Tag Archives: business

Posting parcels to your customers

Posting parcels to your customers

For shipping and deliveries within the UK or internationally, businesses can either use the Royal Mail or a courier to send their postal boxes, pallet loads or even items in small mailing bags – if they do not have their own dedicated fleet. For small businesses it is convenient to ‘pop it in the post’, or for larger businesses to arrange shipping and deliveries with couriers.

Unfortunately accidents can happen, if any damages occur during transit it’s likely that the retailer can be found accountable – despite it necessarily not being their fault. It might also mean retailers may have to incur the costs associated with the order.

As far as the customer is concerned, they placed an order from your business and they received a damaged product, regardless of it leaving your warehouse on time, and in tip top condition.

A happy online shopper is one that has received their delivery in the post, and of course, as expected. We are captivated by videos and pictures of unboxing or when a parcel is perfectly packed – who wouldn’t want to share their latest purchase.
Posting parcels to your customers - a happy online shopper

However, if a delivery is delayed or if the parcel is received in poor condition, this would probably result in a very unhappy shopper. And this customer is likely to share their disappointment on social media with a sad or angry Emoji, instead of a smiley cheery face.

In such a competitve market, customers are spoilt for choice and are not afraid to return their orders and look elsewhere.

Whether you have your own fleet of delivery vans, or not, here are some pointers to help you improve the efficiencies of your delivery and to help ensure a happy customer.

#1 Deliver directly to letterboxes

When the size, weight or value of goods permit, use envelopes and mailing bags or postal boxes that can fit through post boxes or letter boxes.  Online retailers can improve efficiency by using letter-box design available packaging suited to products, but also, to reduce costs. This also decreases the number of touchpoints that could go wrong before it safely reaches the customer’s hands.

Benefits to the customer:

  • No missed delivery and redelivery needing scheduled
  • No parcels left in unsecure places or left outside and subjected to adverse weather conditions affected by the weather
  • No misshaped or unpresentable parcels from oversized packaging

Benefits for the retailer:

  • No additional postal costs from using packaging too large for the size of the product
  • No unnecessary or additional void fill needed to protect the product
  • No admin time rescheduling deliveries and drivers redelivering parcels
  • No storage space needed to hold the redeliveries

Royal Mail letter, parcel and postal tubes sizes

Source: Royal Mail

The European standard EN 13724:2002 standardises the size of letter boxes across Europe, this ensures all post within the set dimensions can be successfully posted through customers’ doors. Unfortunately, the UK did not adopt this regulation1 meaning letter box dimensions do slightly vary. Despite this, to increase the deliverability a business must adhere to the strict postal size and weight restrictions letters and parcels from the Royal Mail and the UK standard delivery information from the Post Office, and also, make sure the efficiency and the quality of the packaging is the most suited.

#2 Efficient and quality packaging

You won’t have as much control over the journey and conditions of your deliveries if you use a delivery company. To help the success of your deliveries, some steps can be taken such as understanding how to use packaging labels and hazard labels, informing the carrier how the parcel should be handled or even making sure the parcels are sealed correctly by knowing how to use packaging tape. Even if your business has its own delivery vehicles – you can still benefit by making sure the most effective and appropriate packaging is used.

Efficient and quality packaging

  1. To reduce packaging costs: Insert your measurements into our box finder or bag finder, and the right sized cardboard box or bag will be displayed. Meaning, products will not shift in packaging that’s too big, no extra void fill needed to fill spaces, or damages from the loose-fitting packaging – which will also make the parcel look unpresentable.
  2. Innovative packaging materials: Simplify packing with multi-purpose and versatile packaging materials. Packaging with integrated protection, such as mailing bags with adhesive strips (no tape is required), foam postal boxes, with protective inner foam lining or book boxes, will completely wrap around securing the products.
  3. Custom-made and bespoke packaging: Designed to fit specific products so packaging dimensions can be maximised. Bespoke packaging also reduces the need for additional packaging, as with most bespoke packaging the protection is included into the design – preventing contact with the main outside packaging layer and the product itself.

For advice on your packaging operation, contact our Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28, or email sales@rajapack.co.uk.

1 https://www.safe.co.uk/safezone/2011/09/the-european-standard-for-letter-boxes/

Storage solutions

The key to good warehousing is good storage solutions and organisation: and that means having the right storage bins and warehouse equipment to keep everything in the right place and making sure everyone can find what they are looking for.Warehouse storage solutions

There is a vast array of storage solutions available, from simple cardboard storage bins to plastic storage boxes that stack in neat piles. They can be shelved, wall or rack mounted, stacked, and smaller ones can often be used inside larger ones.

So what exactly is a storage container, how big are they, what are they made of and how can you use them?

What is a storage container?

A storage container is any sort of container used to keep things in and they are usually found in warehouses or offices. They can also be called storage bins and can be pretty much any shape, size, colour or material – although cardboard and plastic are favoured as they are strong and economical to mass produce – they can be used to store pretty much anything.

Storage bins come in all shapes, sizes and materials

There are storage containers that fit on shelves, on wall mounted panels or stack up on themselves; there are louvred storage bins to heavy-duty lidded crates. Whatever your storage needs, there is a storage solution for it.

There are ranges of lidded bins, both in cardboard and plastic that can handle all manner of storage and warehousing needs. From storing and protecting documents, to filing tools, nuts and bolts and a vast array of other products – you just need to remember what you have put into which bin!

How to label storage bins

Labelling storage bins is crucial for knowing just what is in each bin or container, making it clear for anyone to find what they are looking for. How to label them comes down to what you are storing in them, but a few rules of thumb apply.

If you have lots of wall mounted containers or a stack of storage bins with lids, it can help to label them either alphabetically or chronologically and keep an inventory of what, when and where items were stored.

