Tag Archives: delivery

What is volumetric weight and how does this affect your logistics packaging costs?

This easy to read guide will help you understand what volumetric weight is, and the effect this has on businesses. If your business operates on volumetric weight (otherwise known as dimensional weight or DIM) it can help to reduce your transport and logistics costs. Reducing transportation costs is one of the key challenges for most companies, whether you’re a small-scale ecommerce packaging boutique with a small parcel cost to a large distribution company shipping boxes with heavy duty goods.Volumetric weight used by delivery companies

So, what is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight is a method to calculate the chargeable weight of a package, using volume rather than gross weight. It takes into account the total space used by the package in the delivery vehicle and not just the weight of the package.

Essentially, the method of calculating the dimensional weight is more commercial for delivery companies.

If packages were only measured by weight, the cost to ship less dense, lightweight packages would be low, and the cost to ship dense, heavy items would be high. However, there is no relation between its size and density.

Dimensional weight is otherwise known as the DIM factor

Pricing based on dimensional weight balances out the shipping cost issues of large bulky packages that are lightweight. It is unprofitable to ship when the cubic space taken up is higher in relation to the weight. It allows carriers to also represent the density, by using the dimensional weight (DIM factor) which could vary between 5000 – 7000. The DIM factor is divided by the length, width and height of the package to calculate the unique weight, shape and size.

This method is also applied to heavy but small packages. However the carrier will instead charge per kilogram, whichever is greater; the gross weight or the volumetric weight of the package.

The volumetric weight of a package is calculated by the following formula:

L x W x H  / (DIM factor)

DIM factor = 5000 (in cms) or 305 (in inches)

Say you want to send a lightweight package with the dimensions of 50 x 30 x 30cm, which weighs only 3kg, using the common DIM factor of 5000 (for centimetres or DIM factor 305 for inches). The volumetric weight is 9 kg, and so it will be charged on this basis.

And conversely, if you send a heavy package with the dimensions of 30 x 30 x 20cm which weighs 10kg, divide by common DIM factor 5000. The volumetric weight is 5.4kg, which is lower that the gross weight, so this package will be charged on the gross weight.

Volumtretic weight formula

How can volumetric weight measure costs?

Volumetric weight is a measurement of cost for the delivery company. The mileage the delivery vehicle covers is a cost factor, travelling nationally and internationally, but the size of the vehicle which determines its weight allowance will affect how many parcels it can hold. The more parcels the delivery vehicle can carry, the more economical it is for the carrier, as the cost per journey is reduced.

In principal, the method to calculate the shipping and delivery cost is:

  • If your package is light and big, it will be charged on its volumetric weight.
  • If your package is heavy and small, it will be charged on its gross weight.

So, when packing, it is important to consider both the weight and size of your package to reduce the cost of transporting goods.

Dimensional weight used by delivery companies

Which industries are affected by volumetric weight?

Technically, volumetric weight will apply to all industries. The pricing technique is based on the package needing to transport, and the space it takes up in the freight carrier whether it is transported by a ship, lorry, or plane.

Also if your business provides a free shipping and returns service – keep in mind the same pricing method would be applied. So, if the returns their order you could be making a loss.

For further advice on reducing transportation costs, contact our Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajapack.co.uk to discuss your product range and your packing operation.


Top tips! 3 tips to optimising the volumetric weight of your packages. Read more>>


 

3 tips to optimising your volumetric weight

When budgeting for your transport and logistics costs, do you calculate your delivery costs using volumetric weight?

Many factors influence transportation costs, such as fluctuating petrol and diesel prices, and the transportation mileage. Budgeting to the volumetric weight of packages can help businesses control logistical costs. But frst, you need understand the fundamentals of this pricing method and apply the optimisation techniques.

Before we move on to the cost saving tips, if you are not familiar with volumetric weight, we recommend that you read: “What is volumetric weight and how does this affect your logistics packaging costs?”. So that you can fully understand how to optimise your delivery costs.


Find out what volumetric weight is and how this affects your logistics packaging costs. Read more>>


Tip 1. Reducing packaging dimensions

Tip 2. Plan for the delivery times you need

Tip 3. Choose the right delivery company

Tip 1. Reducing packaging dimensions

Reducing your packaging dimensions reduces your shipping costs. This all starts with knowing your products, inside and out; review your range by measuring the size and weight. Then, applying the product measurements, carry out an audit of your existing packaging to measure its suitability. To reduce your packaging dimensions, your audit should consider what the protection qualities are, and how they house your products.

The right sized packaging reduces excess space and void fill used. Reducing the volumetric weight also reduces shipping costs, whilst increasing the protection levels with the appropriate packaged being used.

Having effective packaging materials suited to your product range and knowing how to pack your products for shipping are both key. Discuss your process with a Packaging Specialist to find out if you’ve got the right packaging materials and that they are applied in the most efficient way. You can also further optimise by choosing bespoke packaging, personalised packaging fit for purpose.

Once you have identified the most efficient packaging for your products, you can make further savings by buying in bulk. Wholesale prices will make further cost savings.


