Internet Retailing Expo 2016 Wrap Up

We went along to exhibit at the Internet Retailing Expo last month, to showcase some of our latest packaging machines, plus a selection of innovative and eco-friendly packaging products.  Thanks to all those who came and spoke to us, it was great to talk to so many of you about your packaging and how we could help.

photos-from-internetretailing

The show is centred around everything Internet Retailing and hosts a wide range of companies including software developers, data providers, digital advertising agencies, ecommerce platforms and email providers, with over 200 companies exhibiting.

This year the packaging industry was out in force, showing the benefits of properly packed products to the ecommerce sector.  With over 10 packaging suppliers at the Expo, we had a lot of competition but stood out from the crowd with a stand design that demonstrated how we can help e-commerce businesses of all sectors with clear packaging solutions.

New developments in logistics & delivery

It was clear from the show that ecommerce is maturing as a business sector, with operations, logistics and delivery suppliers on the agenda to improve operations and costs for e-businesses attending the show.   Many exhibitors delivering services and platforms in this area were not present 2 years ago.

Third party logistics and delivery platforms were gaining momentum, offering solutions to pick and choose courier and shipping options.  Services included optimising carriage costs for the size of the shipment, or shipping to best suit a particular geographic destination for a delivery.

Exhibitors in this field, such as Abby Logistics and Route Genie showed what can now be achieved, with route optimisation and real time delivery being key themes in this area.

Logistics and warehouse optimisation platforms for picking and packing, and storage optimisation were also starting to come to the forefront, such as KNAPP and SNAP FULFIL.

Getting packaging perfect for ecommerce

Many we spoke to felt packaging was becoming much more important to their business than it has been in the past.  As ecommerce markets are getting more competitive, many companies are looking to every avenue they can to maximise their efficiency and customer satisfaction, while keeping costs down.

Ensuring that you’re using the right packaging can help in all of these areas and more, and it was apparent to us that businesses are realising the difference that using the right packaging can make.  It’s why we’ve developed an entire range of ecommerce packaging specifically for ecommerce operations.  Packaging that is suitable for the products you’re sending; cutting down delivery costs, protecting what’s valuable, and reducing the impact on the environment.

Standing out with Custom Packaging

This fierce competition has led many we spoke with to explore custom packaging – how they can enhance their products by adding stand out and instant brand recognition as soon as a parcel is received.

Improvements in technology mean we can now completely tailor packaging, adding branding, straplines and colour schemes to enhance the customer experience, having an impact as soon as the parcel arrives in their hands.

custom-tape-and-bags

Last year we launched Rajaprint to do just that, offering a range of custom packaging tape and custom bags, giving our customers complete control over their design.

In a crowded ecommerce marketplace this customisation can make a difference, being remembered not just for a great product, but for striking, branded packaging that’s eco-friendly too!

The Latest in Eco-Friendly Technology

Our final focus this year was on packaging machines, and the difference that they can make for small and medium sized business.  It was great to see lots of new technology at the show, and we took along one of our own new machines to demonstrate, the Geami WrapPak System.

geami-wrappak-system-with-packages

The Geami WrapPak System with wrapped packages

This unique little machine is small and compact, and has been developed as an eco-friendly and cost effective alternative to traditional protective packaging.

Using only Kraft and tissue paper (no tape or glue at all!) it’s unique 3D honeycombed structure firmly wraps around items, protecting them securely.  A sustainable alternative to foam and bubble, it’s another way to enhance the product experience for your customers, ensuring they receive their package in perfect, natural organic packaging.

We had a great time demonstrating this and our other machines, we hope you got a chance to take a look.  With packaging becoming increasingly important for internet businesses, we expect next year’s expo to top it. We’ll be there to demonstrate to our customers how they can transform their packaging operation with advice from our Packaging Specialists.

A Guide to Packaging Machines

We’ve just got back from exhibiting at the Internet Retailing Expo, where packaging machines were a hot topic.  Many businesses we spoke to could see real benefits from automating their packaging processes; speeding up their productivity, saving money on materials, and reducing their impact on the environment.

We answered so many questions about machines that we’ve decided to put together this guide, to give you an introduction to packaging machines, what they can offer, and the types of machines available.

all-packaging-machines

A stretch wrap machine, Mini Pack’r, a strapping machine and a Fillpak TT

We’ve split out the contents below, so you can easily jump straight into any section.

Why automate your packaging processes?

Cushioning products, bagging, strapping boxes or wrapping pallets are all processes that can be made faster, cheaper and more efficient by packaging machines.

Just some of the benefits that machines can bring include:

  • Speeding up your packaging and warehouse processes, increasing efficiency.
  • Reducing the amount of materials used and waste produced, cutting costs.
  • Freeing up space in your warehouse, for more stock or to increase productivity.
  • Helping to reduce the impact of your business on the environment.
  • Giving your business more control over your packaging, improving flexibility.

If you are packaging more than 10 packages per day, then it’s likely that a packaging machine could save your business time and money.  Many machines are available to rent too, so there are no large, upfront costs to worry about.

If you’re packaging a very low number of items though, or wrapping specialist products, then an automated packaging machines might not be right for you, or something manual like a Fillpak M could be an option.  Our experts are always happy to help, and if you’re unsure whether machines could make a difference to your business, contact us today.