While it is possible to write on cardboard and some plastic containers, sticky labels are ideal as they can be clearly printed on and, should the contents of that storage bin change, a new label can be stuck over the old (or the old removed and replaced with a new one).

There are also ranges of storage bins that come with plastic holders for labels, as well as ranges that feature a slot for a label, making labelling straightforward and clear.

Storage bins with plastic label holders or with a slot for a label

If your containers contain fragile or dangerous goods, then you must label them correctly. Read our guide on hazard labels that can be used to mark those up – showing everything from ‘Fragile’ to ‘This way up’ to some of the dangers that may be stored within, such as ‘Corrosive’ or “Flammable’ and so on.

What are storage containers made of?

Storage containers are made of a range of materials, but typically they are made either from cardboard or from plastic. Cardboard is typically used for lighter, and drier goods, that do not generally require special handling. Cardboard storage bins are economical, ecological and are pretty flexible as to what you can keep in it.

Cardboard storage bins are cheap, plentiful and great for lighter storage

Plastic storage containers are made from high strength polypropylene – with some even made from recycled high strength polypropylene – and come in a range of thicknesses depending on the load they are likely to carry. Plastic storage containers can hold more heavy duty products, and are more durable and resistant.

Some storage solutions are made from transparent light-grade high-strength polypropylene, convenient for people to identify the contents, especially when they are stacked. Also, clear storage bins are useful for seeing what is stored within, and are available in selected colours – which are not only pretty, but extremely useful for colour-coding the inventory contained therein.Stackable plastic storage bins

 

Other bins such as large heavy-duty stackable plastic storage bins are made from super-thick high grade high-strength polypropylene, able to take a much greater weight of contents and allowing for tall stacks. These can handle all manner of storage demands – including handling containerised liquids, some foods, chemicals and dirty or oily parts – and have an excellent longevity in use.

Some storage containers are made from polyboard: a wipe-clean, 3.5mm thick polypropylene honeycomb that is shock and chemical resistant, as well as very light and very storing. These are ideal for the storage of mechanical and electrical parts and even pharmaceuticals.

Poliboard stackable plastic storage containers

How big is a storage container?

How big a storage container is depends on a number of factors. With such a vast choice of different storage options available it is hard to pick standard sizes across the board, but within certain categories of container there are usually a range of options.

Louvred storage bins that can be stacked or wall-mounted on louvred panels, come in a range of sizes and capacities – and with capacities that depend on whether they are standalone, stacked or mounted. At Rajapack we offer these bins in 8 different sizes and come in 4 colour variants.

Stackable plastic containers are slightly more standardised. The Rajapack range offer these containers in three sizes, coming in volumes of 14, and 52 litres, from sizes 400x280x200mm, 500x350x250mm and 590x400x290mm. This allows containers of the same size to be stacked – and many have secure interlocking mouldings on the bottoms and the lids to make them more stable.

Perforated Euro plastic stacking containers – which look a lot like old-fashioned beer crates – are another plastic storage solution that come with handy handles, and which also stack and are great for anything that may need ventilation while being stored.

Perforated Euro plastic stacking containers

At Rajapack these come in nine sizes, but all based around a standard 600x400mm footprint. Some are 300x400mm and some 600x800mm, but again these are multiples of the standard size. They come in heights of 70mm, 118mm, 150mm, 235mm, 280mm, 320mm and 410mm.

Picking the right sizes for your particular need is key – not least if you want them to stack. This is why it is often a good idea to buy your whole storage solution from one supplier, so that you have commonality of sizes which can also work together.

How much does a storage container weigh?

How much a storage container weighs depends very much on its size and what it is made from. Attached lid plastic storage containers’ weight are between 3.1 and 3.6kg depending on size, while most of the others are lighter, weighing in at under a kilo each.

The weight of a storage container depends largely on what you put in it, but they all come with weight limits. That said, the high strength polypropylene containers are so strong that they can’t hold enough bulk to break them.

How wide is a storage container?

The widths of storage containers are variable, as we have seen, although families of containers often come in neat multiples of one another so that they at least tesselate when stacked or can be arranged in neat combinations on shelves or wall mounts.

Louvred containers as we have seen come in a variety of widths that allow them to be mixed and matched to fit on standard wall mounts or trolleys. In the Rajapack range, large cardboard storage bins come in widths of 440 and 835mm to fit on standardised shelving.

Stacking containers tend to have standard footprints or multiples thereof. Euro plastic stacking and nesting containers, for example, come in standard widths of 300 or 400mm and lengths of 400 or 600mm. They then offer different storage volumes based around a range of heights.

Louvre storage bins

Are plastic storage bins recyclable?

What can you do with old storage bins? Despite being tough and resilient, eventually you may need to get rid of storage bins and containers – so what can you do with them?

Cardboard storage solutions can of course simply be recycled at any recycling centre. Polypropylene (PP) containers – including polyboard – can be recycled at specialist PP recycling centres, where they are crushed, chipped and melted down. This recycled PP is then used to make more storage containers – and garden furniture, butter tubs, bottle tops and more.

Want to know more about storage containers?

For additional advice on storage solutions, our packaging experts are here to help you find the right packaging solution and arrange next day delivery. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

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.

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.”

New Year’s budget resolutions for 2019

With the end of year reports finalised for 2018, it is likely that you’ve set your business plans for 2019. To help make sure nothing is forgotten, we’ve shortlisted the top 5 key areas that might be worth considering, to help your ecommerce operation run smoothly.

Rajapack guide for responsible logistics and budgeting for 2019

We’ll provide some handy hints and tips to improve the customer experience, help your business go green and how to manage your warehouse and logistics supply chain, to enable you to have a successful 2019.

#1 Strengthen your customers’ experience

Not only is it a trend across all sectors, businesses are now focusing more on the customer presentation, choosing a customer-centric approach. It is also an opportunity to promote your brand to potential customers.                  

