Tag Archives: Logistics

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.

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

The future of last mile logistics

Delivering online sales to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible is more important than ever. Customer expectations have risen and buying decisions can be based on whether the delivery time meets what the customer has come to expect. Waiting a full working week for a delivery is becoming a thing of the past. This means a fast, reliable logistics stream can be the difference between making or missing a sale.

Taking to the skies

There are many new technologies in development predicted to speed up last mile logistics. Some of these have already been trialled, all be it in very limited tests, and are beginning to look a lot more plausible. With no less than seven companies racing to get their version of an automated ground vehicle (AVG) onto the streets it’s now a matter of when, not if. And the same applies to drones Amazon has already carried out several test deliveries in the UK, with the view to expanding these in the near future. So far, the technology isn’t suitable for every delivery – high rise flats in the inner city could prove to be a challenge – but for more rural areas close to distribution centres, drone deliveries are now a viable option.

Innovate or risk falling behind

Companies who pay attention to new technologies will undoubtedly fare better than those who are slower on the uptake. But, the last mile is completely reliant on having warehouse processes that select, package and ship as efficiently as possible. This means it’s more important than ever to have modern warehouse equipment and constantly ensure your operation is running as smoothly as possible.

To find out how businesses are dealing with the challenges of last mile logistics Rajapack spoke to two different companies, Mindful Chef and Trouva. Both are dedicated to finding the fastest way to handle the last mile of their logistics stream. Find out what they had to say in our interactive content piece The Future of Last Mile Logistics.