Packaging case studies, Packaging expertise

5 tips to maximise your delivery potential

26 Apr 2022 —
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E-commerce can add pressure to packing, shipping and delivery functions that fulfil customer orders.

E-commerce can add pressure to packing, shipping and delivery functions that fulfil customer orders.

The periods of peak demand like Black Friday or the holiday season can test even the most efficient operations

The stakes are high. While e-commerce platforms present enormous opportunities to reach new markets and customers, if packaging and fulfilment operations don’t keep up with your sales team, you could lose customers as quickly as you win them.

Companies that want to sustainably grow their online sales need to accurately forecast their periods of peak demand and make sure their packaging processes are optimised for speed, safety, and efficiency. That includes assessing your packaging materials, packing stations, staffing needs and warehouse processes.

Here are five key issues to address in your packaging operation

1. Managing your inventory

Inventory management is crucial for all product manufacturers. Keep too much product on hand and you’re wasting costly warehouse space. Too little and you may not be able to meet customer demand. The same is true of your packaging materials. Businesses often have a variety of packaging needs for products of different shapes and sizes. Some require more protective material and fill than others.

 

Inventory Management

 

Having enough cardboard, paper, plastic and fill material on hand and accessible is is key to achieving efficient operations. Consider rationalising the number of materials you use and simplify your procedures to help reduce the number of different packaging processes you undertake.

2. Get your packing stations in order

A well-organized packing area will keep order fulfilment flowing without costly delays that can lead to late deliveries and unhappy customers. Machinery and semi-automated processes can vastly improve the speed and quality of the packaging function allowing your staff to be more efficient. It also makes your employees more productive and generally keeps them safer.

 

Packaging Station

 

Some automation options to consider include:

Automated Base Tray And Lid System

  • An automated base tray and lid system can produce different sized cartons for a variety of products, automatically creasing and folding cardboard to minimise empty space and the need for void fill.

Automated Air And Paper Void Fill System

  • Automated air and paper void fill systems can produce protective fill material as and when required. They also take up far less space than bags of polystyrene chips and similar products.

Automated And Semi-Automated Pallet Wrapping Machines

  • Automated and semi-automated pallet wrapping machines can wrap faster and more securely than manual wrapping. It reduces product damage in transportation, cuts costs in the long run and is safer for employees.

3. Think small

Heavy shipments are costly to transport, and packaging can add to the problem. While packaging must fulfil its protective function for products, there are often opportunities to reduce the size and weight of packaging to lower financial and environmental costs. Lighter materials directly reduce the postage and shipping cost per package. Right-sized packaging that better fits the product inside reduces both the volume of packaging required and the need for void fill to secure the contents

A smaller, lighter package will be cheaper to transport and more friendly to the environment, but there are costs to get there. Businesses need to analyze their operations to determine potential opportunities for improvement. It may require a redesign of your current packaging and changes to processes in your packaging and warehousing operations. In the long run, however, the savings can more than make up for the initial cost of changing practices.

4. Label packages well

Accurate, clear and durable labels are essential to getting packages to their destinations efficiently and with better traceability. If you’re producing small numbers of packages, labels can be purchased at post offices and other suppliers. More likely, you require large enough quantities to merit printing your own labels. Label printers are fast, efficient and affordable which can be incorporated into logistics software systems to produce the standardised information needed for packaging, as well as barcodes and/or QR codes.

 

Packaging Labels

 

Self-adhesive labels reduce the need for tape to secure them. It pays to use high quality, moisture-resistant labels that won’t come off their packages. Also make sure your label format is consistent with that of your carrier.

5. Think customer experience

Packaging is often the first contact your customers have with your products, and it makes a very important impression. Low cost and process efficiency are both key considerations in packaging decisions, but aesthetics and customer experience should also be part of the equation

 

Customer Experience And Packaging

 

For some items, minimal, simple packaging may make the most sense. If the material is eco-friendly, make that clear to the customer. Creative and appealing artwork or content, however, can reinforce your brand image and strengthen customer loyalty. Some form of personalisation can also make a good impression. It could be a personal message demonstrating knowledge or interest in the customer, or it could be the inclusion of vouchers or freebies with orders. Pleasing customers is what business, online and off, is all about. Packaging can help achieve that.

 

E-commerce is the future of business

E-commerce is here to stay and every business that handles products should have a strategy in place to fulfil online orders. Customers are only becoming more demanding in terms of the speed, (very fast), and cost, (zero) they expect in the fulfilment of their online orders. It is hard to overstate the importance of packaging in meeting those expectations and handling ecommerce logistics efficiently. The right materials combined with efficient processes can help businesses control costs during the busiest periods of the year. They can also prove crucial to creating satisfied repeat customers who will help your ecommerce sales continue to grow.