Contact a Packaging Specialist on 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajapack.co.uk for free advice


Once your packages are ready for shipment, cross-analyse the dispatch frequency with the products sent. This will help to categorise your shipments by weight, and which band tariffs are most invoiced for. Co-ordinate your consignments in a pricing table to identify which products have the higher shipment frequencies. This can provide further cost-savings when scheduling the deliveries. Once you have a complete list, you can then enquire the rates and frequencies with your delivery provider.

Reduce your volumetric weight so less space is used in the delivery vehicle

Tip 2. Plan for the delivery times you need

The delivery times can determine the mode of transport; by road, air or sea. For express deliveries needing to get to its destination quicker, these packages are given priority, so the postage costs are generally higher.

If you offer a free delivery service to your customers, have you researched if an express delivery service is needed. Or can your customers wait an extra day or two for delivery?

For next day and quick deliveries, such as a just-in-time approach, it does depend on the industry and market in which your business operates. Although, we as consumers in this technological age, do expect things ‘now’. Services such as Deliveroo for the fast food industry, and Same-Day delivery service with Amazon, are perfect for customer that can’t wait. However, if given the choice or if your business set-up allows, a non-express delivery service could be better. Your operation would need to adjust for the longer lead times. The cost of delivery is considerably less for the longer delivery dates, and whether your company provides a free delivery service or not. This could not only save your business money when dispatching orders, but as a customer, placing an order too. So, if you provide a free delivery service, make sure to incorporate volumetric weight costs into the total order value.

So, for an optimal shipping method, adapt your business structure if possible to incorporate volumetric weight into your transportation costs; whether you’re a supplier or a customer.

Plan for the delivery times you need

Tip 3. Choose the right delivery company

Unfortunately not all carriers apply the same pricing method and there is no standardised regulation for delivery companies to do so. The method to determine its volumetric weight will be dependent on the business strategy of the delivery company, which will be optimised to its business model. (Although, many companies will operate on the DIM factor of 5000).

When enquiring about the delivery rates be sure to ask for the method of calculating the delivery costs. Secondly, ask for a tariff grid so you can see the pricing structures. This will help you easily compare the different services provided.

Compare the volumetric weight costs of UK delivery companies:

  • Calculate shipping costs with DHL
  • Calculate shipping costs DPD
  • Calculate shipping costs with Hermes
  • Calculate shipping costs with Parcel Force

For more information on developing your packing and packaging process, speak to our Packaging Specialist 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajaapck.co.uk for help and advice.

How does shrink wrap work?

Shrink wrap is one of the quickest and easiest ways to package and protect goods. What shrink wrap is used for typically is wrapping especially awkwardly shaped items – from individual packages to boxes on a pallet. It can even be used to wrap up helicopters. It is weather proof and dust proof, while the transparent option easily allows the goods underneath to be identified.Shrink wrap is so versatile it is even used to wrap up US Navy helicopters for transport (Image: Wikipedia)Shrink wrap is so versatile it is even used to wrap up US Navy helicopters for transport (Image: Wikipedia)

But what is shrink wrap made of, how does shrink wrap work and is shrink wrap recyclable? Here we answer these questions and find out how to use it on a practical level in the warehouse, using the right shrink wrap and shrink wrapping equipment to get the job done.

How does shrink wrap work?

Shrink wrap and what shrink wrap is used for covers everything from simple packaging, to holding items together, to protecting them.Shrink wrap collates and protects

How shrink wrap works is something that requires a look at the very molecules that the shrink wrap is made from. To make the plastic film that is used to shrink and wrap items, plastic polymer molecules  – long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms, essentially  – that usually all tangle round each other are heated and stretched so that they all form into straight rows. Once cooled they maintain this aligned structure.

Heating the film again, once wrapped around the goods being packaged, the molecules move about (thanks to all that lovely heat energy being pumped in) and they get all tangled again: making the film as much as 50% smaller.

The shrinking can take place in one direction (uni or monodirectional) or in both length and width (bidirectional) and requires the film to be applied over the goods using a special frame – called a tenter frame – and applying heat correctly. To do it correctly requires the right shrink wrap equipment.

What is shrink wrap?

Shrink wrap is a plastic film that can be stretched over awkwardly shaped items and heated to shrink to tightly fit its contours and crevices as if stuck to it – all without any kind of adhesive.

Shrink wrap pallet covers, film and rolls

This protective packaging comes in sheets and on rolls

So, when was shrink wrap invented? The process of heating and stretching polythene sheets and cooling them and then reversing the process was first trialled in the US as a potential packaging process in the 1960s. It was then refined and had its first commercial use in 1981 in the US.

As to who invented shrink wrap, its provenance is murky. It is claimed that the process was actually invented in the 1960’s at WR Grace and company, by Robert D. Lowry, John Dreyfuss and John W. Harrison of Winchester Massachusetts in the US. The process was then refined and rolled out for industrial use by Global Wrap LLC in the US in 1981.

What is shrink wrap made of?

The molecular structure of Polyethylene, Image: Wikipedia

The molecular structure of Polyethylene (Image: Wikipedia)

Shrink wrap is made of plastic. What type of plastic is shrink wrap made from depends on how it is to be used, but typically it is made from plastic polymer – usually low density polythene or, sometimes, PVC. It can also be made from biaxially orientated polypropylene, a more complex version of polythene. What they all have in common is that they are made of long chain molecules that, in their natural state, tangle round each other like spaghetti.