How can packaging machines help?

A large number of packaging processes can be automated, including wrapping, strapping, sealing and cushioning.  At Rajapack we categorise packaging machines into three different types, by the function that they perform:

In this guide we’ve explained what each type does, how it can be used, and what it can be used for, to help you see if a machine could be right for you.
 

Protective Packaging Machines

Ensuring your goods arrive at their destination safely and in one piece is essential to any successful business.   To protect loose items during shipping, paper or air void fill is perfect for cushioning and protection.

products protected by void fill

Air cushion & paper void fill being used to protect items.

Protective packaging machines produce void fill quickly and easily, as and when it’s needed, rather than purchasing it pre-made (such as loose fill, shredded tissue paper or bubble wrap).

The packaging materials that feed into the machines (such as plastic or paper) can be ordered in economical rolls, which means less shipping cost to your business and more storage space for you.
 

Air Cushion Machines

These compact little machines produce cushions of air for insulating and protecting your items.  Simply load a roll of bags onto the spindle, select your cushion settings, and you can instantly produce void fill on demand when you need it.

Machines such as the Mini Pak’r have a tiny footprint (H33cm x W36cm x D28cm) or the Opus Mini (H28cm x W30cm x D28cm) and can be used almost anywhere.  Simple to use, they can produce cushions fast and efficiently and are perfect for small to medium packaging operations.

For larger businesses, machines such as the Fill-Air Rocket™ Machine are easily able to cope with high volumes of air cushions, and give you more control over the sizes of you can produce, from tiny 2cm ones, to large air cushions as wide as 18cm.

air-cushion-machines

The Mini Pak’r Void Fill Machine & Opus Air Cushion System

Paper Void Fill Systems

Paper void fill machines offer another cost effective, eco-friendly way to create void fill.  Studies have shown that consumers prefer to receive paper packaging materials in their parcels for environmental reasons.  The machines take reams of paper in, and deliver strong, crimpled paper which can be used to wrap, cushion, block, or brace packages securely.

These machines are ideal for high volume operations (up to 1.4 metres of paper void per second) and though larger than the air cushion systems, they offer greater flexibility.   If you package over 50 products a day, they are almost guaranteed to save you time and money, and typically cut down materials use by 30% within the first 3 months.

More advanced models include features such as remote controls, foot pedals, and paper length programming.  The PadPak range is suitable for the blocking and bursting your products.

paper-void-fill-machines

A Fillpak M manual system, PadPak Junior, and the more advanced PadPak Senior for high speed packaging lines.

Paper void fill machines are available in a number of different sizes to suit a range of budgets and demands.

The lower cost models such as the Fillpak M are suited for small volume operations.  They dispense paper manually through a funnel, giving you complete control over the amount of packaging needed.  For moderate volume operations, machines like the Padpak Junior are well suited for lines packaging at least 30 items per day.

Fully automated, high volume machines such as the PadPak Senior are perfect for fast packaging lines and are able to flow paper through continually.  Paper lengths can be pre-programmed to ensure that the right amount of void fill is always dispensed.

 

Our Guide to Void Fill Machines

Our packaging machine experts at RajaSystem have developed a quick and easy online guide to see whether a void fill machine could be right for you.

We’ve selected the best paper, air, and foam void fill solutions that we have to offer and built them into this helpful guide.

void-fill-machines-guide

Simply answer a few questions about how many parcels you pack and how you protect them, and our system will determine the most suitable void fill machines for you.

We pride ourselves on ensuring our customers are using the most cost effective packaging for their needs, and with the release of this guide we hope to give you another way to do just that.

 

Closure Packaging Machines

Once your products are packed and in a box, that box needs to be properly secured whether it’s going on a pallet for loading or simply being shipped as is.  A closure machine straps or wraps packages to ensure that what’s packed and sealed won’t split open or leak out during delivery.

Closure machines come in two types; Strapping, which is perfect for reinforcing boxes and large loads, and Stretch Film, which tightly wraps around and secures pallets.

strapping-and-stretch-film-wrapped-pallet

Box secured with Strapping & Stretch Film Wrapped Pallet

Strapping Machines

If you’re shipping goods that need extra reinforcement, then you might already use strapping to add another layer of security to your shipments, with something like a hand strapping tool.

Strapping machines automate this process, cutting, wrapping and sealing strapping around packages quickly and efficiently.   A typical machine can wrap and strap a box in under 10 seconds, and fully automatic models work completely hands free via a foot pedal.  A strapping machine ensures that each seal is consistently secured and guaranteed to hold.

semi-and-fully-automatic-strapping-machines

A Semi-Automatic & Automatic Strapping Machine

If you’re manually strapping over 50 packages a day, then it’s likely that the addition of a machine could save you significant time and money.

Stretch Film Machines

If you’re wrapping whole pallets of goods using something like a stretch film dispenser, then a stretch wrap machine might be the solution to speed up your operation.

These machines are able to automatically wrap an entire pallet of goods as soon as it has been dropped onto their base.  The speed at which they do this varies, from entry level machines which are simple to setup and use, to industrial programmable machines, which can be customised to your consignments.

robot-serie-6-stretch-film-robot

Robot Serie 6 – Stretch Film Robot

If you are after more flexibility, then a stretch wrap robot might better suit your needs such as the Robot Serie 6.  Extremely versatile and packed with technology, it is able to wrap just about any size or shape product.  Extra features mean it can easily wrap unstable loads, and improve efficiency by using less stretch film, effectively saving you materials costs.