Consider how our TV viewing habits have changed in recent years – it really is quite staggering. The norm of flat screen TVs has advanced to high definition, and now smart TV’s, with cinemas now offering 4D viewings that deliver a multi-sensory experience.

Improve the unboxing experience

The same can be observed in the ecommerce industry. A new customer’s loyalty to a brand can be won from their first order, firstly was it received within the expected lead time, secondly, what is the external condition of the item when it arrives.  Of course freight and couriers might not be in your control, but think about is in your control. What does the customer see when the package is opened? First impressions count, and that’s why the unboxing experience  is so important for many businesses.

Ideas to make your company memorable for all the right reasons:

  • Easy to use packaging: your packaging might look fantastic but it’s vital to make sure it is easy to open without making the customer struggle. One of our bestsellers in our ecommerce range is the panel wrap book box with a practical tear strip.
  • Make sending returns easy: making the returns procedure as smooth as possible will ensure customer retention as the customer will feel confident to purchase again, this is all part of the buying experience. Innovative packaging such as returnable wraparound media boxes can help your eco-footprint as no additional materials are required, whilst keeping the returns process simple for your customers.
  • Enhance the product experience: develop and reinforce the customer journey by customising your packaging to create a positive unboxing experience.

#2 Choose eco-friendly packaging alternatives

As the ecommerce sector continues to grow rapidly, the resources needed to support this industry also increases. Go green and use more eco-friendly packaging options.

With the increase of ecommerce sales, the demand for packaging has increased but the good news is that eco-friendly packaging alternatives are available. You can choose from corrugated cardboard packaging to even biodegradable void fill that is made from potato packaging!

Organisations are under a lot of pressure to ensure they include sustainable measures within their supply chain, and the much talked about problem with plastic is a concern for the human nation not just manufacturers. In a survey we carried out, our results raised the very important questions of, do we care as much about the environment as we think we do? And do we think we’re greener than we actually are?

Our advice:

  • Eco-responsible purchasing policy: use responsibly sourced supplies where possible and consider your supply chain. And also review the environmental impact of your business.
  • Be aware of new technologies: develop your packing processes, where possible, switch to environmentally-responsible packaging alternatives.
  • Going green doesn’t have to cost the earth… and certainly doesn’t affect the protection qualities of the packaging. Eco-packaging can also help reduce your cost per shipment by using innovative packaging designs and reducing unnecessary void-fill and tape for example.

A simple eco-friendly wrapping solution that protects and presents your products like the Geami WrapPak® EX MINI is perfect for small businesses that run from home.

Geami eco gift wrap and protection

#3 Improve efficiencies in your logistics chain                 

Customers are expecting shorter delivery times, so manage your warehouse to improve efficiencies in the logistics supply chain, to be able to deliver on the customer experience.

Reducing transportation and logistics expense is important to all businesses, particularly with fluctuating fuel costs. One thing you do have control over is reducing the weight and volume of your shipments and streamlining your packing process to deliver your orders quickly and avoiding damage.

Optimise your transport costs

Why not take a read of our article, The future of last mile logistics and learn how two forward-thinking companies handle their deliveries.

Our advice:

  • Technology is the future: consider investing in new systems that will enable you to increase your output, as customers increasingly expect more from your business.
  • Research readily available resources: it will save you time and help you make decisions for your business. For example, if you need a packaging box but not sure on your options, by entering your product dimensions in our online tool the results will list appropriate box sizes. This will avoid the need for additional packaging and will also reduce the weight!
  • Ask for expect advice or support: discuss your business needs with a Packaging Specialist to find solutions and optimise your processes, whether you’re a start-up business or have a warehouse sendings 000s of consignments daily, it’s worth a call.
  • Invest in multipurpose packaging and processes: from a tangible point of view, the popular foam postal box has complete wraparound foam that requires no additional protection that is quick to house products. Implementing an innovative new packing process might prove tempting, but you’ll need to check if it suits your business and can grow with you.
  • Invest and grow: with any new logistics upgrade there are initial upfront investments, but the long term transport and logistic gains will hopefully be visible in your next budget review.

#4 Customise your packaging

From ordering to unboxing, customer experiences are as valuable as the product itself. Keep customers engaged and retain their business.           

Custom printed boxes

2019 New Year’s resolution: Be bold and customise your packaging with your brand!

Internal and external custom printed boxes

Customised packaging can help say a lot about your business. We have spoken to some of our customers across different industries, from retail to food and healthcare. Together we have compiled ways to create brand marketing materials and merchandise for a range of budgets.

Inserting a flyer

It’s what’s on the flyer that matters. Think about the content and what message you would like your customers to know or want them to do.  Why not encourage customers to share positive experiences, include a promotion code to encourage a repeat purchase or personalise the flyer with the recipient’s name or even the name of the person who packed their order. This is more complex, but can be a nice personal touch. Get inspired by what online retailers Cheerz or Le Closet do in terms of inserted messages.

Inserting flyer in your parcels

Personalised tissue paper

Match the tissue paper to your business colours or custom print with your brand logo. Tissue paper is widely used across the retail and the ecommerce industry, particularly for specialist boutiques for added luxury. If you choose to invest in customised packaging, tissue paper is a simple choice, though less impactful as only the recipient will see this, but think of the reactions and feelings created.  This will surely add value to their unboxing experience.  If custom print is not an option, choosing coloured tissue paper in your brand colours is a quick alternative to personalise packaging, or even patterned tissue paper.

Customise items that seal your packages

Rajaprint custom printed tapes

Benefits of custom printed tape:

  • Added security and tamper resistant: your custom printed tape is unique and cannot be easily re-taped.
  • Brand reinforcement: continue your brand experience through the entire customer journey, including brand recognition from carriers.
  • Doubling-up with an added benefit: if tape is a necessity in your packing area, the added benefits of it being branded has no additional steps in your packing processes, nor does it require any additional storage space.