The molecular structure of Syndiotactic polypropene (Image: Wikipedia)

The molecular structure of Syndiotactic polypropene (Image: Wikipedia)

How to use shrink wrap

Shrink wrap can be used to cover all sorts of things. To use shrink wrap, you need the right plastic shrink wrap film and the right equipment: usually at the very least a heat gun. You may also need a frame to hold the film.

Perforated shrink wrap pallet covers available on a roll

When shrink wrapping pallets of goods, individual shrink wrap pallet covers are available if you want to cover standard sized pallets of goods – available as sheets and on rolls. For more awkward shapes, this protective packaging comes in rolls and sheets, which can then be wrapped or put over the goods and then heated, often with a hand-held heat gun.

How to heat shrink wrap

So, how does heat shrink wrap work? As we have seen, heating pre-stretched polymer sheets allows the ordered molecules to move about and re-order themselves as a tangle of molecules, occupying a much smaller volume and causing the sheet to shrink.

In practice, this means that putting, say, a shrink wrap pallet cover over a pallet, and heating it the cover will start to contract and pull tight over the goods.

How to use heat shrink wrap involves the following steps:

  • place goods on the pallet and loosely cover with a shrink wrap pallet cover
  • make sure it covers everything
  • gently heat with a heat gun evenly, moving round and round the pallet to ensure even shrinkage
  • when tight, stop and allow to cool.

Heat guns are relatively light and portable but must be handled with care

How to use a heat gun for shrink wrap is perhaps the hardest part of the process. It needs a specialist gun, which burns propane or butane to create a hot flame.

RIPACK 3000 heat shrink film gun kit

However, it is crucial that the flame doesn’t contact the film nor the goods being wrapped. For this reason, the flame heats a plate at the business end of the heat gun which radiates heat onto the plastic.

Carefully heat the shrink wrap from a distance to avoid damaging the film

How to recycle shrink wrap

With more attention than ever on the impact of plastic on the environment, many ask can shrink wrap be recycled? So is shrink wrap recyclable: in short it is. Being made of low density polyethylene – or polythene – means that the answer to is plastic shrink wrap recyclable is yes. Polythene is widely recycled and can be put into the recycling waste and reused.

To recycle it, simply keep it once you have removed it and either put it in the standard recycling or, if you find you have a lot of it, there are companies that will come and collect it and take it away to recycle. They will shred it and melt it down to make polythene beads which may very well end up being used to make new shrink wrap.

Want to know more about shrink wrap and shrink wrapping equipment?

For all your packaging advice, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

Wrap it up: How to package unusual items

How to package unusual items

With the growth of online shopping comes the expectation that we should be able to get our hands on pretty much anything with a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a screen. According to eMarketer, 2017 is predicted to see 10% of all worldwide retail purchases made digitally[i].

This means the packaging industry has needed to innovate, to ensure items purchased over the web arrive safely at their destination.

Here at Rajapack, we know an awful lot about protective packaging. Wondering how to package something valuable or oddly-shaped? Follow our step-by-step guides on how to package some of the more difficult things companies or individuals might need to protect during transit. We’ve also spoken to companies who rely on good quality packaging to get their advice on how to package items so they arrive in pristine condition.

How to package a chandelier

Chandeliers are extremely delicate and fragile pieces. Not sure where to start or how to protect them in a move? Follow our steps to success.

What you’ll need:

  • A cardboard box
  • Bubble wrap and tape
  • Foam wrap
  • Loose fill
  • Cable ties
  • Fragile/This way up labels

How to package a chandelier

  1. It’ll be easier to package the chandelier if it’s hanging. If possible, wrap it in situ or use an industrial hook. If not, be sure to place the chandelier on plenty of padding; cushions, towels and blankets work well. Laying it directly onto a hard surface is likely to damage it.

To package the chandelier, first find a suitable cardboard box. Ideally the box should be around three inches larger than the chandelier all the way round. Consider the weight of the chandelier. For heavier chandeliers a double wall cardboard box will provide extra protection and puncture resistance.

  1. Remove all light bulbs from the chandelier and pack in a separate box. Look for any other detachable pieces, if any other pieces can be removed, wrap these individually and package them in a separate box.
  2. Next, look for any sharp edges that could be damaged during transit. Wrap these with thick packing foam or use cardboard and tape to protect them. Pay attention to the top and bottom of the chandelier, the bottom is where the most pressure will be and, along with the top, it’s the part most likely to be damaged. Wrap these areas well with packaging foam or bubble wrap.
  3. Make sure the bottom of the cardboard box is well secured with tape. Cushion the bottom of the cardboard box with foam wrap or bubble wrap. Use your hands to wrap any loose wires and secure with cable ties. Lower the chandelier into the box and hold as upright as possible. Fill the rest of the box with loose fill, making sure these are well compacted so the chandelier can’t move around.
  4. Once you’re happy the chandelier is tightly secured inside the box, cover the top with layers of foam or bubble wrap. Close the box and seal with tape. Label all boxes containing the chandelier’s parts as ‘fragile’ and be sure to mark which way up the box needs to be kept. Specialist fragile and this way up labels can be used.