Stretch film machines are suited to businesses who need to secure and ship large quantities of palletised goods, and are commonly used by larger warehouse operations.  If you’re currently wrapping over 50 pallets per day then a stretch film machine could speed up your wrapping process.

 

Shrink Wrap & Heat Sealer Machines

Shrink wrap and heat sealer machine are designed to package and protect items by sealing them in bags.  They do this by wrapping them in PVC or shrink film, keeping them free from dust and dirt in storage or protecting them from damage during delivery or while on display.

Both systems can produce bags of almost any size; for smaller items such as jewellery or electronics, CDs or books, to larger more awkward items (typically up to 800mm in width).

Being able to produce your own bags offers many benefits; bags of any size can be quickly made to order, and materials can easily be stored on-site so that bags are always on hand when needed, saving time.

Shrink Wrap Machines

Shrink Wrap systems are perfect for packaging or presenting retail products, such as large books, mirrors or pictures, typically up to 800mm wide.  The shrink wrap forms a tight puncture resistant film, protecting items against water and dust.  These systems are ideal for businesses who are looking for a lower cost solution but still seeking a professional result.

The PACKER range of shrink wrap systems are designed for low volume operations.  Coming complete with a sealer, bag dispenser and hot air blower, these systems are all you need to begin professionally bagging your products.

packer-shrink-wrap-system

PACKER complete shrink wrap film system

Heat Sealer Machines

Heat sealers offer a more industrial, high volume solution if you need to seal large quantities of bags quickly and easily.  Small and compact, they can fit into an existing packaging operation and can be mounted on a stand with a foot pedal for hands free operation.

For smaller, low volume businesses that only require bags up to 500mm wide, ‘push to seal’ units are ideal which operate with a built in cutter, saving time when bagging up smaller products.

small-volume-heat-sealer

A Small Volume Heat Sealer

For larger quantities (typically up to 800 bags per 8 hours), we offer industrial sealers such as the Opti-seal Industrial Sealer.  This can seal bags up to 790mm wide and features adjustable sealing and cooling times, for various different films and bags.

industrial-heat-sealer

An Industrial Heat Sealer, able to seal up to 800 bags a day.

Accessories are also available for heat sealers, such as foot pedals and desktop stands, that mean you can customise the machine to your operation.  Spares kits can also be bought which make it easy to maintain and service your machine.

Buying, Renting, & Maintaining

Buying a packaging machine can usually mean a big initial investment, which can be difficult for small or medium sizes businesses to justify.  It’s why many of our packaging machines are available to rent, with no high up-front costs, though your first step would be to demo a machine before committing further.

Our machines can be rented from as little as £15 per month and include free delivery, installation, and after care support.  This means that you can focus on integrating the machine into your operation, without having to worry about the long term financial commitment.

One final factor to consider when adopting an automatic packaging machine is what happens if they go wrong or need repair?   For your total piece of mind, we can arrange on-site call outs in case of any problems, so you can ensure minimal downtime in your operation if any problems do occur.

Our Expert Opinion

Finally, we caught up our resident machines expert, Chris Sheehan to get his thoughts on the impact packaging machines can make.  Chris has helped his fair share of customers make the transition to a packaging machine and believes:

“The first step for most customers is realising that they actually have a need for a machine. Once this happens, selling the benefits and finding the right machine for a customer’s needs is actually quite straight forward.”

“Investing in a packaging machine isn’t just about saving on the price of using machine consumables and rental of the machine compared to their current protective packaging. Using traditional packaging products can take up more than three times as much space in your warehouse as a roll of film or a block of paper. And we all know that warehousing space is at a premium, so every bit of it counts.”

“The same can be said for packing speed and productivity. Having a machine available to produce void fill, air cushions or bubble on demand at a work station means a reduction in time to pack – meaning orders go out the door quicker. It can also result in a reduction of temporary staff in peak periods of the year.”

To find out more about Packaging Machines and if they might be right for your business, or for a no obligation demonstration, please get in touch with our experts. Call us free on 0800 142 26 46 or email machines@rajapack.co.uk.

Introducing the RajaSafe™ Impact Protect Box

With so many of us shopping online, the need for innovative packaging solutions has never been greater. Under the Sale of Goods Act, products damaged in the post are the responsibility of the seller, not the buyer, which can leave many businesses out of pocket. The bottom line is that inadequate packaging costs your business money. And even if your packaging is up to scratch, unscrupulous, heavy-handed couriers can be unavoidable.

It’s difficult to estimate the number of parcels that are damaged in transit each year. With giant postal sorting warehouses continuously running conveyor belts full of packages, sometimes accidents are unavoidable, and packages can accidentally slip off the line.

As the No 1 in Europe for packaging solutions, Rajapack has been working to solve this problem. So it gives us great pleasure to announce our revolutionary RajaSafe™ Impact Protect system.

Boxes with bounce

RajaSafe bouncebox-banner-april-fools (2)

Our team of technologists have been working on developing and improving this innovative new packaging solution. Corrugated card is combined with isoprene and styrene-butadiene compounds. This creates resilient, pressure absorbing properties which give the boxes a slight bounce on impact.

