Monthly Archives: February 2019

Optimise your packing speed

Optimise your packing speedTime is money! This is certainly true in the world of logistics. It’s vital that you optimise the number of orders prepared per hour and shift. At each step of the order preparation process, our experts will provide you with advice to save those precious seconds and conserve the energy of your warehouse operations, so you can pack, protect and seal your parcels more efficiently.

This guide will cover the packing topics:

1. Choose the appropriate packaging materials

2. Protect effectively, where less is more

3. Seal your parcels quickly and correctly

4. The centralised packing platform, the packing bench

Before we get started, think of your own packing operations, read our 2 discussion topics: “The delivery promise, the important issue” andDoes seasonality affect your business?”

Thought topic: The delivery promise, the important issue

A disappointed customer is a customer, who potentially does not return and buys from you again. All your sales and marketing efforts go to waste if your customer expectations are not met at this crucial step; so you need to deliver quickly and do it well. This guide will offer you advice at each stage of the packing process, providing you with a number of solutions depending on your business and cost.

The customer has taken that step and come in contact with your brand, their journey has begun, they experience your company at the various touch points, gone through the buying decision process to finally (and hopefully!) make that purchase. And then you will fall at the last hurdle if delivery expectations are not met.

A disappointed customer means that for whatever reason, they had a poor experience with you, and because of this will unlikely to return and buy again. Their journey up till the point of purchase, despite how smooth and seamless it was, has now unfortunately been forgotten, because the promised delivery expectation has not been met.

Delivery is as important as the purchase.

Thought topic: Does seasonality affect your business?

In the B2B as well as B2C sectors, the Christmas season means that our customers have to prepare differently than at other times of the year. For example, rapidly expanding board game manufacturer, IELLO, has two key periods which have to be precisely planned by its logistics team.

From May to June they distribute their bestselling products in anticipation of the Christmas peak in sales. They send pallets and large boxes in big quantities over a short period to retailers in preparation for this busy period.

The other substantial amount of stock is for direct selling on their ecommerce website at the end of the year. This is pure B2C logistics with an emphasis on fast delivery to the consumer. They must deliver quickly and ensure the parcel gets to its destination, and in good condition, otherwise the customer could be lost to another board game manufacturer.

Depending on the seasonality of your business, you’ll need to gear up your workforce and do your profitability calculations during and outside your peak sales periods.

Packing speed affects delivery times

Pack, protect and seal your parcels. If you improve efficiencies in your packing team, multiply those efficiencies by the number of orders, the savings and overall gains for your team and business  become fairly significant.

The 3 stages of packing

      1. Choose the appropriate packaging materials

The choice of packaging impacts the speed of your order preparation. Certain choices might seem trivial but for the packing team, it can save seconds meaning more orders packed per hour whilst requiring less effort. With the energy saved, more time can be channelled into other areas of the packing process for each delivery, such as the quality of each parcel and reducing any packing errors.

Swap your boxes for envelopes and mailing bags

Where possible, think of how you can optimise your packing materials, if changing your boxes to envelopes or mailing bags is an option, here are 2 advantages why you’ll be on to a winner:

  • Speed of execution –time is saved, the bags are ready to use, compared with manually assembling a box
  • Cost of transport – bags are lighter, the weight and volume of your shipments will reduce, meaning overall transport costs are reduced

Some might think envelopes and mailing bags are limited to low value goods, but in fact, its only limitations could be size or type of product. The mailing bag is a good core product, whilst cartons and boxes are also a reliable option, for example for international shipments. Most ecommerce retailers favour cardboard packaging, particularly the popular double wall box as their packaging of choice.

Try Kraft paper mailing bags, a change from the popular plastic mailing bags!

This ecological paper alternative will certainly surprise you, not only does it have an adhesive strip to save you applying tape, as we know time-saving is important, but it is made from heavy duty FSC 10gsm Kraft paper with a tensile strength of 9.5kN/m!

Kraft mailing bags

Choose environmentally packaging alternatives or call our Packaging Specialists to find out how you can go green!