How to package artworks: Tips from the experts at Eyestorm

Valuable artwork is very precious, and packaging paintings or any other art requires it to be well protected. We spoke to Eyestorm, a leading online gallery and retailer of limited edition contemporary art, to get their advice.

How to package artwork

How does Eyestorm prepare a print for postage?

We flat pack our prints in cardboard and then into a custom made white box with the Eyestorm logo on it. The boxes are standard sizes, either 75 x 75 x 3 cm or 120 x 120 x 3 cm.

Can you talk us through the process of packaging and shipping them?

We’ll take the print and wrap it in tissue paper. It’s then secured onto the cardboard with corners to ensure it doesn’t move around during shipping. Another piece of cardboard is then placed on top and the two pieces of cardboard are secured together with polypropylene tape. The two pieces of cardboard are put into the white box, which is then secured with more polypropylene tape. We then use document enclosed envelopes to address the package and ship it via a 3rd party a courier.

How to package fine china

Small items, such as fine china, can be fiddly to package. No one wants to receive a chipped tea cup. Take a look at our how to package your fine china so it arrives in one piece.

What you’ll need:

  • Tissue paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Tape
  • Loose fill
  • Polyurethane foam liners
  • A cardboard box
  • A second, double-walled cardboard box, three inches larger than the first
  • Fragile labels

How to package fine china

  1. First, make sure you’ve enough space to work. Clear a large packing table or workstation, if you do not have a large enough space, lay blankets on the floor to create a big enough surface to see all your materials and items to pack. The blankets will also help protect the fine china from accidental drops and breakage.

You’ll need a cardboard box at least one inch larger than the fine china you’ll be packing inside. You’ll need a second, double-walled cardboard box at least three inches larger than the first one.

  1. Lay out the fine china you need to pack and sort the items into similar sized groups. If your items aren’t similar shapes or are extremely fragile, separate smaller boxes will provide better protection. These smaller boxes can then be packaged inside the second cardboard box.
  2. Wrap each item individually with tissue paper and secure with tape. Then repeat this step with bubble wrap, completely cover each item in bubble wrap, and secure with tape.

With very delicate items prone to breaking, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. A lot of damage to these kinds of items occur because they bump into each other during transit.

  1. Take your smaller cardboard box and cut two pieces of polyurethane foam liner to fit snugly inside. Place one section into the bottom of the box and put your first layer of wrapped china on top of this, then cover with about two inches of loose fill. Repeat until the box is 1-2 inches away from being full. Now add the second piece of polyurethane foam, ensuring there is a gentle pressure when you close the box. Be careful not to add too much pressure as this could damage the contents.
  2. Add around three inches of loose fill to the bottom of the larger box and place the packed smaller box on top. Use loose fill to fill all the space around the smaller box. Once this is done, close the double walled box and secure all flaps and edges firmly with tape. A fragile label can then be applied to the box.

How to package wine: Tips from the experts at Yapp Wines

Shipping wine? Not sure how to prevent any damage or breakages? We spoke to Yapp Wines, online wine merchants, selling and importing characterful wines from small independent wine makers, to get their advice.

How to package wine

Talk us through the process of packaging glass bottles for shipping.

As an importer and distributor of wine in the UK, Yapp Brothers handles bottles in two distinct ways. Imports arrive in a variety of (normally flimsy) cardboard boxes of 12 bottles, but the wine is palletised (as 50 cases) and shrink-wrapped, therefore breakages are extremely rare. We then despatch orders through a UK courier and our own vehicles for next day delivery. These packages can be individual bottles, cases of six, 12 or 15. Neither we, the customer, nor the carrier wants a breakage, so our branded boxes are well-designed to withstand the fulfilment process.

How easy was it to find protective packaging that perfectly met all your shipping needs?

Not easy, but we’ve honed our packaging over 50 years through collaboration with delivery firms, packaging companies and through trial and error.

What sort of protective packaging do you use the most?

5mm thick (glued) cardboard boxes that have insert dividers and bases (all 5mm) to add additional protection. Polystyrene inserts are also used in the wine industry, but these aren’t recyclable so we avoid them.

Have you ever had any breakages related to the packaging you use?

Yes, unfortunately, breakages occur but they’re unusual thankfully. It’s expensive when it happens, not least as insurance is very limited in carrying wine bottles. For very rare bottles, specialist couriers are used. During December, we despatched over 2,000 wine packages and total breakages were in single figures (so <1%).

What is the largest order you’ve ever sent?

We regularly send out palletised loads (of 50 cases) to the many restaurants that we supply. We’ve also sent full container loads (15,000 bottles across 25 pallets) to ski resorts. On the whole, larger orders are less likely to be dropped, crushed, lost or stolen than small consignments.

