The packaging process that is over 99% plastic free

Internet Fusion Group, a leading lifestyle e-commerce retailer with brands such as Surfdome and Country Attire, have created a sustainable packaging process that is over 99% plastic free. Investments in two Quadient CVP-500 automated packaging machines and switching to Corrugated Fanfold material from Ribble Packaging, have aided with their pursuit of an environmentally sustainable right size packaging process.

To highlight the full extent of their achievements, Internet Fusion have released a report investigating the environmental effects of paper-based packaging versus plastic packaging products. The report explores the full manufacturing process of both paper and plastic packaging, through to the recyclability and long-term environmental effects once a package has reached its destination. Head of Sustainability at Internet Fusion Adam Hall said” Our customers are tired of plastic pollution, and we are tired of the justifications being put forward for continued plastic production in the middle of a marine plastic crisis. When you dig a little deeper these arguments simply don’t stack up, so we felt it was time to share the decision-making process that has led us to our packaging being over 99% plastic free. Our customers choose us because of our environmental efforts and in turn we choose Ribble for the same reasons – it’s partnerships such as these that can shift a whole industry towards a more sustainable future”.

Right Size packaging specialists Ribble Packaging supply Internet Fusion with over 75% of their packaging material in the form of Corrugated Fanfold board, a versatile fully recycled and recyclable cardboard product that feeds many of the leading automated packaging systems in the UK.

Stephen Rector, Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, commented on Internet Fusion’s success: “It is fantastic to see that Ribble products are helping our customers in creating more environmentally sustainable packaging processes. We also see the need to improve our in-house operations to make them more sustainable.”

Earlier this year, Ribble embarked on a project to make their operations carbon neutral. “We understand the need to focus on the effects our manufacturing process has on the environment, this has led to us embarking on a carbon neutral project that will see us embrace new sustainable technologies and practices. Our products allow customers to create a more sustainable packaging process, but we can enhance these benefits by offering a carbon neutral manufacturing process as well.”

Top 10 benefits of switching to Right Size Packaging in 2021

Want to find a way to keep your customers happy this year, well it’s time to look at how you can be more sustainable…

Firstly, why do small things come in such big packages in the first place? Protection! As noted by many eCommerce companies, retailers over the years have chosen to package items with unfavourable amount of padding and air to prevent items from getting damaged in transit. But this is no longer an issue thanks to smarter packaging options that meet the needs of the growing number of environmentally conscious customers.

With Right Sized Packaging, you can benefit from:

  1. Improved Packaging Protection

Rest assured each product/item is snug and secure, reducing any chance of breakages during delivery and increasing customer satisfaction.

  1. A perfect size box for all your orders

Over the years, more and more people are conscious about their decisions that affect the environment and climate change, i.e. waste. Keep your customers happy by reminding them you are conscious too.

  1. Reduction in packaging costs

Packaging can be costly but utilising the right sized packaging for your products, means you only use the amount you need. Keeping the cost of materials down as you won’t need to order as much!

  1. Reduction in vehicle utilisation

With smaller packaging boxes, you’ll be able to fit so much more on your delivery vans when transporting your product to the end-user. Reducing journeys and cutting cost, not to mention lowering your carbon emissions!

  1. Elimination of plastic packaging

Plastic packaging can take hundreds of years, if not thousands to biodegrade! Switching to a cardboard packaging material saves landfill sites from being overloaded with waste packaging.

  1. Less labour intensive

With a quicker packaging process, Ribble Right Size saves time and cuts down the process, keeping pressure off your warehouse staff.

  1. Reduced admin

With fewer materials used, you won’t need to order as much. Plus you only have to order 1 product (Fanfold) from 1 supplier, rather than multiple sizes and styles of boxes.

  1. Eliminating all void fill packaging

Making you more efficient and improving profit margin as you’ll be using less packaging.

  1. More Warehouse Space

More room for those great products of yours and less floor space wasted on excessive packaging!

  1. Flexibility to make the right box on demand

No more worry about whether you have the right size box or the right style, Ribble Right Size is fully flexible, so you’re covered for everything.

 

Interested to hear more about Right Size Packaging? Get in touch and we’d be more than happy to talk you through the process of switching and getting you on board to be more sustainable in 2021.

How you can save 25% on your packaging; Guaranteed.

With Christmas just around the corner, the increase of online shopping is likely to go through the roof round about now. As each parcel is delivered, you can expect that customers will get an immediate opinion on the brand and how they value sustainability.

10-15 years ago, people would have probably not given a second thought to an overly wrapped parcel or excessively large packaging box, but now researchers at The Chartered Institute of Marketing have found 88% of shoppers think their items come with excessive wrapping, with children’s toys, mobile phones and cosmetics most likely to come in over-elaborate packaging. It was also found that “8 in 10 would like to see more done by large companies to promote sustainable packaging”.