The crash-lock box will revolutionise the work of your packing team

We see 3 key benefits switching from standard cardboard boxes to crash-lock boxes:

Time saving: the box is assembled 2.5 times quicker on average than a standard box

Energy saving: it may be 2.5 times quicker to assemble but at the same time it’s 2.5 times easier to assemble. Your packing team will thank you for switching to crash-lock boxes! Just take a look at our crash-lock box video to see it in action if you haven’t done so yet

Space saving: our customers have commented that previously they had to assemble standard boxes in batches, but now packers can easily construct boxes with the crash-lock bases on demand, saving warehouse space

Crashlock boxes

    1. Protect effectively, where less is more

Protective packaging is something that you’ll need to think about to protect your products during transit. Here are some solutions that work to reduce the time and resource required for this part of the packing process.

Perforated protective packaging

One way to save time during the protective packaging process is to reduce the reliance on tools. Perforated protective packaging eliminates the need for a cutter. Watch our perforated bubble wrap vs standard bubble wrap video!

Perforated bubble wrap

The bubble bag with adhesive strip

Not only does a bubble bag completely wrap around products, the readily available adhesive strip secures the product within the bag. No additional tape is required, and importantly no excessive bubble wrap is needed, see the packing speed for yourself by clicking on the video below!

Bubble bag with adhesive strip

Rajapack top tipTop tip: Bubble bags with an adhesive strip are perfect for awkward shaped items, products can effortlessly slot inside the bag and the adhesive is a simple peel and seal.

If you have awkward shaped items, is bespoke packaging an option?

If you have high volumes of similar orders and your product isn’t a standard box shape, it is ideal to use packaging that fits your products well, like a glove. Custom and bespoke packaging not only saves on the amount of protective packaging used, but also in packing time.

Best practices of bespoke packaging

Having packaging that fits closer to the product is best, as it avoids movement and reduces damages. Bespoke packaging will fit like a glove, it reduces the amount or need for protective packaging. Here are 3 key best practices we should remember:

  • Be eco-responsible: think about ways to go green, bespoke packaging avoids the use of unnecessary protective materials
  • Be logistic-smart: efficient packaging materials means lighter loads and optimised packed pallets for reduced overall transportation costs
  • Be ready: for a quick turnaround, no time is wasted packing your order with ready to use custom made packaging fit for purpose

Discuss your needs with our Specials Executives on 0800 630 06 21 for a free no obligation quotation!

Protective packaging systems

Protective packaging machines are ideal for ecommerce companies processing multi and/or similar orders, in large volumes. Once installed the need for a packing system is apparent and will quickly pay for itself in terms of the speed of orders processed by the packer. Most importantly, it will allow you to exceed a threshold of orders picked and packed per hour without the need to bring in temporary staff.

We understand that it can be a daunting prospect if you’re not sure on what you’re looking for,  contact our Machine Specialist for machine rental options, or why not try the free Rajasystem interactive machines guide – no registration required!

Rajasystem interactive machines guide

For advice and information on whether a packaging system is right for your business, or to improve efficiencies of your warehouse operation call a Machine Specialist on 0800 142 26 46

  1. Seal your parcels quickly and correctly

The closure stage is crucial to ensure your parcels are safe and secure in transit. We’ve put together a few suggestions to ensure the security of your deliveries, whilst making time savings!

Can you seal a parcel without using any packaging tape?

Yes, it is possible to not use packaging tape, it will certainly save time and money. Tape requires space needed to store stock, and you’ll have to monitor your supply. However, it does depend on what you are packing and therefore what packaging you will need. Mailing bags and postal boxes are available with an integrated adhesive strip. You’ll increase your packing speed with the ready to use strip, save space by not having to store stock, as well as reducing the amount of tape used within the business. So, look out for packaging with the peel and seal adhesive strips!

How to benefit from gummed paper tape

You might not be aware about this packaging product, but gummed paper tape is one of the most effective and eco-friendly ways to secure your parcels. Amazon, one of the largest ecommerce retailers use paper tape on all shipments, and it is also custom printed with their branding, two brilliant benefits!

Rajapack top tipTop tip: We recommend that you apply any tape using a tape dispenser – for gummed paper tape use a paper tape dispenser, and to speed up operations even more use an electronic water activated tape dispenser.

Gummed paper tape has a natural adhesive, it is tamper evident so you can see if the tape has been removed from the carton and most importantly, eco-friendly and can be recycled with the box.

The closure of the box

This is a great time saving piece of equipment for large production lines, a box closing machine is often one of the first machine investments a high volume warehouse will make.