How to package a bike

If you’re looking to transport a bike, then it’s important to take precautions so it’s not damaged in transit. Here’s a few of our considerations:

What you’ll need:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Thick foam tubing
  • Loose fill
  • A large, strong cardboard box, big enough for the whole bike frame, a cuboid shape is best
  • A small box or clear plastic bag to hold any loose nuts or bolts
  • Cable ties
  • A spanner or wrench
  • Allen key (for disassembling the bike parts)

How to package a bike

  1. Make sure you have a clear space to work in. Remove any extra accessories, such as lights, mudguards and bottle holders. Wrap these separately and add to the box after your frame.
  2. Remove the bike seat. If your seat is attached with a bolt, put this in the separate box or plastic bag so it isn’t misplaced. Then use the spanner or wrench to remove the pedals.

If you can, turn your handlebars 90 degrees so they align with the bike frame. If this isn’t possible, you’ll need to remove these too. Unscrew any bolts holding the handlebars in place, but don’t detach any cables. Lower the handlebars vertically so they sit in line with the front wheel.

Next remove your front wheel. If you have quick release bolts this is very simple. If not, unscrew any bolts and add them to the box or plastic bag with the others. Let some air out of both tyres before packing them.

  1. To protect your bike during transit, first you’ll need to use cable ties to attach the handlebars to the main bike frame. Use foam tubing wrapped around the bike frame to prevent scratches, secure in place with cable ties. Wrap as much of the frame in foam as possible for the best protection. Where it’s not possible to use foam, use bubble wrap instead and secure with tape.

Cover all cogs well with protective bubble wrap to avoid the sharper edges scratching the rest of the bike.

  1. Fill the bottom of the box with about two inches of loose fill and place the bike frame on top. Then slide your front wheel into the box next to the frame. Add the small box or bag holding any nuts or bolts, along with any accessories removed at the beginning.

Now fill the rest of the box firmly with loose fill. The aim is to use enough so the frame doesn’t move around too much. Once this is done, tape the box shut.

How to package unusual items

[i] https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Worldwide-Retail-Ecommerce-Sales-Will-Reach-1915-Trillion-This-Year/1014369

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.

Happy Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day!

Today is Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day. On this day, we celebrate some of the more silly and ludicrous packaging that has been delivered over the last 12 months.

Examples of preposterous packaging might include:

  • Over-packaging; when small items such as batteries are delivered in containers suitable for larger items such as desktop computers. They usually require a lot of bubble wrap or loose fill to secure the contents
  • Packaging with the wrong name on
  • Needless packaging; when products are wrapped but don’t need to be
  • Packaging with too much protection
  • Packaging with unusual translations from different languages.

Bad packaging can be funny to some, but for businesses who receive or deliver items in packaging that is completely inappropriate, it can be a strain on costs and customer relationships.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most preposterous packaging that might affect the relationship you have with your customers, and some ways to prevent these from happening:

Excessive Packaging

One of the most popular examples of preposterous packaging is when items are delivered in a box or container that is far too big for the product inside.

Excessive Packaging

Using excessive protective packaging (such as bubble wrap or loose fill) can often mean that a business is not being environmentally-responsible. There are different definitions of what exactly constitutes environmentally-friendly packaging, but one common theme across government and industry guidelines is that manufacturers should use no more than the minimum amount of packaging required to safely transport the goods inside.

Over-packaging can also be expensive for businesses, as using more materials than needed means spending more than is needed on packaging.

Ordering the right size box and correct amount of protection is easy, and there are simple tools available online that can help, such as Rajapack’s Box Selector.

Incorrect Branding

Effective packaging must properly convey what the box contains. In order for customers to trust a company they are buying from it is crucial that they get what they expected when they open and use the product.

Incorrect Branding

Packaging is a great way of strengthening the brand and separating your product from the others on the shelf.

If the majority of the packaging you use is transit, this may not be a big issue for you. A lot of transit packaging is single colour (such as brown or white cardboard) with little in the way of description on it. Using materials such as custom packaging tape can help to strengthen your brand and customer communication.

Unnecessary packaging

A good example of unnecessary packaging is when items are packaged individually, when they could have been grouped together. Avoiding this mistake reassures customers that your business considers the environmental impact of packaging and helps save you money.

Needless Packaging

It may be the case that bananas stay fresher for longer if they are individually wrapped, but businesses must be mindful that customers are more aware of their responsibilities to the environment. This can play a large role in who they choose to do business with; blatant over-packaging like this can be harmful to a company’s green reputation.

Packaging that is not user friendly

As well as protecting and securing the contents, packaging has to be user friendly, such as having no  jagged or sharp edges, and with clear  labels or handling instructions (such as ‘this way up’).Packaging is also not user friendly if the customer has difficulty getting to the products inside. A great example of this is when scissors are packed in Blister packs which require scissors to open.

Blister Packs

Customers want to buy from a company again if they are satisfied with both the product and the service they receive. Their experience of the product starts from the moment they receive the package, so it’s vital that they have a good experience when opening their product.

 Packaging that makes sense

Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day started out as a light-hearted look at some of the more ill-conceived packaging that customers receive. On a serious note though, customers do take note of the quality of packaging they receive, and this can affect future buying decisions around who they do business with. Packaging effects the decision regarding repeat purchase.

At Rajapack, we offer expert advice to our customers on the correct type of packaging they use to make sure that their packaging is fit for purpose.

Fit for purpose might include factors such as the size of container, strength of material and environmental impact of the packaging among others.

