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Shipping costs have historically been calculated on the basis of gross weight in kilograms or pounds. By charging only by weight, lightweight, low-density packages become unprofitable for freight carriers due to the amount of space they take up in the truck/aircraft/ship in proportion to their actual weight. The concept of dimensional weight has been adopted by the transportation industry worldwide as a uniform means of establishing a minimum charge for the cubic space a package occupies. In fact, UPS and FedEx both announced that starting 2015, shipping charges on all shipments (air and ground) will be determined by greater of the actual weight and dimensional weight of a package. Prior to this announcement, dimensional weight charges were only applicable to packages of a specific size range.


Reducing the size and weight of your packages is a great way to save on storage and shipping charges while limiting the impact your packaging operation has on the environment.


Review your corrugated board - Double-wall boxes are traditionally used for transporting goods thanks to their excellent durability, but some single wall board now available can match this performance. A switch to single wall can almost take off up to a half an inch in box width, length and height! This may not sound like much but it could potentially add another layer of goods to your pallet. Another option top review is changing you boxes from C-Flute to B-Flute. You can maintain strength and reduce your DIM weight at the same time.


Evaluate your box sizes - Packaging that is too big for your products requires extra cushioning (and therefore cost) and it also takes up more space on your pallets. Smaller, more compact parcels will help you transport more boxes in one go while saving on void fill and storage costs. The increased capacity also means fewer vehicle movements which contributes to reducing your CO2 emissions.

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Do you know how much your product damage and returns are costing you?

Product damage and returns can be costly to any business, so make sure you have a true handle on your associated costs.

Packaging which is not fit for purpose can increase your damage rates, resulting in increased labor, transport, and product replacement costs when processing returns. Not to mention the inconvenience to your customer and damage to your brand reputation.

Never overpack - Using too much packaging can be as bad as insufficient cushioning. Overfilled parcels can easily burst in transit, not to mention added transport costs for shipping extra grams. Reducing the amount
of packaging material you use will automatically cut packaging waste and make it easier for your customers to recycle.

Use packaging that is suitable for the job - Think about your product’s destination, storage and the conditions it’s going to travel in. Using the right stretch wrap and using a stretch wrapper can make a huge difference. Also applying the right packaging tape can make the difference with your boxes splitting open. Corrugated boxes are made with more recycled content, thus requiring the adhesives on tape to be stronger. Gummed paper tape is a great solution. Once applied, it creates a firm “bond” with your box, making the entire parcel stronger.

Along with bubble, air pillows, a paper, there are other options like foam on demand or suspension packaging that will hold your products firmly in place. If you're shipping expensive items, these options are worth considering.


How much time is spent on the administration of your packaging orders, stocks and suppliers?

Multiple supplier purchase orders accumulate increased handling in the warehouse. Goods arrive in several batches on different vehicles – this not only generates extra handling but multiple documentation too, from purchase orders through to invoices.

Savings could be made by consolidating your supplier base. Using online purchasing systems can also contribute to transforming the speed and efficiency of your packaging. The systems store all the information you need to manage your packaging stocks quickly and effectively, ensuring you always have the right packaging products exactly when and where required.

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What is the throughput of your packing operation?

It is important to understand how long it takes to collate, assemble and pack your products. Sometimes even a small change can go a long way.

Here are a few things for you to consider:

What packaging are you using?

Do you have a “one size box fits all” approach to your packing?

If so, you could be making better use of your packers’ time. A selection of different sized boxes at your packing station, tailored to suit your product range, can mean more time shipping parcels out and less time filling voids.

Take a look at your packing stations. Are they stocked with everything the packer needs or are they having to leave the station to get some of the material needed? Do they need replenishing too often? Time spent walking to another area to get void fill, for example, could be time spent packing.

Is there room for automation? Automation can have a huge positive impact on your packing operation, from automated case tapers, strapping machines and void fill machines to stretch wrappers and fully integrated conveyor lines. There is something to suit every size of business. Switching to a semi or fully automated packing process will help you speed up your packaging operation by achieving more output in less time.


Think like a customer. Would you like to receive the product in the packaging you currently use?

Is the packaging easy to open?

Can it be easily recycled or disposed of?

Does it convey the value of the product and your brand?

Can the product be returned in the transit pack if required?

At a time where more and more people are buying online, customer experience begins with your packaging. We all know how important first impressions are. The better experience your customers have opening their package, the more likely they are to choose your brand again and, most importantly, recommend it to others.

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