RajaSafe™ Impact Protect technology is designed to give maximum protection to heavier, bulky items, such as flat-screen televisions, as these can be the hardest to handle. The ‘bounce’ is engineered to be more apparent the heavier the package, as these are generally the items requiring the most protection.

We showcased the new range of RajaSafe™ Impact Protect boxes at the Packaging Innovations 2016 show earlier this year. We carried out demonstrations to show the degree of bounce for each item placed inside the boxes, and we were blown away by your feedback.

“This new technology from Rajapack demonstrates one of the greatest innovations in the packaging industry since the introduction of personalised packaging. As a company we are acutely aware of the need for affordable, contemporary, resilient packaging solutions; RajaSafe™ Impact Protect is the technology this industry has been waiting for.”

– Anabelle Fool, MD, CBB Systems

How it works

At Rajapack, we are committed to creating eco-solutions that can be recycled or in this case reused. The main component of our RajaSafe™ boxes is styrene-butadiene, an artificial rubber compound commonly used by large tyre manufacturers. Heralded for its abrasion resistance, this compound, as well as giving our boxes their boing, adds a resilience that was never before available with cardboard. This means the boxes are sturdy enough to be used long past the lifecycle of an ordinary cardboard box.

We use Solution-SBR, created through an anionic polymerization process, to coat the inner wall of our cardboard boxes.  Using Solution-SBR gives us greater control over the polymer, allowing us to tailor it to our needs. This compound is what gives the boxes their bounce, and offers maximum protection to the items inside.

RajaSafe bouncebox-sales (2)

Rajapack is constantly striving to create a better product for our customers, with RajaSafe™ Impact Protect technology we hope to bring you peace of mind. We will be offering this technology in our postal box range, and are currently working on introducing it to our complete range of cardboard boxes to include more bulky items such as TVs or guitars. When combined with our other innovative packaging solutions, the RajaSafe™ Impact Protect system is guaranteed to be your number one shipping solution.

Keep pets and wildlife happy by reusing packaging in 5 ways

Our Animal Protector Awards may be all wrapped up for this year, but our passion for protection is always there.

For over 60 years, our teams at the RAJA Group have been developing and sourcing new ways to keep valuable products safe during transit. For the last two years we’ve used our winter campaign to pass this protection on to animals rather than products. In 2014, we helped Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital protect hedgehogs in our Home Safe Home campaign, raising over £350 and donating £200 worth of stationery to their offices.

With spring officially here (meteorologically speaking), we can all start doing our bit to protect wildlife in our gardens and enrich the lives of our pets, simply by re-purposing Rajapack products at home.

Hedgehog house from a cardboard box

All year round, these little creatures need a safe place to feed and get out of the rain and cold. The Co-op suggest getting a thick cardboard box about 30cm wide, 45cm deep and 30cm tall and cutting a 12cm wide hole in the box. You can attach a 30cm long entrance tunnel made from 10-13cm diameter drain pipe and put some air vent holes in the top of the box.

Then put dry leaves, straw or shredded newspaper inside and cover the top of the box with a bin bag that you’ve cut down each side or roof felting. Then tuck the box near a hedge or wall and cover the whole thing with leaves and soil. If possible, put the entrance facing south to keep cold northerly winds out.

In spring the hedgehogs will come out of hibernation hungry, so you can see if there are sources of slugs, grubs and worms near to your hedgehog house. You can also leave them water, dry cat biscuits, tinned cat or dog food, or dried mealworms. Do not leave milk and bread for them as this can make them very ill.

Bird nest box from a broken pallet

If you have a broken wooden pallet or off-cuts from another project, the deck boards across the top of a pallet are ideal for making a nest box. By following the design below you will make a safe nest for a declining species called house sparrows and you can help the British Trust for Ornithology track these birds by registering your nest box.

Birds nest

Design and tips courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces/nest_box/

Remember:

  • Drainage holes are important for draining away liquid waste and rainwater
  • Don’t be tempted to add a perch. Predators may intimidate the birds and force the adult birds to leave
  • A coat of linseed oil will stop the wood drying out but is not essential. Wood preservatives are best avoided as some are poisonous. Don’t paint the box
  • A hinged lid allows you to clean the box easily but make sure it is fastened securely to stop magpies and squirrels raiding the nest.

Cardboard boxes for rabbits

Any spare cardboard boxes are ideal for your rabbit’s hutch. They love being protected so creating a small house (with a window and door for them to see out at all times) from a cardboard box and putting it inside your hutch gives them a good place to hide. Please remember that the ‘3 hop rule’ still applies and you shouldn’t put a cardboard box in the hutch that is too big. If they have a larger space to run around in the garden, leave some made-up cardboard boxes in different places; your rabbits love finding new places to feel safe in!

Shredded paper for gerbils, guinea pigs and hamsters

If you run out of straw or hay for your pet’s bedding, you can reuse shredded paper that’s left over from packaging or food hampers. It’s absorbent, warm and free! You can also tear up waste paper like used envelopes and newspaper, but make sure to use rough paper. Paper with a smooth coating may not offer enough insulation.

