In material handling the word tote is used to describe a wide range of containers. Depending on the industry you’re in or the region you live in you might have a much different perception of what a tote looks like.
For starters, when you look it up in the dictionary, it specifies tote as a verb which means “to carry something usually large or awkward”.
It makes sense then that many different people in different industries and regions use the word to describe something different. Because while people in the Central Valley of California might “tote” grapes from the field, people in Detroit can “tote” automotive parts to the assembly line.
This is why we have to be better listeners when our customers talk to us about totes. For example, plastic agricultural cases, plastic liquid intermediate bulk containers (IBC’s), and plastic bulk bins are all referred to as totes.
To make it more confusing in the IBC world, many people only refer to totes as the flexible IBC bags (or supersacks) rather than the rigid IBC containers. The cost on the two differs by about $200 apiece so you can see why it’s important to make sure we know what we’re talking about.
So If you’re confused what to call your material handling container just call it a tote. You are probably trying to carry something large or awkward and a tote will do just fine. We’ll listen to what you are doing with it and help you find the most economic and efficient alternative.