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MTD Case Study Cover Blue

Reusability saves MTD $20 million
on packaging costs and avoids over
270 million pounds of waste with a
Reusable Packaging Program

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Program Background

MTD Products is an American manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, including top-quality lawn mowers and snow blowers. Leading mass retailers and independent retail channels carry their products, including home improvement and hardware stores, independent dealers, and farm supply stores. Stewardship is a core value of the company since its inception, and as part of being good stewards, the organization is committed to operating in an economically sustainable manner.

Industry: Power Sports & Lawncare
Location: United States
Services: Reusable Packaging Management
MTD Crate

The Problem

MTD saw their relationship weakening with one of their top customers, The Home Depot, due to the follow-up required to handle their disposable lawnmower packaging. MTD shipped their lawnmowers to stores in disposable wooden crates, which created challenges.

Initially, they struggled with their lawnmower packaging, made from disposable wooden crates. After seeing the impact their packaging challenges had on customers, they connected with Reusability in 2007 to determine a better way to deliver their products to The Home Depot stores throughout the United States.

This boiled down to a number of specific challenges MTD needed to overcome, including:

  • Time & Costs: MTD only used each wooden crate once at that
    time. Unpacking and disposing of them was
    time-consuming and generated extra costs.

  • Safety Issues & Injuries: The Home Depot employees had to use electric saws to cut the wood while unpacking the lawnmowers. This process caused injuries.

  • Product Damage: Using electric saws to cut the wood during unpacking would also sometimes result in product damages. With an expensive product such as lawnmowers, this was problematic.

  • Waste Disposal: Unpacking operations generated large amounts of wood for trash. That waste had a significant impact on the environment.

The Goal

Determine a better solution for leveraging reusable crates to
reduce costs and improve operations for the customers MTD
shipped to nationwide, including The Home Depot.

The Solution

The Home Depot has had a successful partnership with Reusability for years and suggested that MTD work with us to help solve their challenges. With 20+ years of expertise managing our EZRack assets and recovering them from retailers nationwide, we worked with MTD to design and execute a customized Reusable Packaging Program (RPP), which included a 3-phase approach and rollout. The solution was able to immediately impact MTD’s cost, environmental, and safety challenges. The three phases included:

  • Reuse of Disposables: We leveraged our experience recovering assets from retailers and our nationwide network of recovery agents to pick up MTD’s crates from The Home Depot and deliver them back to their facilities. This first phase allowed MTD to reuse each wooden crate three times before they had to be disposed of, decreasing their cost on new packaging and the waste to the environment.
  • Designed Reusable Packaging: Looking for a more significant environmental impact, MTD and Reusability worked together to design a complete returnable packaging solution. As a first step, Reusability developed the crate pilot and committed to owning the prototypes to make the program succeed.

  • Fully Optimized RPP: With the model’s success realized, MTD took on the production and ownership of its reusable crates. Reusability leveraged its
    operational excellence to successfully minimize the number of trips needed to recover and manage the overall program

The Results

Reusability helped MTD solve their initial challenges and realize cost savings and sustainability impacts through a Reusable Packaging Program designed for their needs. Our flexibility allowed MTD to utilize a phased approach that supported their long-term goals while balancing their short-term cash flow needs. We offered multiple options for rolling out a solution that worked
for them and their customers

  • Cost Savings: MTD reduced its lawnmower packaging costs by over $20 million during the program.
  • Sustainability Impact: The program saved over 70,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, representing a forest area equal to 60,000 football stadiums.
  • Waste Reduction: MTD also avoided over 270 million pounds of waste.

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