With people forced to stay in their homes, the coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way consumers buy their necessities. The obvious solution for many consumers was to turn to online shopping, which led to an explosive growth in e-commerce sales.
This coming holiday season, Deloitte forecasts that online sales will increase even more by 25 to 35 percent. E-commerce holiday sales are projected to generate as much as $196 billion.
Therefore, online retailers must find a way to increase the efficiency of their packaging solutions. The pandemic has already introduced new packaging requirements that businesses have to follow, including the following:
- Ship-ready design
- Agile production
- Hygienic packaging design and material
- Single-use and sustainability
But with the holiday rush coming, online retailers must ensure that they can accommodate the surge in packaging demand that comes with the increase of e-commerce sales.
Below are three methods to consider for optimizing your packaging design and assembly for e-commerce.
1. Enhanced Automation
Automation isn’t new to packaging lines. Packaging automation has many levels, from small solutions like box erector machines to fully automated folder-gluer machines. Although semi-automation already significantly speeds up your packaging line, fully embracing automation gives you the production efficiency you need to handle the e-commerce surge.
Automated packaging solutions often accomplish multiple tasks at once, like sealing and labelling packages in one single step. These machines not only expedite your packaging assembly, they also reduce the amount of manpower you need. Thus, automation can help you reassign your staff for tasks that require the human element, such as quality assessment.
You can also reduce unwanted expenses by automating your packaging process. Automated decreases, if not eliminates, human errors. This benefit helps prevent rejects and do-overs, ensuring the quality of your packaging solution.
2. Fit-to-Size Auto-Boxing
Shipping volume and expenses are among the major concerns when it comes to e-commerce sales. A study by DHL found that 24 percent of the volume of the average e-commerce package is just empty space.
Poorly utilized packages only increase your production and shipping costs. They take more space in trucks and trailers, reducing the number of packages you can send out simultaneously. Also, oversized packages have negative impacts on the environment, which contribute to the world’s packaging waste crisis.
One of the best solutions for poor package utilization is right-sizing. Fit-to-size packaging solutions use minimal materials and are lighter in weight, helping online retailers decrease their shipping volumes.
However, fit-to-size solutions take longer to produce. Stock packaging is always readily available, giving you a huge advantage if you’re meeting a large number of orders within a limited period. On the other hand, custom packages are produced only after you’ve confirmed the orders, adding to your packaging assembly time.
Luckily, fit-to-size auto-boxing solves the lead time problem. There are packaging systems that automatically box over a thousand custom-fit packages per hour, giving you a faster fulfilment process. These machines measure, weigh, seal, and label single- or multi-item orders in one seamless process.
3. Carton Packaging Redesign
Lastly, carton optimization can significantly reduce your packaging lines. If your carton packages take too long to assemble, they can be eating into your assembly time. Even complex die-cut boxes can be challenging for highly trained packers, especially after hours of assembling boxes.
There are many carton designs that can expedite assembly time. One good example is the crash-lock base box. This quick-to-erect box pops into shape quickly, eliminating the need for complicated folding and tucking.
If you can’t afford to redesign your carton packages, you can invest in box erector machines to increase your packaging productivity. Some erecting machines can be customized specifically to your dimensional and capacity requirements. These solutions balance assembly efficiency and the need for right-sizing your packages, helping you increase packaging productivity and reduce shipping expenses at the same time.
Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for increasing your packaging efficiency. Manpower, the variety of products you sell, and even warehouse space all contribute to the effectiveness of your packaging lines. Evaluate your needs first before committing to a solution and only invest in equipment that suits your requirements. This way, you can be sure that you’re getting a high ROI on your investments.
State-of-the-Art Packaging Equipment
With more than 50 years manufacturing and research experience, SBL has the reputation for providing high-efficiency packaging equipment. We offer various packaging solutions suited for multiple applications, including folding and gluing machinery, flatbed die-cutter, and hot foil stamper. With our range of models, you’ll find the best piece of equipment that satisfies the unique needs and requirements of your business.
Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.