Rajapack hintsTop tip: Find out the different custom print tape options suitable for your business whilst making sure you select the correct tape type for your shipments. Remember, it is easy to get carried away with the design and colour, but the main purpose is to still seal your parcels! You can learn about your tape options and see a 3D preview of your branded tape before you purchase, by using online tape designing tools such as Rajaprint.

Do you have an eco-responsible purchasing policy? There are even customisable paper alternatives available. Self-adhesive paper sealing tape and gummed paper tape are environmentally friendly options that are recyclable.

Do your shipments require a heavy duty alternative? Instead of packaging tape, then personalised strapping could be your answer.

Customised labels

For an effective low-cost option, alongside tissue paper, for added decoration and protection, why not use a customised label to seal the tissue paper together, or the label can be used to close your parcels externally. Once again there is a great opportunity to think about the brand experience as the label can be used for any messaging, not just your logo!

Rajapack hintsGet creative with your content! Messaging includes your sales and promotions too, so get your marketing team involved for a multi-channel sales approach!

Customise your core packaging range

Unboxing is a phenomenon that has taken over YouTube in recent years and shared across social media, as you may be aware social media sharing is all free advertising, and will increase your reach to new target audiences. Personalising your core packaging range such as your boxes, bags and envelopes has been adopted by many businesses. This personalised approach of your packaging range, extends the exposure of you brand to customers.

Messaging in your custom printed boxes

Our advice:

  • Get customising: with so many options available, it is difficult to list all the merchandise options that can be customised. Contact a supplier and discuss your requirements and find out what is possible for your business.
  • Innovative ideas: have you seen something that you like? Play on own your personal experiences or emulate brands that inspire you.
  • Get creative with your content: what do you want customers to think of and do when they open your order? What lasting impression do want to leave with your customers?
  • Need help or advice? Packaging Specialists are available to help guide you through this custom print and bespoke packaging journey. With so many options available it can be tricky but working through what’s not right for your business can help find what is!

Contact Rajapack0800 630 06 21 or email specials@rajapack.co.uk

#5 Boost the productivity of your warehouse

Improve your packaging efficiencies with the use of new technologies, such as, automating your warehouse processes to equip your business, which will help your business increase output.

Getting the level of resource correct in your warehouse fulfilment operation is vital. Less operatives could mean less loads packed and will affect number of loads shipped. Investing in employees is important and giving them the right tools and training to do their job is key.

Improve warehouse productivity and efficiency

Our advice:

  • A guide to packaging machines: at Rajapack we categorise packaging machines and systems into three different types, by the type of protection they offer. Take some time to familiarise yourself with what’s on the market.
  • Research readily available resources: once again, take advantage of tools that exist! It is easy to be overwhelmed by the choice of packaging machines, but the Rajasystem interactive guide uses your answers to filter appropriate machinery and systems to your business needs.
  • Free packaging consultations and audits: our packaging audit will allow opportunities to review your packing operations and show you ways to gain efficiencies with what is available in the industry. We cannot always reinvent the wheel but we can bring innovations to market for your business!
  • Warehouse and workshop equipment: depending on the scale, you’ll need to think about the wider support needed for an organised packing workstation and more efficient warehouse operation.

Forward plan where possible especially when it comes to peak periods. Have you checked your warehouse equipment recently? Have you done a stock take? These require an investment, so take the time to research this properly and not take short cuts to avoid any last minute surprises.

Ecommerce budgets tips for 2019

  • Environmental friendly logistics – eco-responsible packaging and optimise load space.
  • Improve the customer experience – enhance the appearance and design of your packaging.
  • Optimise your warehouse and make it more efficient – try and make efficiencies across transport, warehouse processes and equipment.

What are your 2019 business goals?

For a no obligation free audit and consultation, do not hesitate to contact the team on 0800 542 44 28 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk

Corrugated cardboard boxes 101: What you need to know

Cardboard is the one of the most popular packaging materials in use today, and the most well known is corrugated cardboard boxes, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.  It’s lightweight, strong and resilient, offering excellent protection for almost any item.  But did you know that it’s corrugated cardboard that gives boxes their strength?

Today we’re focusing on precisely that – the material that gives corrugated cardboard boxes their superior strength and resilience.  In this post we’ll be covering everything corrugate related, including how cardboard boxes are made, when corrugated cardboard was invented and how it works, as well as tips on recycling; how to shred, cut and dispose of corrugate.

Corrugated cardboard boxes - What you need to knowImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/cardboard-perspective-texture-467819

How is corrugated cardboard made?

First we’ll start with the basics – just what is corrugated cardboard?  Put simply, it’s the thick, strong arrangement of card that makes up the walls of a cardboard box.  It’s this combination of materials that gives cardboard their high strength and resistance to bumps, knocks and crushing.

The cardboard that makes it up is arranged in a concertina, zig-zag like like pattern which gives strength to both sides of the box. This is held in place and secured with a layer of paper on either side which is called the fluting.  Fixed in place firmly with strong adhesive, it can be made of different types of paper such as Kraft or Test, and it’s these outer layers that keeps the corrugate securely contained inside.  For more information about the inner liners and fluting, take a look at our beginner’s lesson in corrugate cardboard and cardboard in a recent post about cardboard box disposal.

How is corrugated cardboard madeImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/corrugated-cardboard-boxes-flutes-2225141/

So, exactly when was corrugated cardboard invented?  Its history goes back a long way – the earliest reports of it being patented were in England in 1856. Although it was not thought of as a packaging material at the time and was mainly used for other things such as hat lining!

