  In today’s world the larger companies dictate the terms of any purchase orders or contracts with little regard to how it will affect the smaller company.  They want to be paid in 30 days, but 60 to 90 days to get paid by them is the norm. They simply tell you that if you do not want to do the deal, they will give it to someone who will.  It never crosses their mind that someday, when times are good, they may need that small company.  The old saying “What goes around comes around” is very true.

The onus is on management to set the standards for their employees.  No better example can be presented than the demise of ENRON CORPORATION.  The management instilled values in the company that was mimicked all the way down through the employee chain.  That company failed.  Just remember:   “GOOD EMPLOYEES MAKE A COMPANY, IF THE COMPANY MAKES GOOD EMPLOYEES.” 

Jim Kulbeth, Retired Founder
Universal Package

 Jimmy Kulbeth


Tags: customer service, morals, ethics, values

4 Reasons to Consider a Custom Plastic Container

Posted by Jim Kulbeth on Fri, May 21, 2010

Custom plastic containers, or cut and welded conCustom Plastic Container Built for Military Applicationtainers, cost more per unit than a standard container that your products fit into "pretty well."  So why should you pay more for a custom container?  We'll give you 4 good reasons and try to make you a believer.

1.  The most expensive thing you can store and ship is air.  When your products fit into an off-the-shelf container "pretty well", chances are you have many air pockets that you can eliminate with a custom plastic container.

2.  If you stop packing "air" into your containers, you're going to be able to pack and ship more product per cubic foot, meaning your transportation costs are going to decrease.  Whether it's a sea container, train, or tractor trailer, you'll be cubing out the space with product, not with air.

3.  A custom plastic container can be built to fit your product perfectly.  This is going to result in less product damage during shipping.

4.  Loading and unloading parts or products into a custom container is going to be much easier, and require less time since the container is built specfically for the application.  Your product is 104.5 inches long....a custom plastic container can be built to hold items 104.5 inches long.

Custom, cut and welded plastic containers are not the solution to every storage and shipping application, but if you're forcing your product to fit into off-the-shelf containers it may be time to weigh the alternative.



Tags: custom plastic containers, cut and welded containers, custom container