Postal tubes

Postal tubes from posters and certificates make great toys for cats, small dogs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits and many more small animals. Simply cut them up with scissors or a small hacksaw and your pets will love running through them or chewing on them.Scratching post

You could also get crafty and create a scratching post for your cat. You’ll need a small piece of wood for the base, rope or thick string to wrap around the outside of the postal tube and a few tools.

 

The evolution of postal packaging

The UK postal service has undergone many changes since it was first established an astonishing 500 years ago. And at the same time, postal packaging has evolved too. Materials, transportation, and the way we shop have all had their impact, and the future promises even more changes.

A brief history of post

This year, the UK postal service celebrates 500 years since Henry VIII first established postal towns across the country to build a formal postal network. Just over 100 years later, the first public postal service was established by Charles I in 1635.

It wasn’t until the 19th Century that reforms put forward by Rowland Hill transformed the post into something we recognise today. He introduced the Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive stamp which made all mail a uniform price.

Penny Black

In 1883, under Postmaster General Henry Fawcett, the Parcel Post Service started for the first time. Previously, people could only send packages privately via stagecoach or rail.

Now that people could send parcels cheaper and have them delivered by an official Postman, the need for parcel packaging grew and with it, an industry was born.

Transportation and package protection

The Royal Mail was always looking for faster and more efficient ways of delivering mail. Transportation played a key role, so as technology progressed delivery methods could evolve too.

Horse driven coaches were initially used, replaced by bicycles in the late Victorian age when the numbers of local Postmen grew. The 1830s saw the first mail railway services, and in 1850 Royal Mail ships were commissioned to deliver post by sea. But a true international mail service began with the arrival of air freight which became dominate in the mid 20s.

Horse and Carriage

All this change had an effect on protective packaging protection, as goods travelling longer distances needed better packaging to protect the products for the journey ahead.

Kraft paper was invented in 1879 and to this day continues to be a cost-effective form of protection, providing an internal cushion for products being sent.

By the mid-20th Century foam structures became increasingly used, with the use of lightweight and tear-resistant polyurethane foam. Today, it comes in a range of options for packaging of all shapes and sizes.

Bubble Wrap is a trademark of Sealed Air Corporation, which first used it in packaging in 1961. Three years later, padded mailers began to be manufactured by Jiffy Packaging. They have been so effective that they’re still going strong 55 years later.

 Going the distance

The first Royal Mail Airmail service began in 1919, flying between London and Paris. The service was quickly extended to Holland, Belgium and Morocco. But it wasn’t until after WW2, that Airmail really took off with the rapid growth in commercial aviation.

Air mail

With long-distance mail delivery now possible, packaging needed to adapt again for global travel. The need for security, element-proofing and durability was the driving force behind the development of plastic mailing bags made of polythene, the same material as carrier bags but significantly stronger. Available in a range of thicknesses to package heavyweight or sharp objects without risk of breaking, they have been developed with seal strips for security and are waterproof. And with the rise of ecommerce, they are perfect for international shipping.

The impact of ecommerce

The rate of change online has helped the growth of mail order and ecommerce and has been the biggest recent catalyst for postal packaging changes.

In Europe, ecommerce transactions are expected to reach £185 billion this year with the rise of mobile purchases increasing by 37.5%. With such huge increases, retail postal packaging is having to adapt quickly.

One of the challenges postal packaging has needed to address is custom packaging. Studies in America have shown 66% of customers believe the packaging represents how much the retailer cares about their order and nearly half believe the better the packaging the better the product inside.

First impressions matter. With the huge growth in “unboxing” videos (where users record themselves opening a package) on YouTube – up 871% since 2010 – postal packaging is the first opinion-forming part of a brand that customers see. Custom packaging available to businesses is fast becoming a major catalyst for packaging development.

Greener post

Fuelled by customer demand, there is a global drive by businesses to become more environmentally conscious. Postal packaging is no exception. Today, there are many options available to businesses to provide packaging made from recycled and biodegradable materials.

Rajapack is currently running Action Programme for Women & the Environment, a campaign to raise awareness of recyclable and renewable resourced packaging products.

Biodegradeable packagingThe next 500 years?

We have seen huge changes in postal packaging since the first postal service was introduced. The next 500 will no doubt prove to be any different. With such revolutionary ideas such as Amazon’s drone-based delivery service, postal packaging will continue to evolve.

Announcing our top 10 Animal Protectors

Whilst our nominators have been crossing their fingers, hoping that their good cause would be one of our incredible winners, our judges have been reading through entry after entry. It’s been an emotional week for them, reading heart-warming stories about selfless people and organisations.

Cat in packaging

Our 10 Animal Protectors have now been selected for their unwavering commitment to protecting vulnerable animals and for the huge difference their work makes. They have been told the good news and have chosen what they would like in their Reward Boxes.

Meet our remarkable Rajapack Animal Protectors

Ros Karamanth (Stepping Stones Rescue Centre)

Ros specialises in rescuing and rehoming pregnant cats and their kittens. Her nomination caught our attention because she has made a difference to so many cats and never turns away an animal in need! Well done Ros, keep up the great work!

Labrador Retriever Rescue Southern England (LRRSE)

This charity unites pure bred and Labrador Retriever crosses with loving new homes across the South of England. LRRSE does not have a rescue centre, kennelling facilities or offices. What’s more, they are self-funded and staffed entirely by volunteers who juggle their day jobs with rescue work. It was this commitment and passion for protecting Labradors that really impressed our judges. We hope their Reward Box goes some way to helping the volunteers continue their work.