Rajapack top tipTop tip: make sure you use machine tape instead of standard tape, it has a longer tape length so require less changes.

  1. The centralised packing platform, the packing bench

Some might call it a workstation, a packing bench or a packing station. Whatever the term, it is the central location and area for you to pack and prepare parcels to then be shipped and sent.   This platform allows you to be organised, efficient and prepared, and is more than a standard workbench or table. It provides a clear working space with dedicated areas to access your components and equipment, whether you’re wrapping, blocking, bracing or sealing – the structured frame will help equip you with tools for a seamless operation.

Contact Rajapack

For information on workstations and finding a solution that suits you, discuss your needs with a Packaging Specialist on 0800 542 44 28.

Label it – the ultimate guide to shipping labels

How to label a package

Famously, letters used to arrive on Arthur Wellesley’s doormat having being simply addressed ‘Number 1, London’. While this worked for the Duke of Wellington, today’s ecommerce merchants need to include far more detail than that for packages to not only arrive where they are supposed to, but also to pass seamlessly through the international shipping network.

Here we outline all you need to know – from the basics to the details – of how to label packages for shipping, so that they get where they need to go, get there when they are promised and get there in one piece.

How to label a parcel

Knowing how to label a parcel for delivery has two distinct, yet equally important, attributes: the current name, address and shipping details and the correct kind of label, positioned accurately and firmly.

How to fill out a label

Understanding how to fill out a label depends on the country that it is being sent to, however, the rule of thumb for domestic UK parcels, according to Royal Mail, is that the name and address go on the bottom left-hand corner on the front of the package and is structured with name, building or house number and street, town, city, postcode – all clearly printed or hand written on separate lines in left-aligned text with no full stops or commas.

How to fill out a shipping label

How to fill out a shipping label

For packages going further afield, vendors need to think carefully about how to fill out a shipping label. This differs from simply sending a parcel as you need to factor in the shipping method specified by the customer. If they have selected priority shipping, you need to mark your package accordingly and pay the right postage/shipping fee.

If you are using a courier you will also need to print out their labelling as this will feature all the barcoded information that they need to get the package through their systems from collection to delivery.

How you fill in the shipping label will depend largely on the carrier and can usually be done via their website and printed out. See the section below for some examples as we look more in depth at shipping labels.

How to label a package

Before we take a more detailed look at shipping labels, it is worth pausing to look at how to label a package so that the label stays attached. While getting the details right is crucial, making sure that the label stays affixed is also key.

The best way to do this is to print the shipping details onto bespoke shipping labels and to make sure that they are properly attached.

You will also have to mark the package with what it contains: outlining whether the contents is fragile, perishable, corrosive, flammable and so on. You may also want to label your parcel “this way up” if the goods need to be kept level.

While many shipping companies will require the details of what is being shipped – especially if you’re dealing with international freight – these types of labels also help the goods arrive in prime condition: something vital to your business.

Document enclosed labels with the words ‘Documents enclosed’ printed on the actual label have the dual purpose of denoting what products are found in the parcel, as well as displaying the delivery address for the courier.

Plain printed and green doc enclosed

Documents enclosed envelope labels: putting all the details in a handy adhesive wallet is a great idea

There is also an extensive range of other labels to denote contents and handling instructions, such as ‘Fragile’, ‘Handle With Care’ – which are there to help keep the product ship shape during transport, as well as to inform the carrier of the special requirements or to warn of any dangers or issues with the contents.

Shipping labels

‘Fragile’ and ‘This Way Up’ are just some of the ways to label your package

And for extra safety, there are even TiltWatch packaging labels, where the indicator turns red if the parcel has been tilted 90 degrees or more.

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

TiltWatch packaging labels: a handy way to see if your package has been kept the right way up

How to label a box for shipping

As we have seen, learning how to label a box for shipping is key to getting your package to the right person, at the right time and in mint condition. Shipping labelling is vital to making this happen.

What is a shipping label?

A shipping label differs from an address label in that it not only features the address of where the package is to go, but also specifies the contents of the container being shipped.

When looking at how to write a shipping label, you must make sure that it contains the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, its weight, the contents of the package and, if the merchandise is subject to any form of inspection – especially when it crosses borders – the inspection information must also be included.

Labels also include information relating to the method of shipping – be it priority, standard and so on – the carrier, the date sent and tracking information for the shipper.

