Packaging: Improving Customer Satisfaction While Lowering Cost
By NNR USA In Insight On 7th December 2022
Supply chain professionals have been forced to adapt over the last three years. Port congestion, equipment shortages, and an unstable labor market have created a market dynamic where many companies are moving their supply chain closer to home.
Surging e-commerce sales have constrained the capacity of traditional delivery companies like UPS and Fed Ex. They have left companies scrambling for ways to move more products through their supply chain.
Sometimes, the answer is obvious; they should be looking at their packaging.
Questions that professionals should be asking themselves include:
- Does the packaging protect the product?
- Is there wasted space in the packaging that results in the carriers charging for dimensional weight?
- Is the packaging recyclable?
- Does the packaging convey the company's sales and marketing message?
When analyzing packaging decisions, product managers should take advantage of the expertise of the warehouse and shipping departments.
The warehouse will tell you that any product shipped via e-commerce should come in a shippable package. Products that are packaged this way minimize storage charges (no need for a box inventory), minimize dunnage, and speed up the order fulfillment process. Shippable boxes may add some initial cost to the product, but this will be recovered in lower storage and fulfillment fees and a better chance to minimize dimensional charges.
Companies can leverage their carrier relationships to test their packaging early in the process. Both Fed Ex and UPS have labs that test packaging and make recommendations. These are free services from the carriers.
If multiple products are combined into a box, there are options for recyclable dunnage. For example, bio-degradable packaging peanuts made from corn starch or pea protein, dissolve when they get wet. Recycled paper options also create dunnage that minimizes product movement in a master carton.
Working with the product team at the start of a product life, a packaging expert can make recommendations that convey your company's message in a way that is also more sustainable. More consumers and vendors are conscious of a company's sustainability efforts, which may provide a differentiator.
If 2023 follows the current trend, more companies will be near-shoring manufacturing or creating final value-add close to the customer. Considerations should be given to bringing on some packaging expertise to lower costs and improve sustainability.
National Business Development Manager - Supply Chain
NNR GLOBAL LOGISTICS USA - Los Angeles