Think Economically and Environmentally

ICI Paints World Group

Advanced Manufacturing

I hated seeing hardwoods from our Georgia forests-popular, ash and oaks-being used for wood pallets. Slip sheets offer an environmental improvement."

--Steve Ernst, Operations Customer Service Manager, ICI Paints,
Atlanta, Ga.
ICI Paints World Group is a business unit of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), headquartered in London, England. It serves three markets in the paint industry: decorative paints, autobody refinish coatings, and coating for metal cans and lids used by major can manufacturers throughout the world. In North America, ICI’s decorative paints group manufactures and markets paints under the Ameritone, CIL, Decratrend, Devoe, Fuller-O’Brien, Glidden and Sinclair names.

Before and After Slipsheets

Before, the ICI Paints facility in Georgia used about 150,000 to 200,000 wood pallets annually. The hardwood pallets weighed about 35 lbs. and cost about $6 apiece compared to slipsheets that weigh about 2 lbs. and cost $1.50 each. Now about 33 percent of product from the Georgia facility is slipsheeted. Annually, this saves ICI about $297,000 in purchasing costs and easily offsets the capital investment they made in slipsheet handling equipment. Additionally, slipsheets eliminate about 1,089 tons of wood from the waste stream each year.

Making the Transition

Making the switch to slip sheets was “a big challenge” in Ernst’s words. New equipment, finding the right slip sheet, and employee training were needed.

ICI Paints has a liquid product, shipped in fiberboard cases (4 gallons to a carton) and in plastic 5-gallon buckets. The combination of the plastic buckets on a plastic slip sheet led to too much shifting in transport. A custom slip sheet was designed to meet the needs of shipping the 5-gallon product.

Initially, employees were concerned about being slowed down. Forklift operators have to be more careful, and Ernst found that it takes more time to load a truck when goods are on slip sheets, but the cost is not overwhelming. “ICI has not had to hire any additional employees due to slipsheeting, but does pay more overtime at peak times,” he says. The transition to slipsheets was not a major issue according to Ernst. “Using the slipsheeting equipment is not complicated; it just takes getting used to.”

Pallet-Free Program Savings to ICI

Environmental Impact

Payback Period Analysis