Packaging that is fit for purpose will save money, time and the environment, which will result in happy employees as well as customers. If you have any great examples of Particularly Preposterous Packaging, drop them in the comments box below!

 

The lessons we can learn from food packaging

Whether it be primary, secondary or transit packaging, there are some top tips that help businesses better market their products and strengthen their brand. One industry that is very good at this, is the food packaging industry.

Food packaging is vitally important: not only does it protect food during transportation, but it also helps sell the food. You can have the same two products in two different packages, and if one looks much nicer it is much more likely to sell more.

Food packaging

Food packaging can also help to encourage repeat business, making it easy for customers to find and select your product in a shop. Though take note, it might also deter potential buyers if they don’t feel it’s genuine. This excellent food packaging comparison shows the reality of misleading food packaging, where in many cases the food product looks nothing like what the packaging suggests.

The key to good food packaging is a marriage of several elements such as practicality, attractiveness to customers and the ability to protect the food, amongst others.

We asked some top food packaging experts what they think are the key lessons that we can all learn from their industry:

1) Be honest about the way the your product looks

Stoats food packaging

These designs for Stoats by Leeds based Robot Food feature a window through which the porridge oats can actually be seen. Using a window like this gives the customer an accurate depiction of what the product looks like before they buy; the appearance of the product is actually a factor in the decision to buy the product. If the customer is persuaded by the appearance of the food, they are less likely to be disappointed when the packaging is finally opened.

We sat down with Simon Forster from Robot Food to discuss their work for Stoats:

“For any brand with a limited marketing budget, it’s necessary for the packaging to tell the brand story and promote the product. This was the case for Stoats. Retaining enough from the previous design to make it easy for brand loyalists to understand, we injected a whole load of fun in a way that was true to the Stoats story. The new designs are eclectic, colourful and inviting to all ages. The naive illustration style feels homemade, almost as if the designs were created by the team at Stoats. The packaging has interest and brand tone of voice all over to keep you entertained while eating your breakfast.

It’s important to see the quality of the premixed porridges and the high content of fruit inclusion. The die cut windows show off the product in an engaging way that works with the design to create a morning scene, celebrating occasion. Natural cues are represented in the nature of the loose illustration, with wheat, fruit, birds and sky and further cues come from printing the card on the textured reverse and in the choice of fonts.”

This method of showing the food is recommended for organic products and other high quality luxury foods.

Sausages

2) Create packaging people want to keep

 Coke

Famous packages like the Kikkoman Soy Sauce bottle (designed by Kenji Ekuan) and the Coca-Cola bottle (created by Earl R. Dean) are not only iconic designs, but also collectors’ items within their own right. Both of these designs are often used as small vases for flowers, and the multi-use properties of packaging such as these will often influence a purchase/encourage a sale? Other industries that could adopt this approach include perfumers and shoe makers.

3) Be clear: communicate what the product is in a simple manner

 shopping‘Value’ product packaging design may not be that obviously exciting, but it is undeniably clear in its communication of what’s inside the package. The Tesco Everyday packaging by Rocket Design is clear, concise and effective: a customer quickly knows exactly what they are getting.

Some designs are not so clear, such as this infamous Fabuloso bottle: is it a fruit juice drink or a cleaning product?

Fabuloso

Answer: It’s a cleaning product.

 4) Always think about the environmental impact of your packaging
(because your customers do!)

Bananas

This packaging for bananas in Morrisons went viral – and for good reason too. They really didn’t need to be wrapped in so much plastic and the environmental impact of so much packaging could be enormous in the long run.

When designing food packaging, a designer needs to consider not only how the packaging will be used to transport and sell the product, but what happens to once it’s thrown away. A good starting point is to ask the following questions:

  • Are all of the parts of the packaging necessary?
  • Are there any more environmentally responsible alternatives?
  • Can the packaging be reused in any way?
  • Can all of the packaging be recycled?
  • Can some parts of the packaging be recycled and not others? If so, can these parts be separated easily?

5) Make it practical

Fruit drinks

It’s all well and good when packaging has a unique, eye-catching feature, but it still has to function well. These fruit inspired creations are not only exciting and eye-catching – they function exactly the same way as a normal juice carton:

For food packaging to be most effective, there should be a perfect marriage between aesthetics and use. An interesting looking package may be enough to tempt a customer into an initial purchase, but it’s the functionality that will keep them coming back. A great example of this is Heinz Ketchup bottles; according to ‘The Marketing Blog’, customers consumed 78% more ketchup after the bottle changed size and turned upside down.

ketchup

6) Make it easy to transport

One of the key features of packaging is its ability to be transported. If you cannot transport your product easily and effectively without the packaging being damaged, then you cannot expect to sell many products successfully.

Toblerone

Nothing packs together as easily as a box, but boxes do not always make the most interesting package designs, so if you’re going to use experimental packaging make sure that the way it will be transported is practical and cost-effective.

The Toblerone chocolate bar box was designed to resemble a Swiss mountain range, but is also easily transported and stacked by turning some bars upside down and interlocking them.

 In Summary

A customer’s first impression of your product is usually based on the packaging as it is the first thing they see, and that impression could dictate whether they become repeat customers or even brand advocates.  Ensuring that your packaging is both fit for purpose and effectively designed will encourage repeat sales.