The first recorded packaging and shipping patent for corrugate was in the United States and issued on December the 19th, 1871, where it was used for wrapping bottles and glass lantern chimneys.   In the years that followed it became a popular packaging material, with wooden crates and boxes replaced by corrugated paper shipping cartons from the early 1900s.

With the development of this resourceful material, cardboard boxes could be readily made for reliable shipping and storage, but how are cardboard boxes made?  The process begins by making the inner corrugated board – this is done by a large machine called a corrugator.  Board is fed into the corrugator, heated and pressed into the concertina form that we see above – this forms the central filling of the cardboard box wall.  Two outer liners, the fluting, are then fed through and securely glued to the corrugate using very strong adhesive.  Once the glue is set using steam, the flat complete board can be cut into large sheets of various sizes which are used to form the flat packed cardboard boxes that you receive from your packaging supplier. At Rajapack we stock over 600 different sizes and types of cardboard boxes , so you can imagine the cutting and loading process can become quite complicated!

What is corrugated cardboard used for?

Corrugated cardboard can be used for various applications, the most common is to house items with the use of a corrugated cardboard box. But first, let’s understand just how does corrugated cardboard work?  This innovative construction features three separate materials and gets its super strength from the combination of all 3 working together.  In the centre, the concertina card is tightly but firmly packed within two layers of fluting and this gives strength across the width of the card to both sides of the material. It’s this concertina structure that makes the card super strong.

With many different types of cardboard box available, we often get asked which is the right one to use, and how thick is corrugated cardboard?  The great thing about how it’s made means that many different types and strengths can be produced.

Some use thinner, more lightweight materials with a single layer of corrugate for a light and strong box – these are called single wall boxes.  Others can use several layers of corrugate made from much thicker card.  For these boxes, the material can feel as strong as steel! Our ultimate strength triple wall boxes can support up to an impressive 500Kg in weight, all from a few layers of cardboard!

Corrugated cardboard 101 - Single double and triple wall boxes

We already know that corrugated board was patented for use as a shipping material in 1871, and this was for single side, single face corrugated board with one layer of paper on one layer of corrugate.  But who invented corrugated cardboard? The patent was registered in New York City by Albert Jones – you can actually see the first patent for corrugate as this is hosted online, along with the description and technical information registered – a fascinating piece of packaging history!

Why is corrugated cardboard so strong?

Corrugate cardboard is so strong because of it’s internal structure, and this contributes to the same reason why corrugated cardboard is a good insulator. The main strength of corrugate comes from it’s concertina like zig zag shape.  Being contained within fluting by strong adhesive, cardboard is strongest along the length of the material and it’s this structure that gives it strength to support both sides. And all between the fluting air is trapped and cannot move around, the layers prevent the air from escaping making it a poor head conductor.

Is corrugated cardboard recyclable?

Corrugated cardboard is recyclable, for additional information on Rajapack and the environment why not take a look at our environmental FAQs and read on.

As a packaging provider we must be mindful of how our packaging materials can be recycled  and in an environmentally responsible way. So, is corrugated cardboard biodegradable?

The good news is that yes, it is biodegradable. It will break down in the environment over time, though it can take a long time depending on the environment that it’s in.  If it’s wet and broken up into small pieces then it will degrade much faster, so if you have a compost bin at your home or business then cardboard can be a great addition to your compost.

Boxes can be quite large once broken down particularly if they’re pallet or export boxes.  If you don’t have a great deal of space to store them on site in between recycling collections, then you may wish to shred your cardboard.

If you want to know how to shred corrugated cardboard, it’s simple and straightforward.  You could use an automatic cardboard shredder which perforates and converts corrugated cardboard into a strong, shock absorbent netting material which can be used as packaging.  Alternatively, you can shred it manually by soaking it in water which makes it very easy to tear and cut through with normal scissors if it’s single or double wall.  For triple wall, you might need something a little stronger like a box cutter detailed below, or some industrial scissors that offer more strength.

Even though it does break down, it’s always our preference to recycle cardboard when you can – all our boxes are made from 75% recycled fibres on average.  Local recycling collections for paper and card are usually frequent and the recycling loop for corrugate is so efficient that used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks!  Cardboard recycles very well, without loss of strength or rigidity so it’s an excellent material to recycle.

Crushed corrugated cardboard boxes ready to be recycledImage source: https://unsplash.com/photos/1PxGp8kkQyk

Corrugated cardboard is also great to use for packing – placing in boxes to separate items to hold them securely in place.  The fact that it’s lightweight, easy to handle and cut means it’s perfect for many different uses.  If you’re wondering how to cut corrugated cardboard then don’t worry, it’s easy.  A small cutting knife, called a box cutter will do the job with ease and glide through corrugate easily.

Open a corrugated cardboard box with box cutters

What is non-corrugated cardboard?

Finally we’re looking at non-corrugated cardboard as an alternative.  Non-corrugated cardboard is exactly the opposite of corrugate as you would expect! In this material, cardboard is simply layered on top of each other, in the similar way to how puff pastry is made.  This can make the cardboard material smoother, so it’s good for printing striking visuals or designs onto.

It’s mainly used for lightweight products, presentation boxes and you may have encountered it in things like iPhone boxes or for other gadgets.  Generally, it’s not recommended to be used as a serious packaging material, though can be cheaper than corrugate due to its simpler and more lightweight construction.

If you’d like more information about corrugated cardboard, our range of cardboard boxes and packaging supplies, or help on selecting the right cardboard packaging for your business, get in touch with our team of packaging experts who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Your guide to choosing the right Strapping

Strapping is an excellent solution for securing shipments during transport or for medium or long-term storage. There are 3 main uses of strapping; to fix to a pallet, to join one parcel to another, and to offer more strength.  It can be used to secure almost anything, from fragile products to bulky loads.