Lakeland Trailhound Welfare (LTW)

Trailhounds (the ‘cross-country runners of dog racing’) have historically been deemed unsuitable as pets if no longer racing, or injured. Since the charity was set up 20 years ago, they have found new homes for over 1000 hounds and, through feedback from adoptive owners, have created a shift in the mind-set of the hound-trailing community, who are able to see their old hound settled and happy in their new home. Injured, retired and problem dogs are now referred to LTW, who work hard to find homes all over the UK. Our judges were most impressed by LTW’s education programme to prove that there is life after racing for ex working dogs.

Milnthorpe Kennels and Cattery

Started as a kennels and cattery, within 18 months they were approached by a local animal rescue charity to help them care for rescue dogs. With the policy that all dogs go home neutered, microchipped and vaccinated, over 600 dogs have been re-homed. The team also educate children in the area about animal welfare, microchipping and raise awareness of that fact that most animal crises are accompanied by a human crisis. Again, it was the educational work this organisation do that really stood out to our judges. By acting now they are preventing suffering in the future.

Gloria Muir (Hogles wood Hedgehog home)

Gloria nurses and cares for hedgehogs before releasing them back into the wild. Through her enduring enthusiasm and ‘super smile’, this amazing lady has inspired other people locally and internationally to take care of this declining species. We really admire this personal approach to protection, especially for an endangered species such as hedgehogs.

Dogs for Good

Through intensive training, Dogs for Good provide assistance dogs to help adults and children with physical disabilities and families with an autistic child. This support really does change lives and gives people their confidence and zest for life back. Well done Dogs for Good, and we hope your Reward Box helps you keep up the great work.

Alley Cats

This is a very small organisation that rescues abandoned kittens. They have just a handful of carers who foster the kittens until they are well enough to be adopted. Our judges really liked the fact that this charity not only protects kittens and changes their lives, they also bring joy to the lives of the carers.

HULA Animal Rescue

This small registered charity has rehomed thousands of unwanted domestic animals since it was founded in 1972. HULA relies on volunteers to help relieve suffering and distress by providing refuge and care until permanent homes can be found. It also provides advice to owners who are unable to cope due to a change in circumstances. This wonderful charity works tirelessly to make sure no animal is left homeless or in distress.

The Fox Project

This small charity works hard to care for foxes who have been injured or are unwell. They completely depend on the good will of animal lovers and look after the sick animal in their hospital before releasing it back to its natural habitats. Our judges were impressed by The Fox Project’s dedication to caring for these creatures.

 National Animal Welfare Trust Trindledown Farm

This organisation is dedicated exclusively to caring for animals ‘enjoying the twilight years of their lives’. Older animals make great companions, but often find themselves in a rescue centre because they have lost their elderly companion. NAWT care for these animals until a new home is found and really caught the eye of our judges because most of their fundraising is done by a dedicated crew of volunteers.

(Picture credit to Nicola Romagna)

See you at Packaging Innovations 2016

24th & 25th February, NEC Birmingham, Hall 9, Stand E51

We’re pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at Packaging Innovations again this year. Being the UK’s leading packaging exhibition, it’s a really exciting event where the biggest names in the industry showcase their latest innovations. Packaging innovations

 Improve your packaging operations in minutes

The focus on the stand will be helping you speed up your packaging operations. Come along to Hall 9, Stand E51 and our Packaging Specialists will be on-hand to offer expert advice to develop your packing operations. You can ask them about everything from increasing productivity and the practicalities of customised packaging to choosing the most economical environmentally responsible alternatives.

 Simon Owens, Rajapack’s Head of Sales says “We can’t wait for you to join us at the Rajapack stand! By speaking to one of our Packaging Specialists, we can help you find ways to make your packaging set up more efficient and most importantly to reduce cost. We have new and innovative products that we can’t wait to show you. And we have had plenty of success in finding better and more efficient ways for our customers to package their products, simply by reviewing their processes with one of the team. For example, some customers have changed the type of packaging tape they use and the way they seal boxes, which have made things 2-3 times faster, more secure and looking more professional, whilst reducing tape costs by 20% or more! ”

FillPakandGeami

Our Packaging Specialists will also be demonstrating the latest high-speed machines to maximise your packaging output, including the super-fast FillPak® TT Cutter producing 1.4m of paper void fill per second, and the compact Geami WrapPak® System. The Geami improves packing efficiency and has won the Packaging Oscar for being an innovation in environmentally responsible packaging.

Whether you’re spec’ing a warehouse or optimising your operations, Packaging Innovations 2016 will be an inspirational event where you’ll find new solutions and get first-hand advice from Rajapack Specialists, so register for your free place today.

It pays to protect your products in the post

Ecommerce is growing faster than any other sales channel in the world. Many larger companies have reacted to this trend by increasing their logistics budgets; hiring more delivery staff, expanding their delivery fleet and investing in more depots. However, not all companies can afford to take these measures and for many SME companies, standard post is the most cost effective and secure method of getting their products to customers.

Package

By the end of 2015 it was predicted that more than 1 billion parcels will have been sent via the post in the UK alone. If any of those products are damaged during transit, it is the seller and not the transporter who is liable.

