Volvo Group Master Thesis: Impact of Disposable Packaging in Automotive Production in Göteborg, Sweden


AB Volvo are considering an increase of the use of one-way packaging as an alternative to wooden returnable packaging for long distance material flows. At the same time there are concerns that one-way packaging material (often cardboard) will have a negative impact on the level of cleanliness inside production plants therefore affecting the production quality.

AB Volvo´s footprint is global with production facilities in Americas, Europe and Asia as well as knock-down production facilities also in Africa and Australia. Furthermore the products have a wide spread including, trucks (of different brands), engines and transmissions, construction equipment, buses, marine and industrial engines. Given the range of location and products, the production facilities all have different prerequisites and requirements. Since 2014 a holistic set of production target styles have been formalized into one document: The Volvo Operations Concept (VOC) in order to harmonize and standardize the supply chain and production processes. This document mainly represents GTO (Group Trucks Operations) but is also, somewhat valid for the other business areas. In the VOC there is no mentioning on how to work with disposable, one-way packaging and today there is not one common view on how to approach one-way packaging as a valid alternative to returnable packaging. There are many reasons behind this lack of consensus and part of the task is to map and analyze the attitude towards one-way packaging in the production facilities.

How a one-way packaging is designed but also the quality of the material will have impact to the level of pollution caused by the packaging itself. Depending on how the one-way packaging is sourced, if it is sourced by the material supplier or centrally through AB Volvo may be of importance when it comes to securing the quality of the packaging material. However, what is the right level of quality and furthermore how should the recycling process be set up if different disposable materials are used. How is the recycling working today at the production facilities and how can it be set up in a better way?

There is an ongoing pilot of cardboard small boxes aiming to replace plastic small boxes in long distance material flows (from supplier to plant). One opportunity is to participate in this pilot to get a deeper analysis from the production facility´s perspective.


The questions Volvo would like an answer to in this area are:

  • What are the negative effects to production environment of using one-way packaging all the way from supplier to production lineside?

  • How to handle mix of returnable packaging and disposable packaging at the plant in order to optimize way of working and enable recycling of disposable material in the best way?

  • How are other automotive companies working with mix of returnable packaging and disposable packaging at the production facilities?

  • What are the potential problems that need to be solved in order to introduce disposable packaging alternatives to current returnable packaging from a production perspective?

  • When it comes to the packaging material and quality; what are the criterias, which materials or levels of quality should be avoided? The question should not be answered in a detailed manner but rather on an overall requirements specification as the size and handling of the packaging may allow different quality of materials to be used.


The full evaluation of disposable packaging vs returnable packaging in terms of cost and environmental impact is not part of the scope. The total scope for Volvo is global, but the thesis work could benefit from a geographical limitation.


Christel Säljö, Acting Director LD EMEA, tel. +46 31 3227765

About us

The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines under the leading brands Volvo, Renault Trucks, Mack, UD Trucks, Eicher, SDLG, Terex Trucks, Prevost, Nova Bus, UD Bus, Sunwin Bus and Volvo Penta.

Volvo Group Trucks Operations encompasses the production of state-of-the-art products for the truck brands of the Volvo Group, as well as Volvo Group engines and transmissions, through an international world class industrial environment.

With Volvo Group Trucks Operations you will be part of a global and diverse team of highly skilled professionals who work with passion, trust each other and embrace change to stay ahead. We make our customers win.

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Group Trucks Operations


Västra Götaland



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Travel Required (Maximum)

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Functional Area