When companies consider the switch to Right Size packaging, they’re likely already sold on the fact that they know they’ll save on the packaging costs, as there’s so much less packaging to buy in the first place. Along with the obvious advantages that come with having similar values to their consumers; brand loyalty, trust and desire to support positive environmental policies. Often, they don’t even realise all the additional savings they can benefit from…

Think about it, with less packaging you’ll need fewer vehicles on the road as you won’t be taking up as much space in the back of your delivery vans. As well as being kinder to the environment by reducing carbon emissions, you’ll be saving money as well, fewer vehicles, fewer drivers, therefore lower labour costs for your business.

According to The Road Transport Industry report in 2019, “78% of goods are moved by road”, and transportation costs can be a huge part of a company’s overall logistics spending. If it’s possible to reduce this through Right Size packaging, its arguably one of the most beneficial solutions a company can implement due to the ever-rising fuel costs and the impact this can then have on the price of goods to the end-user.

Recently, it’s been estimated that returns can cost retailers up to £20 billion every year, but with Right Size packaging, sales aren’t limited by MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities), and Return Management is improved as the product is less likely to arrive damaged therefore fewer refunds or exchanges. To ensure your business saves money and even profits from logistical changes, bespoke Right Size packaging is essential.

With no additional cost for void fillers and less waste disposal, Right Size packaging is a no brainer for companies that want to adapt and futureproof their business. Get in touch to find out more and we can arrange a quick 15-minute virtual demo. Visit https://ribble-pack.co.uk/right-size for more information.

Packaging for Fulfilment: Building a futureproof outbound and inbound process

Over the past decade, more and more people are conscious about how they live and what they consume. Not only are they fanatical about the products in terms of where they come from and how they’re made, but it’s also the product packaging that matters and whilst many are using recyclable materials – excess packaging remains a problem amongst many Fulfilment companies.

The constant battle between finding the perfect size box for each order and having a large product inventory of all shapes and sizes continues to be a struggle for packaging warehouses across nearly every industry. With many brands facing the challenge of losing their customers due to excess waste and overuse of void fillers, it’s a problem that needs to be tackled sooner rather than later…

According to Ipsos MORI, “63% of global consumers say they would be willing to change where they shop if it meant they would use less packaging”. This is a huge percentage and has led to quite the battlefield amongst businesses feeling the pressure to waste less. Consumers no longer just accept excess packaging as a norm, they want to see companies encouraging their values and pushing for sustainable and eco-friendly options.

In the digital world we live in, it’s too easy for a brand reputation to be damaged. Within just 5 seconds, consumers can reach out to Twitter where according to Brand Watch, 80% of users have previously mentioned a brand in a tweet and during the last two years, there has been a significant increase in customer service conversations. To futureproof your business, now is the time to put a strategy in place to avoid these issues and determine how you can resolve it or even prevent it.

At Ribble packaging, we offer right-size packaging for all our customers. By having the ability to make custom-size boxes for each order on demand, Fulfilment centres never have to use wasted void fillers in their packaging again. By eliminating void fillers and using the right size packaging, fulfilment companies can gain back around 25% of free space on transportation vehicles, meaning more products can be packed on each delivery resulting on possible transportation savings. Their customers can also repack returns in the perfect size packaging so that it can easily be returned – saving time, money and resources. Warehouses won’t require such a large packaging inventory to fit all shapes and sizes as the solutions we offer will do everything for you; freeing up space that can be filled with more stock; thus, enabling a more cost-effective system.

Don’t just take out word for it…

Fulfilment companies including XPO and Clipper are already reaping the benefits of using Ribble right-size packaging…

“It’s just over 5 years ago that we took the decision to purchase our Panotec machine here at Studio in Failsworth and a second one followed not long after being fitted at one of our other sites! What a difference this has made to how we do some things here at Studio, the machine paid for itself in just 6 months. The machine is efficient, very robust and produces good quality packaging. I would recommend to any business looking to save money but keeping quality to purchase one of these.”

Mel Bradley, Reverse Logistics Manager, Studio Retail Ltd

At Ribble, we value the environment and strive to have a 100% sustainable packaging process that removes any use of void fillers and saves you money! To find out how you can futureproof your packaging Fulfilment Services, get in touch and we can arrange a free 15-minute virtual demo. Visit https://ribble-pack.co.uk/campaigns/go-green-in-15 for more information.

Sustainability Made Simple With Packaging Automation

With a growing need for companies to accelerate their sustainability and social responsibility, it’s come as no surprise that 2020 has seen more and more businesses continuing to phase out the use of plastic packaging and introduce packaging automation. Just recently, Lego have stated that they are aiming for all packaging to be sustainable by 2025. Neils B Christiansen, CEO at Lego Group says,

 “It’s critical to take urgent action now to care for the planet and future generations.”

Caring for the future is a mission that every business globally needs to adopt, not only because it’s important to value the planet, but you must ensure you don’t lose sight of your consumers values and the fundamental changes they come up against as a result of climate change.