Effective packaging delivers the brand message, builds lasting relationships and gives the customer insight into the contents and quality of the product.  Because the food industry is so competitive, brands have to stand out, whether that is conveyed by the design of their packaging or by showing the quality of the contents inside.

Packaging for Weddings abroad

Packaging your wedding goods

With wedding season upon us, many brides-to-be will be finalising seating arrangements and writing their vows. Getting married can be one of life’s most memorable experiences, especially when you add the extra glamour of doing it abroad. But for everything to go as planned, you need to think about how you are going to send your dress, clothes and cake to your destination, or get those precious keepsakes back home again afterwards. At Rajapack, we know a thing or two about packaging, so follow our advice and your cake, flowers and dresses will arrive at the venue in perfect condition.

 How to pack wedding goods for a flight

Flying to your wedding destinationTransporting wedding goods to and from your destination can be tricky if you’re planning on saying “I do” with the sand between your toes. Despite any verbal or written agreement you might get from an airline prior to travel, there is no guarantee that they will accept anything in a garment bag, as it will exceed maximum carry-on dimensions.

To avoid check-in troubles, here’s what to do:

  1. Ensure you have a suitable carry-on suitcase, ideally with a hard-shell case.
  2. Use the right packaging materials: use large sheets of white tissue paper to separate layers in the dress and to fold any suits. Our tissue paper is made from 100% pure wood pulp, is unglazed and acid-free to guarantee no damage to delicate fabrics.
  3. Wrap the whole garment in high quality bubble wrap. We use air-retention technology in our bubble wrap to ensure maximum protection.

Top Tip: If you struggle to fit your dress into your suitcase, take it to a local wedding dress company who will be used to packing dresses. And if you can’t bring a steamer with you for your arrival, hang your dress up in the bathroom and blast the shower to steam up the room – this will naturally remove creases from the dress.

Sarah Cogan from Set Ready Garment Bags advises “After the dress has been packed in either a wedding bag or in another garment bag, it would be wise to place a protective layer of clothes on either side of the bag. If it needs to be folded in half to fit into a suitcase, an added layer of clothes within the fold will keep the dress from getting a major crease line.”

 How to send glass, china or crystal

Sending fragile good abroad

If you have friends or family joining you for your wedding abroad it’s important to package their gifts safely and securely, especially when sending breakable and expensive wedding gifts in the post. With the right packaging products, your gifts will be able to withstand even the most heavy-handed of postmen.

To avoid breakages, take a look at these handy tips:

  1. Wrap it up securely. Use our extra-cushioned bubble wrap and remember to secure it in place using masking tape. If you’re sending more than one item, it’s fine to use the same box, but wrap them up separately to avoid them knocking together.
  2. The box you use is really important, especially if you’re sending something big or heavy. Luckily, our toughest boxes can handle up to 500kg and are built to resist any kind of knocks or abrasions, thanks to the triple wall cardboard.
  3. Place your gift in the centre of the box and pack loose fill or rolled up kraft paper into any spaces to prevent it from moving around in transit.
  4. Seal up the box for extra security and add ‘Fragile’ tape around the parcel.

 How to deliver a wedding cake Sending your wedding cake abroad

The delicate cake is a big part of your wedding and it’s important to make sure that it stays in perfect condition. A squashed or collapsed cake can quickly spell disaster for unhappy brides. Wedding officiant Michael Motylinski of Blue Sky Ceremony, shares his story:

“I was delivering a three-tier cake, which I left in my car. 25 minutes later, when I got the cake from my car I barely made it five feet when the entire cake slid off the cake stand. The air-conditioning in my car had been blowing warm air and the cake and icing had melted.”

If you want to avoid the problems that Michael faced, follow these guidelines:

  1. Carefully consider the temperature to expect on your wedding day. Certain icings last longer at higher temperatures, so plan your cake around this.
  2. Before transporting a wedding cake, make sure it is set on a sturdy fibreboard or plywood base about ½ inch thick. Your cake shop should provide this or you can get your own from online suppliers.
  3. Remove any candles, toppers or decorations and if you have a tiered cake on pillars, it should be unassembled and each tier moved separately.
  4. A white box is generally used for a wedding cake, but standard cake boxes can prove flimsy, so opt for one of our double wall white boxes which come in a variety of sizes, for extra protection with a beautiful finish.

Top Tip: If you’re hiring a courier to deliver your cake, your secret weapon is the ingenious Tiltwatch packaging label. You simply stick a Tiltwatch label to the inside of your package and when it arrives, if the label has turned red, you will know that the parcel has been tilted.

With your wedding details planned, the extra spend on packaging and labels may seem unnecessary, but as Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events says: “Many times, it’s worth it. It is better to have and not need, than it is to need and not have.” Carefully consider the intricate details of safe delivery and you can enjoy peace of mind on the day.

Be sure that your wedding goods will arrive safely so all you need to do is get to the altar! 

Answering your Questions from the Edelivery Expo 2015

On the 25th and 26th of March, we were on location at the eDelivery Expo in Birmingham, showcasing our services and products, as well as answering questions from new and existing customers.

