Packaging Sorting Checklist
Trimming the Fat from Shipping Costs
During Christmas, my wife recalled the unique way her father packaged certain gifts. Each child would receive a small gift that was placed inside a box, which was placed in a larger box, which was in turn placed in a larger box than that one, and so on, like his version of the famous Russian matryoshka dolls. Her family thoroughly enjoyed watching each child open their present as they tried to guess what the gift really was.
This tradition was enjoyable for her family, and it probably has a special place in other families’ gift giving traditions. However, when it comes to unwrapping packages that are sent for business purposes, the act loses its luster. Customers prefer the least amount of packaging required to safely transport an item from A to B. Granted that certain items, such as cold chain items, fragile items, and items deemed HAZMAT, require additional packaging— and it’s expected by the customer, as these items necessitate special packaging and unique transport procedures.
How often have your employees unboxed inventory that used unnecessary excessive packaging? Chances are they brought this to your attention, and chances are you made a mental note of it. You probably soon moved on with your day, leaving this issue in the recesses of your mind. But have you seriously thought about packaging’s impact on your supply chain? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Does the packaging add value?
- Can the packaging be recycled, or must it be disposed of?
- Is consolidating the items into different packaging possible while retaining the product’s integrity and completely utilizing the packaging?
- Will changing the packaging impact your customer service levels?
- Does the packaging impact how the item is stored? For example, does the packaging require changing shelf configurations? Does the package’s size create shipping, staging, and/or storage issues?
- How do packaging costs impact product cost? How does packaging impact the environment?
- If items are packaged differently, can pallet load be optimized and utilized to ship more cost effectively?
Conducting site audits using the above questions and analyzing how items are packaged, shipped, and stored has allowed us to better assist our customers with optimizing their shipping and palletizing options. By analyzing these processes, we can institute more environmentally-friendly packaging that offers more protection against outside forces.
Packaging and Sorting Checklist
- What current packaging types (cardboard, etc.) does my warehouse use?
- Is valued added by using these packaging types?
- Are there any packaging types that do not add value and/or create waste?
- Are there packaging types mandated by government standards and regulations?
- Would changing your packaging types negatively impact your customer service levels?
- Do packaging types received or currently used force you to alter your warehouse or shelf configurations?
- Are there packaging types that can be altered to optimize and reduce transportation costs?
- When shipping items, do you feel that your packaging types are cost prohibitive? Do they hinder your ability to ship goods on time and without being damaged?
If this issue is on your mind, have you discussed your concerns about packaging with your vendor? Have you approached them with the intent of finding ways to streamline the process so that both you and the vendor save money without sacrificing quality? Multiple websites state that between 10% and 40% of product costs are associated with packaging and handling items. By discussing your options with your vendor, you can save money shipping items immediately.
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