One of the best ways to help your profit margin on your ecommerce sales, is to use good quality packaging to prevent goods being damaged in the post.

Standard postal boxes, whether brown, white, triangular or extra flat, offer a strong and economical way to send items in the post. However, for some products, a more specific type of packaging is required.

Product specific packaging is becoming increasingly popular as ecommerce businesses grow in size. They may offer a specific form of protection or come in a shape or size that prevents movement in transit.

In this blog, we’re looking at some of the more common items sent by ecommerce businesses that may require product specific packaging:

Documents

If you sell items such as certificates, posters or memorabilia, you’ll know how important it is that your products get to their destination crease and tear free. For bigger documents that won’t fit in standard postal boxes, you will need longer packaging that allows you to roll your poster or certificate, rather than fold it.

Postal Tubes

The best options for this are postal tubes, telescopic boxes and long cardboard boxes. These forms of postal packaging are specific to the product shape and won’t require the sender to use excessive protective packaging or leave space for the product to bend or fold.

For smaller documents that may fit in an envelope, cardboard envelopes are a great way of keeping the document flat and tear fee.

Fragile trinkets or ornaments

Ornaments and small trinkets made of fragile materials such as glass, pottery or hand-made jewellery need extra protection, as you can’t guarantee how they will be handled when sent in the post. Any guidance notes on the box such as ‘fragile’ or ‘this way up’ are helpful, but there is no certainty that the courier will take that advice on board.

Therefore it is important that you add extra padding around the product that should protect it from rough handling or falls. Filling the box with bubble wrap or loose fill is an option, but there may be a more cost effective method available.

Padded box

Foam boxes are standard cardboard boxes with inbuilt foam cushioning. The foam moulds around the product to prevent scratching and movement in transit.

Heavier household items such as lamp stands, cutlery or furnishings

Sometimes when you are packaging heavier items, you need to make sure the packaging is strong enough to hold it.

The packaging will need to withstand the weight of the product; otherwise you could be paying for items lost or damaged in delivery.

Cardboard comes in different strengths. One of the strongest forms available at the moment is triple walled cardboard, which offers a barrier of three layers of cardboard fluting.

Books, photographs and canvases

If you are packaging a small amount of photographs, paintings or canvases, multi-media wrap boxes are ideal as they adjust to fit the shape and size of the bundle. This type of box is easily assembled and most come equipped with adhesive strips, saving you time.

This form of packaging allow the box to compress the product, keeping it straight, flat and crease free.

Wrap around book boxes

For bigger packages, such as books, wraparound book boxes are another alternative. Much like multi-media wrap boxes, wraparound book boxes are adjustable to different heights and come with an easy seal adhesive strip. Some book boxes will offer tamper-evident closure as well.

Other considerations

If you’re sending small electronics or parts, a box is excessive and will cost you more than you need to spend. In this case, you should use a bag or envelope with built in protection. Polyethelene mailers and jiffy bags are ideal for sending small parts because of their built-in protective cushioning.

By buying product specific postal packaging, you ensure your product arrives at the destination in ideal condition. You can be confident that your package will withstand the potential rigours of transit.

Get crafty and creative with postal tubes

Cardboard postal tubes are a great example of efficient and cost effective packaging. They are great at protecting longer and thinner products such as posters and blueprints, and help save space in transit.

But what should you do with the tubes after you’ve received your product in the post? Recycling is definitely an option, but wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to release your inner artist and use them to craft something spectacular?

We’ve searched the internet and asked the more creative members of our team to come up with some amazing uses for cardboard postal tubes. These ideas should help you save money, declutter your homes and have some fun!

Stationery storage pots

Tubes cut into sections make ideal storage containers for your ‘bits and bobs’ such as stationery, batteries and toys. These are incredibly simple to make; simply score a line along the outside of the tube, pierce with scissors or a craft knife and then cut along the line.Pen holder

As with any craft activity that involves using scissors or a sharp knife, children should be assisted by an adult at all times. You may also want to attach a round piece of paper or card at the bottom of each container to avoid damage to walls or surfaces.

Wine racks

On the subject of adults, this next one is for you!

After a long, hard week at work, many of us like to come home and relax on a Friday night with a bottle of wine and takeaway. The only downside is having to stop off at the shops on the way home to buy the bottle.

It’d be great if we could all afford to have a built-in wine rack in our kitchen but if you can’t, don’t worry. Postal tubes make a really simple, attractive and low cost alternative.

Wine rack

You have a bit of license here to design them to suit any room and can alter the size depending on how much space you have. Just like the stationery storage pots, simply cut the tubes into sections of equal sizes and then use string, elastic bands, Sellotape or glue to attach them into a shape of your choice.

Furniture

When attached together, postal tubes can make quite a sturdy structure. So it makes perfect sense that some crafters have used them to build unique pieces of furniture.

Making pieces of furniture from cardboard tubes will take a little more expertise than the wine rack or stationery pots. Doubleeei, who created the set above, have made hundreds of fantastic sculptures from reused cardboard.

There are a couple of important things to bear in mind when building furniture out of postal tubes. Firstly, despite the picture showing the table and chairs set outside, we would recommend keeping all cardboard furniture indoors or under cover. Unless properly treated, cardboard isn’t waterproof and therefore leaving it outside could spoil it and no one wants to be sat on a chair that suddenly gives way!