What does a shipping label look like?

If you’re unsure on what a shipping label looks like, below is an example, but yours will feature the specific information you need to display dependent on what you are shipping and how.

What does a shipping label look like

How to put a shipping label on a package

The shipping label should be on one side of your package – ideally the top if there is a ‘This Way Up’ label on the package – and should be sized so that it fits entirely on that side. Ensure you put a shipping label on a packaging without it being folded over the edges or parts of the label being on the sides, as important information might not be seen or it might prevent it from being scanned!

If you use self-adhesive labels, make sure that they are firmly applied, with no missed corners sticking up, as this could cause the label to be accidentally removed or damaged.

Some shippers also like to cover their labels in transparent tape or insert them into an affixed plastic wallet such as a Documents Enclosed Envelope to protect them from moisture and other damage. This is good practice, but make sure that the whole label is displayed and that the label can be read easily.

In conclusion

So, for anyone who isn’t the Duke of Wellington, these are our top tips for labelling packages for shipping. Remember to clearly show the name and address, show the sender, the contents, weight, priority and customer’s requirements – and make sure that everything is on the label and is firmly secured to the package and, where you think necessary, protected with tape or a cover.

Also consider how to mark your packages with relevant labels, which will help to get it to their destination in mint condition, so look at where best to use ‘Fragile’, ‘This Way Up’ and other labels to help instruct carriers and customers on how to handle the package with care.

For more information, why not read our Labelling Packaging for Shipping guide or visit www.rajapack.co.uk to see our entire range of packaging labels, or call our team of experienced Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 4428.

What’s new for Rajapack customers in 2019?

Late last month we held our fourth Annual Supplier Day which featured new products, discussions about the latest trends and innovations, and problem solving with leading industry experts.

As usual this was a busy, lively day full of interactive workshops and seminars, giving everyone the opportunity to learn from our specialist suppliers. This year was also the first to showcase the Welco team with an area dedicated to warehouse equipment, products and suppliers.

Packaging industry - Rajapack Supplier day 2019

“Just wanted to say what a fantastic day we had… once again I was impressed with the enthusiasm and work ethic of the team at Rajapack and Welco” – QMP

What’s new in packaging for 2019?

The supplier exhibition ran throughout the day alongside workshop seminars by Ranpak, Southgate, Jiffy and Reedbut, who featured new product lines, packaging innovations and problem solving activities for everyone to get involved in. The day then rounded off with a 3-course dinner and the Rajapack Annual Supplier Excellence Awards.

Supplier Focus: Ranpak

Rajapack 2019 Supplier Excellence Awards Ranpak seminar

“I loved the Ranpak seminar, very useful and informative! Also great to speak to suppliers… I learnt a lot about the Welco side of things” – Rajapack employee

We were proud to host Ranpak again this year and Andy Murray, a Senior Account Manager, presented the first workshop of the day. The focus was around growing customer demand for more environmentally friendly products, as a result of this Ranpak is growing their line of paper-based products and making them available to customers this year.

Also announced was a brand-new product for 2019 – an innovation in protective packaging called the WrapPak Protector. This versatile, sustainable and cost-efficient packaging machine produces waved paper pads and will be available online with the launch of our new March 2019 Rajapack catalogue.

Supplier Focus: Southgate

Rajapack 2019 Supplier Excellence Awards Southgate seminar

“This day helped me with developing my product knowledge. It was good to see suppliers and asking them questions I get from my customers” – Rajapack employee

Dale Turner, Business Development Manager from Southgate, dived into the second workshop of the day by discussing the correct usage of void fill and minimising unnecessary waste. Dale brought this lesson to life with an animated competition to see who can use the minimum amount of air pillows when packing plates into a box. Each box was then drop tested and opened with very mixed results!

Some plates broke and some did not, showing the importance of efficient packing and using quality pillows. Often, less is more in terms of product protection with no need to overuse protective packaging.

The second competition from the Southgate presentation was a race against time to construct and seal boxes using 2 different types of tape; gummed tape that’s used with the water activated tape dispenser machine vs. non-paper tape using a hand dispenser.

