coVer STory 5 m 1

WayS To BooST ecommerce packaging performance

any businesses with an expanding online channel need to ask themselves the question: is a conventional, heavily

manual approach to preparing orders for dispatch still fit for purpose? fulfilling an ecommerce order has always been thought of as an inherently labour intensive activity, involving large teams of pickers and packers. But in the packing area advanced fit-to- size automated packaging technology is transforming operational performance, overcoming many of the obstacles presented by the coViD crisis and providing businesses with significant gains on sustainability, cost reduction, and customer experience. Here are five key points to consider when adopting automation in the packaging area:

the pandemic has propelled ecommerce to new heights, with online order volumes swamping conventional fulfilment centres. how can packaging operations cope? Jo Bradley, business development manager for packaging solutions at Quadient, investigates...

2 Build in sustainaBility

oversized packaging is wasteful. more cardboard is used, void-fill is necessary and fewer packages are carried per trailer, leading

to excessive co2 emissions and higher fuel, material and carriage costs. making each individual package to the exact size needed better protects the item in transit – without the need for void fill – minimises cardboard usage, saves resources and reduces shipping costs. Using advanced 3D scanning technology,

incrEasE capacity – BE ‘pEak rEady’

The traditional, manual, approach to packing has been significantly challenged by three key factors. firstly, following Brexit, available labour

resources are no longer as easy to access. Secondly, since 1st april 2021 the national Living Wage has risen to £8.91 for all employees over 23 years old. and thirdly, coViD-19 social distancing requirements continue to be a headache for organisations. if volumes are set to remain high then

packaging performance will need to be radically improved. greater use of automation in the packing

area will help. But simple, size-constrained machines using only one or two-sizes of box does not cater for the wide variety of products and order sizes experienced by most businesses, leading to wasteful use of materials and extra shipping costs. a more flexible approach is needed. Using fit-to-size auto-boxing technology,

such as Quadient’s cVp everest, one machine can flexibly handle a wide variety of order sizes, creating a perfect-size box for each order at a rate of up to 1,100 packages per hour. The technology has the potential to replace between 20-30 packing desks, offering a rapid roi.

3 rEducE shipping costs

Shipping air serves no purpose, it simply increases cost and negatively impacts the environment. oversized packages contribute directly to more vehicles on the road, pollution, congestion and greater shipping expenses. The larger the box, the fewer can fit into a trailer. Quadient technology, in the form of the cVp

everest or the cVp impack, makes it entirely feasible to maximise the cube of a trailer by reducing package volumes by up to 50 per cent. one major retailer now gets 60 boxes on a pallet as opposed to 30, saving the business a trailer a day – a significant cost saving over a year.

Quadient’s cVp everest perfect-size packaging system scans and measures an item, or group of items, to be packed and calculates the ‘best fit’ box shape and size. material for the box and lid is cut and creased to size, erected around the item(s) and the lid glue-sealed – which is faster and more recyclable than using tape. parcels are then automatically weighted, labelled and away. Using the system goods are better protected

and package volumes can be reduced by up to 50 per cent, cutting cardboard usage by 30 per cent and eliminating the need for void fill.

4 incrEasE opErational EfficiEncy

automation in the form of fit-to-size packing systems can remove the need for between 20-30 packing desks, freeing up increasingly scarce labour resources for other more value adding duties. in addition, the capacity to produce high volumes of perfectly-sized packages at speed can reduce the stress of having to find additional labour at peak. fit- to-size automation enables you to be peak ready and fully equipped for future growth.


EnhancE thE customEr ExpEriEncE

consumers are increasingly disgruntled by wasteful packaging – oversized boxes filled with expanded polystyrene, bubble wrap and other forms of void fill. This is reflected in a ‘Which?’ survey where 48 per cent of customers agree that “excessive packaging is one of the most annoying things about online shopping”. How a package is received is all part of the

brand experience. perfectly sized packaging protects items in transit better, leading to fewer breakages, and less packaging for the customer to dispose of in the recycling bin. The ‘unboxing experience’ is all about presentation – it can play a significant part in a customer’s perception of the product and a positive unboxing experience is more likely to lead to further orders.


6 JUne 2021 | facTory&HanDLingSoLUTionS

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