Secondly, if you thought it was easy to lose your keys down the back of the sofa, think of how easy it would be to misplace things down postal tubes. Just like in the picture, remember to cover the tops of the tubes with lids or a fabric covering. It won’t hurt to make the chair just a little bit more comfortable!

Totem poles

If creating household storage and furniture doesn’t seem like your idea of fun, you can use postal tubes to create miniature totem poles and go as artistic and creative as you like.

The actual cutting up part of creating the poles is incredibly easy. Just follow the same routine as the stationery pots.

The great thing about these totem poles is that the majority of the work is actually the really fun part; painting your tube. Totem poles are all about creating individual designs, just like Doodlers Anonymous have done with these crazy faces!

Just think of the hours of fun the kids will have and the ideas are limitless.

And a couple more practical suggestions

Reusing postal tubes doesn’t have to be complicated. There are some really simple and practical ways of reusing tubes that require no arts or crafts at all.

When we say practical, we mean things that will make your everyday life easier. Wrapping postal tubes around coat hangers like this will help to prevent crease lines in your clothes.

Clothes hangers

Or maybe if you’re a keen gardener or have an allotment, a more practical use for you would be to place the tube around the stem of a sapling tree to prevent damage while it grows.

Plant pots

Find your own use

Hopefully, these examples will have shown you the many possibilities to creatively reuse postal tubes. The strength and durability of these packaging products makes them ideal for storage, protection or fun and games.

This kind of creativity gives you a really cheap and safe way of introducing your family to arts and crafts. And as we approach the February half term school holidays, what better time to get crafty with your little ones!

Standing out in a crowded market place: how custom packaging can increase profits

It’s widely acknowledged that it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than to attract a new one.  A 2010* study said that it could be around five times more expensive to recruit a new customer. Not only are existing customers far more likely to purchase from your business, but it is also easier to convert them into brand advocates who will advertise your brand to friends and family.

Custom packaging gives customers an instant impression of the brand

Custom packaging gives customers an instant impression of the brand

One of the best ways of attracting repeat custom is by making your brand memorable. Businesses can’t always achieve this by creating a great product alone. You also need to market and package it in a way that differentiates your product from the competition. Only then will you create an experience that feels special for the customer.

Fun packaging makes your product stand out, come alive and in some cases becomes the very reason why your users come back to you for more”-Zopim

If your package looks like every other plain parcel your customer receives, how do they remember where they purchased that great product from?

Customisation: how does it encourage repeat purchases?

Customising your packaging allows your customers to instantly recognise your product range, making them more likely to think of it when it comes to buying that type of product in the future. There are many ways that a company can customise their packaging. Digital customisation has made this quicker and easier than ever. This is where you can use websites like Moonpig.com or Rajaprint to upload your own images, which are then printed directly onto the packaging.

Large retail businesses have been customising their packaging for years. Think of all the times you’ve had a delivery from Amazon or bought groceries from Asda; their identity is emblazoned on the packaging and tells you in an instant who the package is from. Their branding lasts throughout the customer journey and brand recognition lasts long after the products are received.

What effect does custom packaging have on the customer?

Box

In retail, having ‘top of mind’ awareness is important when trying to achieve a higher ROI and more repeat custom. Top of mind means that when a customer considers purchasing a product, they think of your brand.

Stand out packaging is vital for lasting awareness, as it allows the customer to associate an image and name with the product.

If a customer associates a brand name or image with a quality product, they are more likely to purchase that item again and also explore other products in the same range. In effect they have increased their depth of involvement with your company from product to brand.

Connecting with the customer

Customers are more likely to purchase a product that they feel connects with them or relates to them on some level. This could be showing an understanding of age group, sub culture, gender or personality type.

Gender specific (GS) packaging is a prime example of this. GS packaging is when a product is designed with imagery that appeals to members of a certain gender. This could be in the choice of colour pallet or imagery that resonates with that sex. According to a poll organised by ‘easyFairs’, 37% of women would be more attracted to gender specific packaging.

Jean-Paul-Gaultier

Customising and branding packaging allows businesses to communicate their personality to the customer. If a customer feels that the brand understands them or their needs, they are more likely to be become brand loyal or brand advocates, rather than just one-off customers.

Taking customisation to the next level with personalisation

A number of big brands have now evolved customisation further with personalised packaging. Personalisation allows the customer to feel personally connected with the brand. This could be through non-targeted personalisation, such as the names on Coca Cola bottles (which increased sales by 2% after a number of year-on-year declines) or the ultra-targeted campaigns such as Nutella’s new label name branding campaign.

Nutella

Nutella’s label personalisation makes each product unique to the customer and blurs the lines between seller and buyer, allowing the consumer to feel closer to the brand.

What impact could this have on your business?

Statistics tell us that branding and customised packaging encourages repeat purchases, but how does that translate into success for your business?

Bain & Company, the global management consultancy firm, say that a mere 5% increase in customer retention could translate into increased profits of 25%. Although there are extra costs associated with the introduction of customised packaging, the figures show that the return on investment can be well worth the outlay.

If you can start making your customers think of your business as a brand rather than simply a product, you create an audience who are ready to become long term advocates.

* Lee Resources inc.