Business owners and other exhibition attendees wanted to know what we do that makes our service so expert and specialised, as well as how we can create packaging solutions for different sizes and types of businesses.

Rajapack at eDelivery Expo 2015

We’ve compiled a selection of our answers to our most frequently asked questions from the eDelivery Expo 2015:

Where do Rajapack sit in the packaging market?

As part of the Raja Group we are the no. 1 Packaging Supplier across Europe. We pride ourselves on delivering a high level of service and a quality product to ensure our customers come back to us time and time again.

What makes Rajapack unique vs our competitors?

  • We have the largest range of packaging items in stock and available for next day delivery
  • Next day delivery is available on orders placed before 4.30pm
  • We offer specific packaging advice and support across our entire range from our UK-based sales team.
  • We guarantee consistent product quality across the range, meaning customers can be 100% confident in their purchases every time they order.
  • Long term contracts are available for customers ordering large volumes of products, protecting them from ever changing fluctuations in raw material prices.
  • We run a user friendly website that includes intelligent tools such as Box Selector and Rajaprint to help customers make the right decision.
  • Dedicated account managers make packaging purchases easy and efficient for large volume customers.

What packaging solutions do Rajapack offer for specific requirements?

At Rajapack we understand that our customers have specific needs that may require more bespoke solutions. Despite having 3,500 products in our offering, we realise some customers want us to source products that are not currently in our range or they want their packaging to be personalised with their logo. Our team of packaging specialists work tirelessly to offer a range of bespoke solutions, such as our custom-packaging tape system, Rajaprint, and go the extra mile to meet the demands of our customer base.

What ways can Rajapack offer to increase customers brand recognition?

We have a range of products that can be customised with our customer’s branding and logo to allow their products to stand out from the crowd. An example of this is Rajaprint, one of the more recent additions to the Rajapack website.

What machines do Rajapack offer?

When it comes to protection packaging, we have a range of machines that suit almost all of our customer’s needs. We have paper, air and foam packaging machines. These machines are designed to save you time and money over traditional protective packaging options.

Can Rajapack visit the customer’s site to do a packaging audit?

Our packaging specialists show off their expertise best, when they talk directly over the phone or visit their customers in person. By finding out the specific packaging needs of their customers, our team can work closely with you to audit your requirements and find the right solution for your business.

What bespoke products can Rajapack source?

We offer a range of bespoke packaging products that can be sourced specifically for your company. We can customise cardboard and postal boxes, packaging tape, labels, and a range of bags such as gift, plastic and canvas.

These questions reinforce the trends that we are seeing in the packaging market this year, with personalisation and unique branding being at the forefront of our customer’s requirements. Many customers are looking to create tailored and personalised packaging solutions for their products, allowing them to be easily recognised and remembered.

For highlights of the eDelivery Expo 2015, head to www.edeliveryexpo.com.

Google’s Secret Drone Delivery

Aside from beating Red Bull’s sky dive, Google has also been busy with another innovative competition. Rajapack investigates the technological giant’s new drone system.

Back in January, we asked robotics & technological experts whether they thought that automatic drones were the future of packaging delivery. At this point in time, Amazon’s automatic parcel drone, the Amazon Prime Air, was the main talking point. It has since been revealed that Google had already staked a claim in the drone delivery space, working in secret for two years on their own delivery system, Project Wing.

YouTube Clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRTNvWcx9Oo

Conceptually, Project Wing seems similar to Amazon’s propeller drone, but on closer inspection it’s the vision behind each concept which sets them apart. Amazon is geared towards customer delivery and has been consistently dedicated to this purpose.  Astro Teller, head of Google X, the division of the company that works on the search giant’s most ambitious projects, told the BBC that it could have major implications for humanitarian emergencies “even just a few of these [drones] being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation.” Such a statement suggests that Google isn’t just considering a commercial product.

How has it progressed?

Much of Project Wing’s testing has been carried out in Australia, where laws around the use of drones are much more relaxed. The vehicle’s performance seems promising. It has already made many successful deliveries to local people, with shipments such as radios, candy bars and dog treats.

With user experience always in mind, Google has focussed on the physical recovery of packages to make the process as smooth as any conventional human delivery service. The risk of customers being harmed by drones has been reduced by using a string delivery mechanism. Packages can be lowered on a line, much like that of a fishing rod, directly to the customer. Meanwhile, the drone hovers above at a safe distance.

Safety in the design of these drones will be instrumental in not only granting them access to US airspace, but also in reducing the need for human involvement and control. Drone-based delivery systems are unlikely to be completely devoid of human control however, as Google plans to continue using human interaction to improve automated software. Such interaction is well-advised, especially in instances of physical errors such as misplaced or trapped packages.

When will it be in action?

It will be a few years before such a drone is ready for commercial use. Both Google and Amazon still face a lengthy challenge of negotiating strict regulations around drone flights, which are concerned with safety and privacy.

Speaking to The Atlantic, Astro Teller says that “it’s going to take conversations with the public and with regulators…I’m cautiously optimistic that everyone wants the same thing.”

How long these conversations will last is uncertain. Before these drones are established in large numbers we will have to be patient in waiting for any friction or resistance against them to be significantly reduced. You can read about any future developments here on the Rajapack blog.