But with so many different types of strapping available, how can you make sure you’re using the right type?  This post will explain exactly how, offering advice and tips on selecting the right strapping for you.

What is strapping?

After a cardboard box has been sealed with tape, even if it is a sturdy cardboard box, strapping can be applied to secure it fully.  It wraps all the way around the parcel, and the join is bonded or welded together to provide a tight, strong seal that can’t easily be broken.

It can easily be applied no matter the package size, on everything from standard size cartons to large export boxes and pallets.  It’s particularly useful when fixing a couple of cartons together – it’s then considered as one parcel so reduces shipping costs.  It’s also ideal for bulky and heavy items, where something stronger than normal packaging tape is needed for a secure fit.

Strapping machines and tools

Strapping can be applied manually using strapping tools or with the use of a strapping machine for a fast and efficient process.  Top tip! If you use a strapping machine no additional tools or seals are required to fasten the strapping, the machine will automatically friction weld the strapping to the seal.

For manual strapping, equipment is required to create tension in the strapping and seal it securely.  For businesses shipping varied products ranging in shape and size, a tensioning tool combined with sealer tool and seal will complete the packing process, and the handy feature of using it vertically means you can reposition yourself for awkward loads.  Combination strapping tools are available which simplify the process combine both a tensioner and sealer into a single tool, to only be used horizontally it makes packing straightforward for securing same-size and shape products, seals are also required.

Hand strapping machines are ideal for a variety of packages; they’re highly versatile for different size and product variations, mobile and can be used vertically and horizontally.

For packaging lines that need to strap large volumes of packages then a strapping machine is highly recommended.  Semi-automatic strapping machines and automatic strapping machines are available, with the high performance automatic machine able to produce up to 65 straps per minute.  They greatly speed up the strapping process by automatically tensioning and sealing the strapping, reducing the time it takes to seal boxes.

How to choose the right strapping for your product

There are several types of strapping available and to get the best results you need to ensure you choose the correct type that offers the benefits needed for your packaging operation.

Here are just a few questions to ask yourself before starting to buy strapping are listed below – these should give you a good idea of the strength and properties of strapping that you’ll need to ensure they support your shipments:

  • What is the application and how do you intend using it?
  • What is the weight, and is it a static or dynamic load?
  • Will the strapped shipments have to withstand any particular weather conditions?
  • Will the strapping be done manually with tools or will it be done automatically with a machine?
  • How far is it going and will long will it be strapped for?

The different kinds of strapping available

We’ve summarised the different types of strapping below, so you can learn the properties and advantages of the different materials, listed in increasing order of resistance.  This should help you make the right decision when buying strapping – and if you’re still not sure, then please do give our team a call on 0800 542 44 28 and we’ll be happy to help.

Polypropylene Strapping

PP or polypropylene strapping is very light and versatile, making it ideal for sealing, reinforcing and securing lighter loads.  With elastic properties, it does not deform or corrode and resists bumps and scrapes making it ideal for use on pallets that will be stored for long periods of time or shipped long distances.

PP or polypropylene strapping

It offers a resistance of up to 250kg and its light, plastic properties make it easy to work with. It can be sealed with self-locking plastic buckles and security seals. Top tip! If you are using a manual, automatic or semi-automatic strapping machine, only polypropylene machine strapping can be used.

Extruded Polyester Strapping

PET or Extruded Polyester Strapping is the strongest type of plastic strapping available, making it ideal for fixing heavier loads and pallets.  Because it’s made from polyester it can be secured very tightly, with a small flex in the material that can be tightened when sealing.

Extruded Polyester Strapping

It has strong resistance to moisture and UV rays which make it ideal for long-term storage where high strength is required for long periods of time.  It offers a resistance of up to 340kg and can be used to replace steel strapping in many situations.   Made from a minimum of 80% recycled materials, it’s more eco-friendly than other strapping materials, and can be sealed using tensioners and sealers.

Extruded polyester strapping kit and dispensers

Steel Strapping

Among the strongest strapping available, steel strapping is tough and perfect for heavy, rigid loads with sharp or rough edges like iron or concrete that won’t compress.  The properties of steel strapping mean that it won’t flex like other materials can do – this is why it’s ideal for solid, bulky loads.  Top tip! Recommended that the person packing wear industrial gloves for protection.

Steel strapping

This super-resistant strapping is ideal for very heavy loads of up to 740kg can be sealed securely with or without seals. This industrial strapping can only be used with steel strapping tensioners, sealers and combination tools.

Corded Polyester Strapping

The most resistant of strapping materials, corded polyester strapping is ideal for fixing and sealing delicate or fragile products.  Its light, textile material means it’s easy to work with, it won’t rust, rot or mark surfaces, and is best used manually with tensioners and sealers.

Corded polyester strapping

It offers extreme resistance for loads of up to 950kg and is highly resistant to tearing making it ideal for heavy loads.  Also, by dividing it over the length, a knot can be made in the strapping to further increase the security of an item after it’s been sealed.

Corded polyester strapping kit and systerms

If you’d like more information about the strapping we have to offer, manual tools, strapping machines, systems or advice on which strapping is right for your operation, simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help.

Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk

Getting your business ready for the Christmas rush: ensure you have the packaging you need for the festive period

Christmas is fast approaching with only 3 weeks left to go! Our packaging experts at Rajapack have put some useful information together to help your business run smoothly over the festive season.

black-friday-christmas-present-web

It all started with a record-breaking weekend

We’ve just passed Black Friday on November 25th, where you may have picked up a bargain or two on the high street or the internet, which ran through to Cyber Monday on November 28th.  Last year UK shoppers spent £3.3 billion over that weekend, and forecasts for this year were expecting £5 billion in the busiest online trading day ever!

Following Cyber Monday, the run up to Christmas is now in full swing as many businesses see demand surge right through to Christmas Day.  Last year UK retailers took £24 billion across November and December, a 12% increase on 2014, which is expected to grow even more this year.