Results showed that the gummed paper tape was quicker and easier than the non-paper tape, with less waste. The handheld tape dispenser was certainly quick at sealing cartons, the ridge of the dispenser guided the tape to the carton and the in-built blade effectively cut the tape. However, the electronic water activated dispenser was quicker as the tape length could be pre-set, allowing the tape to be applied in one swift motion and smoothed down by hand to the board. The gummed tape was much quicker and had a cleaner and tidier finish, used less tape, and is environmentally friendlier too.

Supplier Focus: Jiffy

Fiona MacDougall, Jiffy at the Rajapack Supplier day


“I think this year was the best supplier day we have had so far, great atmosphere all day and evening with everyone getting to know one another” – Rajapack employee

We were pleased to welcome household name Jiffy to our Supplier Day again this year. Fiona MacDougall, Sales and Marketing Director, presented the seminar featuring Jiffy’s new lines of product innovation for 2019.

To further develop the knowledge of our Packaging Specialists, attendees were split into teams and presented with several problem scenarios in a packing application. The scenarios featured a wide range of examples from industry sectors, from packing leather suites, to essential oils and gifts, through to alloy wheels and chilled food. The teams were then tasked to problem solve the different scenarios.   

After the session Jiffy presenter Fiona MacDougall commented:

“The team were engaged and asked lots of questions. Their knowledge on how they would service the problems was excellent, and I felt they enjoyed the session and learned a lot more about our product range.”

Supplier Focus: Reedbut

The final workshop of the day was presented by Martyn Clarke, Group Sales Director and Tony Waddell, Product Specialist, from Reedbut and had a focus on the environment and how we can make a difference.

Shockingly, the level of plastics in our oceans is set to treble over the next 10 years. The popularity of the BBC nature show Blue Planet II caused such a huge impact on the nation that more customers want to talk about environmentally friendly packaging options with their packaging provider, such as moving to corrugated solutions.

Martyn and Tony then went on to discuss paper weights and asked the question: Are all papers equal, even if they weigh the same? We discovered the answer is no, and neither are the current cardboard grades which are offered by sheet feeders.

Many sheet feeders don’t track, control or guarantee board and box performance, which can lead to variations up to 30% in performance. Reedbut summarised by suggesting a change in how the industry supply and quote on these products, by moving away from using grades based on historical nominal paper weights.

The Supplier Excellence Awards 2019

Into the evening, we held our Supplier Excellence Awards, which gave us an opportunity to recognise and award our suppliers for their support across the year.

Awards evening - Rajapack Supplier Excellence Awards 2019

Congratulations to all our winners!

  • Proactive Supplier of the Year is awarded to the supplier who has proactively demonstrated new approaches, products, services or processes within the course of their business with Rajapack that is delivering or has delivered tangible results.

Winner: Southgate Packaging

  • Customer Experience Award celebrates suppliers who have gone above and beyond to support Rajapack’s customers during 2018 and is given to the supplier who can demonstrate that they have Rajapack’s customer at the heart of all they do.

Winner: Premier Limpet Ltd

  • Service Excellence Award is given to the supplier who has been able to demonstrate an excellent track record of service excellence within 2018 through consistency & quality of supply, whilst providing professional, responsive and proactive communication.

Winner: Anco Storage Equipment Ltd

  • Extra Mile Award recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond to support Rajapack throughout 2018.

Winner: Gary Higgs from Readycase

  • And finally, the prestigious Rajapack Supplier of the Year Award, is given to the supplier who has demonstrated best in class proactivity, innovation, product quality, service & customer service thereby achieving exceptional mutual sales growth during 2018.

Winner: Diamond Box

Feedback from attendees shows this year’s supplier day was energetic and interactive, making it the most memorable supplier day so far. Over the past few years this day has grown in importance for the industry and is now seen as a must-attend event due to the value being placed on supplier announcements, interactive workshops and the importance of networking.

Finally, Chris Liddell, Product and Purchasing Director at Rajapack, had this to say about the Supplier Day 2019:

“This year’s Rajapack Supplier Day was bigger and better than before, with over 25 market leading suppliers demonstrating innovative products and solutions to Rajapack’s team of Packaging Specialists. This year, the theme was how Rajapack can continue to work together in 2019, to deliver exceptional product choice, quality and market leading customer service to our customers.

With the support from our suppliers, in 2019, Rajapack is launching a wider range of warehouse and handling product solutions. The key takeaway from Supplier Day 2019, was innovative packaging solutions, to reduce our customer’s environmental impact.”