Packaging is an emotive subject. Most often we complain items are overpackaged but sometimes – as with my own personal experience this week – they come not packaged at all, ruining surprises and risking product damage.
So how do retailers and their fulfilment partners get it right? Andrew Smedley, divisional manager for packaging at Antalis, says they must ensure that packaging is fit for purpose: “This year’s record sales during the Black Friday weekend highlights the continued shift in culture in UK retail, with the surge of pre-Christmas shoppers expected to continue well into December.
“Although the packaging and distribution operation isn’t always a top priority in this, with the majority of purchases now taking place online, it’s now more important than ever before to ensure that not only is a products packaging solution well designed to prevent damage, it must also allow for prompt delivery to meet demand,” he says.
The packaging process should be optimised to create efficiencies before, during and after the retail rush, he says. “This is where small changes, such as reorganising your packing area for easier access or reducing your packaging materials in order to free up more warehouse space, can make a huge difference in terms of reducing waste, speeding up the packing process and reducing lead-times. A streamlined process also goes a long way in reducing unnecessary costs which can creep up during peak times,” says Smedley.
His five top tips are below:
1) Organise packaging
Make sure enough packaging material is available, easily accessible and that packers are fully trained to maximise efficiency.
2) Reduce packaging materials
Free up valuable warehouse space by ordering smaller volumes for regular delivery as you need them.
3) Review your entire process
Assess every touchpoint in your packaging process, from picking to the moment the package leaves the warehouse. You’ll certainly find ways to streamline your process.
4) Speed up packaging
From self-erecting crash-lock boxes for faster operative packing through to automated machinery, there are lots of ways to help speed up packaging.
5) Reduce transport costs
Again, less is more. Reducing package size not only means more can fit onto a pallet which allows you to get more orders out in one delivery, it also cuts carrier tariff costs.
Image credit: Fotolia