Just what can you do to ensure you’re prepared?

If you’ve been trading for more than 12 months then you should have a good record of what happened in 2015; total orders taken, extra hours required, and how much packaging, stock and supplies you used.  Look back over last year’s results for each month and it should give you a starting point for what to expect in 2016.

Find out when orders began to increase and work this into your planning.  Did orders rise by 50% in mid-November, and then again by 200% by December? By noting these changes, you should get a good sense of what to expect so you can order enough supplies to fulfil your orders.

rajapack-uk-packaging-warehouse-web

The Rajapack UK packaging warehouse stocked up for Christmas

Many small businesses don’t have the space to store lots of materials or packaging on site, so ordering from suppliers that offer next day delivery can help you be more flexible, buying materials and packaging when you need it.

Make sure you’ve got your packaging boxed off

The right packaging is essential to give your customers a good experience when they receive your parcel, ensuring it arrives safely and well presented. We’ve shaped our services so that all our customers can benefit from our expert advice, flexibility as well as our wide range of packaging, so you can stay focused on your business.

Just a few of the things we offer include:

  • 99% of all our packaging products are in stock, always.
  • Next day delivery offered as standard.
  • Credit arrangement terms are available after your first order, so you can pay by invoice.
  • Expert packaging advice, to ensure you’re using the right packaging for your products.
  • A wide range of Christmas packaging, including personalised bags and tape to ensure your products stand out.

Key delivery dates

Finally, we’ve compiled some key dates below so you don’t miss anything when it comes to posting your parcels out this year.

Parcel Service Last posting date to arrive for Christmas
Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed® Thursday 22 December
1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For® Wednesday 21 December
2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For® Tuesday 20 December
DHL – Last Posting Date Wednesday 21 December
DPD – Next Day Service Thursday 22 December
Parcel Force – Next Day Thursday 22 December

Ordering your packaging this Christmas

For ordering your packaging from Rajapack UK, our last order dates are:

  • To ensure your packaging arrives in time for Christmas, place your order by Thursday 22nd December, we’ll deliver the next day on Friday 23rd.
  • We offer a Saturday morning delivery service on 24th December, available at an additional cost for orders placed on Thursday 23rd.
  • We’ll be open as normal between 27th & 31st, with normal deliveries resuming on 3rd January 2017.

For full details of our Christmas opening times, to request our latest catalogue or browse our Christmas packaging range, simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.

Ensuring your safe delivery

An estimated 500,000 letters are lost in the post each week in the UK. Of these, 400,000 never arrive, and 100,000 will be over two weeks late. If you’re sending anything important, it’s therefore vital you make sure it’s protected.

Royal Mail

The most common way to protect your post is to acquire a certificate of postage. This practice has been standard for powersellers of websites like eBay for many years, with proof of postage compulsory when defending a claim for a lost parcel. As a seller, lacking proof of postage means you are responsible for any resulting refunds. Depending on the item sold, this could be very expensive. If, on the other hand, you have proof of postage, then you can claim compensation from the Post Office.

Proof of postage is not without its faults however, and many experts would now recommend proof of delivery instead. We talked to Chris a.k.a Mountie, co-founder and editor of Tamebay, about the advantages of proof of delivery:

“Proof of postage is pretty worthless to both consumers and retailers; although often asked for, it can be confused with proof of delivery, a much more valuable service. It’s the retailers responsibility to get their item to their customer and all proof of postage can be used for is a claim against a courier if the item doesn’t arrive.

Proof of delivery however has many more uses and is generally something consumers like; not so much that they need to be told that their item has arrived, but more that they can track their purchase along its journey and know when to expect it. However times are changing and some retailers are falling behind the curve.

Royal Mail is due to add bar codes to all parcels within the UK later this year. This will enable them to scan at the point of delivery and raises the question, ‘do retailers actually need a signature for proof of delivery or is a scan at the door step acceptable?’ Of course sometimes, due to the item value, you may require a signature. Typically when receiving a high value item, a signature is customary and many payment providers, including the best known in the UK – PayPal, insist on proof of delivery including a signature.

Collection points

There are new services coming to the market which make signature on delivery even less neccessary. Services such as locker locations (e.g. InPost.co.uk), home delivery bins (e.g. Pelipod.com) or click and collect locations (e.g. Doddle.it) all create debate. If the item is to be delivered to a convenient location for collection (and often this will be a consumer driven choice which even the retailer may be unaware of), insisting on a signature from the recipient may cause complications in the delivery process whereas a scan would work perfectly.

From a personal perspective, I remember a customer calling to enquire as to the whereabouts of a rather expensive item of computer equipment sold on eBay. Fortunately, by using a tracked delivery I could tell them the exact time and date it was delivered to their company. The response was interesting; “Oh, I actually purchased two of these and yours was the second one I bought, it must be the first one that hasn’t arrived!” Without proof of delivery I’d have probably had to foot the bill and that’s why I always use proof of delivery when selling any relatively valuable item on eBay in particular, or online in general.”

We also talked to professional designer Thom Milson, who made the mistake of having no proof of delivery:

“I once sent some work to the Ukraine – just before the issues with Russia really escalated – and I had made sure that I had proof of postage, as sending prints to Europe can cost quite a fair whack. A few weeks had passed and I hadn’t heard anything from the customer, so I threw out the proof of postage receipt to declutter my work space a bit, assuming they had received the package okay (I’d sent it first class). It was a day or two later that I received an email claiming the parcel hadn’t arrived. I suddenly had no proof of postage or delivery to back up my claim and I had to refund the customer in full.

