Facts & figures:
- Launched in February 2010
- 18 participating members in the IPC Bag Pool, with Deutsche Post joining in May 2014
- More than 700,000 bags dispatched with mail in 2013
- around 75,000 bags in stock
- Managed and monitored via CAPE Vision tool with the Bag Management Function (BMF)
The IPC Bag specifications
The Bag measures 110 x 75 cm, it has a rope around the rim for tight hanging on the bag racks. The bottom of the bag receives an additional thickness for protection against wear and tear. It is made of polypropylene, a fully recyclable material. It has a water repellent and anti-static coating, making it convenient and comfortable to use. Finally it has no seams on the bottom or the sides, providing additional security. During approximately 3 years of operations, the wear and tear rate is extremely low.
What are the benefits?
The IPC Bag brings three types of benefits for its users.
- The first benefit is standardisation in operations. Standardisation always brings operational benefits. Using one type of bag only within the pool members means that the total number of bags is much smaller because bags come and go from one member to another. This eliminates the sending back (or repatriation) of members’ own bags back to their origin. Working staff do not have to worry about separating and storing large numbers of different bags. The IPC Bag is also comfortable to use and easy to store.
- The second benefit is financial. The purchasing power of a single buyer, the smaller number of Bags purchased and re-purchased every year, the reduction of storage space, repatriation costs and manpower costs bring significant savings for the Pool members.
- Finally the last benefit is environmental. The limited repatriations mean reductions in transport and CO2 emissions. The IPC Bag itself is fully recyclable, from the material itself to the dyeing and printing ink. IPC ensured that the Bags are manufactured in compliance with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards.
How it is managed and monitored?
IPC centrally manages the Bag Pool using a tool developed in CAPE Vision, called the Bag Management Function (BMF). This application enables IPC to monitor Bag operations and movements daily and to initiate repatriations from net importing members to net exporting members as required, thus ensuring that every member has a sufficient stock of bags at all times. IPC also performs central purchasing of bags and re-supplies.
Every member has appointed one National Bag Coordinator who is in regular contact with IPC Central Control to perform local monitoring, send out local instructions for use, storage and repatriations. He will report on monthly inventories to IPC central control and ensure that the bag is properly used only on the valid routes agreed between participating posts, currently about 350.
Future and next steps
After three years of smooth operations, IPC plans to extend the Bag Pool and has contacted several members who are not Bag Pool members yet. Similarly non IPC members have been approached as the Pool has proven that it is one of the best streamlining tools available.