Although it can often be an afterthought, packaging is a fundamental aspect of supply chain management. Whilst its core purpose is to protect your products, packaging can also play a key role in the correct handling of goods throughout the chain and in brand representation. Whether you’re dealing with large electrical equipment or small pharmaceutical packages, packaging has an impact from the moment it is applied in the warehouse all the way through to the product’s final destination.
The role of packaging in logistics
Implementing an effective and efficient packaging operation is crucial for your company logistics. Your aim is to get goods moving safely throughout the distribution system so that it arrives with the customer in the same condition as it left the warehouse. Packaging plays a huge role in this process, starting with the selection of appropriate robust packaging materials that can withstand the rigours of transportation.
It also enables you to store products efficiently so that you can stack loads, place them on pallets, and move them easily within the warehouse when it comes to preparing for delivery. When goods are being prepared for transport, protective packaging is there to limit the movement of the products and prevent unnecessary damage.
As well as protecting the product, packaging contributes to efficient distribution, makes storage easy, and can convey crucial handling information, all while promoting your company at the same time! With the right process in place, a clever use of packaging can allow you to deliver large quantities in an efficient way, freeing up space, reducing costs, and saving valuable time.
Protecting products with packaging
The protection and preservation of your products is always the number one priority, and packaging plays the most important role in ensuring these goods arrive at their final stop in perfect condition. If it doesn’t fulfil this primary purpose then it could lead to shipping or logistical damages, which in turn leads to repairing or replacing the item and then re-delivering. Not only does this amount to extra costs, but also results in a loss of customer satisfaction and reputation. Taking the time to ensure your packaging is fully preparing your product for its journey will save not just money but also hassle in the long run.
Controlling how packages are handled
Even with outer packaging and protective packaging in place, if a parcel is handled incorrectly at some point along the supply chain then it could lead to costly damage. Packaging is the perfect place to convey important handling information that distributors should know. Different messages can be displayed on boxes, from something as simple as ‘FRAGILE’ to which way up the packaging should be moved. However, there are also occasions where more detailed instructions are required, such as the temperature range your products must be stored at.
Making good use of packaging materials like labels and printed tape is your opportunity to do what you can to make sure that the product arrives in perfect condition. Applying a label with ‘HANDLE WITH CARE’ or ‘DO NOT BEND’ or a tape saying ‘FRAGILE’ when appropriate can make all the difference and potentially save you a lot of money.
Packaging can also be marked with information regarding quality checks. Quality control labels indicate when certain checks have taken place and are colour coded for easy identification. This ensures that only fully approved packages leave the warehouse.
Improving efficiency and reducing downtime
We all know that time is money, and a lot of time can be wasted if your packaging is not organised effectively, or if you do not have the right tools to get loads packed and wrapped quickly for transit. With packaging that is easy to use and tools that minimise packing time, the number of workers required to pack each load can be reduced, freeing them up to do other tasks.
You can boost productivity with strapping tools, pallet wrapping machines, or tape dispensers designed for a smooth and swift application, just to name a few. Getting your products out of the door faster is great for you, as it keeps productivity rolling and frees up space in the warehouse, and is also a plus for your customers.
The delivery speed of products is accelerated when efficient packaging processes are in place, and this increase in productivity can be passed on throughout the supply chain. When you combine this with proper labelling and quality packaging that is suited to the product, you can save time and money and reduce the risk of damage occurring.
Whilst packaging can make storing your goods simpler, you can also free up space by getting ‘just in time’ deliveries of the packaging you need when you need it. Here at Springpack, we offer a stock holding service, so you can order and have quantities delivered when it’s convenient for you. You can get in touch on 0800 651 0110 to find out more about this service.
The choice of packaging type and material
Whilst it may be tempting to use the same box for every product, this amounts to a significant amount of unnecessary packaging waste and increases the likelihood of damage. Every product is different and requires packaging to suit. Factors to consider when choosing packaging include size, shape, weight, and sustainability. These will dictate the packaging type and material that you choose, and in turn will impact how well the package is preserved in transit.
Especially when the goods are fragile, packaging that cushions can make all the difference. There are various types of protective packaging available that are suitable for different types of product. For example, you can use Bubble or Foam products to cushion and absorb the impact should an incident occur during transit.
In some cases, a bespoke packaging solution is required. Here at Springpack, we offer a Specials Service for when you need packaging that is specifically designed to protect your product. Whether you need changes made to a stock item or you need an entirely new design, we can work with you to come up with the optimum solution.
The impact of packaging on the environment
Packaging waste is one of the biggest contributors to landfill in the UK. Without adopting sustainable packaging practices companies produce excess packaging waste that directly contributes to an increase in pollution as more packaging then has to be produced.
Packaging can contribute to sustainability if you choose packaging that is both effective at protecting the product in question, fulfilling its main purpose, and is also reusable or recyclable. If you are experiencing issues with packaging breaking or regularly having to deal with damaged goods then it may be time for a packaging review as doing nothing will only lead to more packaging waste being produced.
In the last evaluation of waste production in the UK, the highest recycling rate was 81.9% for paper and cardboard, followed by 68.7% for metal and 67.1% for glass. Paper and cardboard should always be recycled but there are other materials that may be recyclable too, check with your waste management company for a full list. Increasing the amount of packaging you are recycling could not only reduce your carbon footprint but also save you money on disposal costs. The saving can even be passed down the chain if you reduce the amount of excess packaging that your customer will need to get rid of.
The role of packaging in marketing
Packaging is often the first impression your customers, clients or distributors will have of the company. This makes it a valuable marketing opportunity, giving you the chance to promote your brand and uphold your professional image. Here at Springpack, we can add your logo or brand colours in the most visible place on your packaging to boost brand awareness throughout a package’s journey. For more information on branded packaging, get in touch with our team today.
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