It’s vital to get proof of delivery instead of proof of postage, especially if it’s expensive. With proof of delivery you know for sure whether they have received their parcel, and have the proof to back yourself up if they claim otherwise”

How the different courier services compare

Depending on who you are posting with, the process involved for proof of delivery will vary slightly. We have worked up a useful delivery service comparison table which you can use to see the most frequently-used parcel carriers and their proof of delivery policies – as well as how to claim compensation if your parcel goes missing.

Proving your delivery

 Extra Information – Value of item protected

Yodel protect the item with £20 additional compensation available. There is a calculator on their site here.

Extra information – How to claim

With Yodel & Parcel Force, its best practice to send them pictures of the package before it was sent. To make a claim with Parcel Force, you’ll need to download a claim form from their website here. When sending the claim forms back, make sure you include proof of the items value, such as a receipt. It also helps if you have pictures of the parcel before it is sent as proof of proper packing.

To make a claim via Royal Mail you must ask the Post Office for a P58 form. This form must be accompanied by the original proof of postage and, once posted, can take 6 to 8 weeks to be processed.

To claim via Yodel you’ll need to visit their contact us page which can be found here.

Claiming with DPD is quite a thorough process – full details of which can be found here.

*Extra information – Additional notes

  • DHL prohibit some items; a full list can be found here.
  • Hermes will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.
  • Parcel Force will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.
  • Yodel will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.

Just to rubber stamp what we’re saying…

Proof of delivery is a must these days – especially if you run a business. However, what’s on offer, and which courier would be best for you, all depend on what you are posting. Most commonly posted parcels will be fine with Royal Mail; however they will only protect an item up to the value of £34 –unless you pay for extra services. Larger or more valuable items may be better sent with a private courier who offers a higher level of cover. These companies often offer larger levels of cover and compensation, but they can also cost a little extra. Whichever you choose, it’s important to be properly covered.

Helping your business go green: a guide to Recycling Symbols

The RAJA Group began life in 1954 as a company selling recycled cardboard boxes, and our focus on being environmentally responsible has continued to this day.

Ensuring your company is environmentally responsible not only benefits the planet, but it’s important to your customers too.  Even if it isn’t currently a priority for your business, you can be sure it is for your customers, who’ll factor it in when choosing their supplier.

We’ve been speaking with experts in the packaging industry (such as John Kirkby), and we’ve learnt that understanding which materials can be recycled is one of the first challenges that companies face when trying to be more environmentally responsible.

To help you better understand what can be recycled and where to recycle it, we’ve listed the most common recycling symbols below with guidance and examples, which should help you and your business on your first steps to going green.

General Recycling Symbols

‘Please recycle now’Please recycle now

The ‘Please recycle now’ symbol is a call to action; it says that the environment will be harmed if this product has to be destroyed or left in landfill, as per normal disposal.

This symbol is not informative, but encourages the user to recycle.

 ‘Mobius Loop’Mobius loop

Similar to the ‘Please recycle now’ symbol, the Mobius Loopis an alert to the user that this product can be recycled, rather than offering any specific information. The symbol was created in the late 1970’s by American Gary Anderson, and is now universally recognised as the generic symbol for recycling.

When a pack has more than one form of material.More than one form of material

Products such as microwaveable meals and packaging with built in protection require different materials for transit and end use. Some of these materials may be recycleable and others aren’t. A symbol such as this one (pictured left) informs the user which materials can be recycled, and that they need to separated before recycling.

 Glass

Glass

If your product has this symbol, it needs to be recycled with other glass. Some councils and recycling services will provide a container that sits inside your recycling bin in order for you to recycle glass. If this doesn’t apply to your area, products with this symbol should be taken and sorted into bottle banks.

 

Recycling Plastic

The following symbols are commonly found on bottles containing drinks, soaps and shampoos as well as food packaging. They’re usually located on the label alongside the instructions for use.

1This symbol means the product is made from Polyethylene Terephalate. It is a very common form of plastic which is used to contain products such as fizzy drinks, cooking oils and water. Products with this symbol can be recycled in recycling bins.

2This symbol means the product is made from High Density Polyethylene. HDPE is commonly used for milk bottles, washing up liquids and shower gels. Again, this plastic can be placed in most recycling bins.

3Polyvinyl Chloride is a form of plastic which is no longer very common. Products with this symbol on can still be recycled in most recycling bins, but don’t expect to find too many bottles made of this material.

4

Low Density Polyeythlene plastic is commonly used to wrap meat or vegetables. Because of the mixture of materials and chance for contamination, these plastics are not widely recycled. They should be disposed of in general waste containers.

5

Polypropylene plastic is often used in the food industry and like LDPE, is not widely recycled in the UK. Products with this symbol should be deposited in general waste containers.

 

6

Polystyrene is most commonly used as protection or loose fill for products in transit. This form of plastic is rarely recyclable in the UK and should be placed in general waste.

 

7

Other materials includes all other resins and multi-material plastics. Because of the use of different materials, plastics with this symbol on should be placed in general waste.

 

Alumnium

aluminiumThis symbol indicates a product is made from aluminium. Although most aluminium, including cans and foil is recyclable, please remember the following: 1) do not recycle if it has been contaminated by food produce and 2) Some recycling plants are not equipped to recycle foil. Please check with your local council before recycling.

 Compostable

Compostable

Although not technically a recycling symbol, the compostable symbol is important nonetheless. If a product has this symbol on it, it means that not only will the item biodegrade but it will also offer nutrients and benefits to the soil around it.

If you have any doubts about whether or not you can recycle a product, it is always best to check the recycling and reuse guide of your local council; you can find the contact details for your council online.  Some councils will have better facilities and processes than others and are therefore able to recycle different materials.

If you have any questions about our commitment to the environment, please get in touch with one of our expert team on 0800 542 44 28, or take a look at our environmental policy.  We also have a large range of eco-friendly packaging products available to buy on our website.