Whilst the global coronavirus pandemic has taken hold, many retailers and other industries have recognised the need for automation across many departments, as would be expected due to the shortfall of workers and the urgent need for hygienic, sanitary processes to be in place.

But how can packaging automation help create a more sustainable process?

In terms of packaging, automating the process not only vastly improves the efficiency of your business by reducing the strain of your workforce and improving the quality of your packaging, right size packaging solutions will also decrease any waste. Not only this, your efficiency levels will be optimised as automated packaging means less reliance on workforce, as machines do not need a ‘break’.

Reducing packaging waste also means that if you do use plastic packaging for your items, this usage is kept to an absolute minimum. At Ribble, we preserve environmental resources by using 100% recycled and recyclable Fanfold for our automated packaging solutions.

Adopting a right size packaging solution to your business, does exactly what it says – you have the right size box to fit the product meaning no excess waste, leading to improved sustainability. It will size, construct, weigh and label each custom order to create the perfect package and eliminate the need for any fill material – saving you money on labour and reducing box volume for delivery.

Businesses who have incorporated our right-size packaging solution have saved 30% in packaging costs!

By having smaller packages for your products, you will also utilise available courier vehicle space better, which will in turn reduce the number of vehicles on the road, reducing your CO2 emissions and collectively making you a more sustainable business.

In celebration of Recycling Week 2020, we’re inviting you to a virtual demonstration of how right size solutions can make your packaging more sustainable. In just 15 minutes, you’ll learn how your business can go green. To register please visit https://ribble-pack.co.uk/campaigns/go-green-in-15.

How Businesses have used Packaging Automation to aid their Covid Response

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many retailers to rethink their entire business model and consider adopting an automated process for packaging. The Coronavirus pandemic will be a defining moment in history for years to come for many reasons, but if you’re an online retailer you’re likely to have witnessed a considerable peak in sales during the lockdown. With more and more consumers left with no outlet for escape, it is no wonder those who had never shopped online before chose to switch to e-commerce. This was of course great news for online retailers who unlike other businesses could thrive in sales, but the reality of many e-fulfilment centres, they struggled to cope with demand.

Those already with a Packaging Automation system in place were in a beneficial position as they could safely limit the number of staff in the warehouse and abide by social distancing during this unprecedented time. On the other hand, those supply chains that have been dragging their feet in automation had to tackle the struggle of not being able to meet the demand in sales and thus face the bad reputation that comes with this. E-commerce supply chains require fast order processing, efficient picking and packing and reliable delivery of thousands of units per day, so when you fail at this, you ultimately fall victim to poor reviews and a damaged brand.

Automation has helped many Online Retailers through COVID as they have been able to reduce the congestion of staff in the packing areas, whilst still increasing the volume of deliveries at the same time. Not only does automated packaging provide a sustainable option and encourages waste reduction, automated packaging provides reassurance for consumers. During a world-wide health crisis, consumers have understandably grown more concerned about where they source their products and having knowledge that their product and its packaging has been handled by as few people as possible is a new selling point for retailers. In a time that sees an increased awareness in hygiene, the value of single-use packaging may be on the rise again…

By focusing on efficiency and delivering to your consumers, we have already seen a steady increase in packaging automation as e-commerce retailers take greater control over the supply chain. Right sized packaging enables a single operative to make any box, at the correct size for any goods, packing single or multiple items.  This means faster packaging, using less materials and smaller packages, so you can get more products per pallet – reducing truckloads, cost and carbon. When you combine this with our corrugated Fanfold material, you can typically generate a 25% reduction in corrugated costs and up to a 100% reduction in void fillers. As logistics centres increase social distancing measures, automation can help increase throughput with reduced staffing levels.

 

To find out more about our automated packaging options, please get in touch.

 

How to future proof your business using automation

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, automation can often be seen on the agenda of most forward-thinking businesses. However, many may be thinking that the use of automation will instantly give them rewards and save on costs, sometimes this can be the case, but the use of automation needs to be viewed as a long-term strategy. For starters, sometimes the initial investment is not a small outlay and the costs involved in moving from manual processes into automated procedures can be high.

The key to evolving into automation is found in the medium-to-long-term, simply put this means the longer automation is used, the more powerful its ability to reduce costs becomes.

So how does automation improve production efficiency and decrease production costs?

Automated machines have no need to take breaks. They work at a faster rate, lowering manufacturing overheads, and increase output at the same time. In short, it means you can manufacture more products within the same space and time.

Automated technology continues to improve year-on-year, a recent stat from NCCI – “Only about 10% of manufacturing tasks globally were performed by robots in 2015. But that percentage is expected to rise to 25% by 2025 as robots become less expensive and easier to program, making them more accessible, particularly to small businesses.”

Automation also has the ability to work collaboratively with the human workforce. Sensor systems have become far more adept and built with safety in mind, with features such as collaborative machines that can detect too much resistance to their movement, so they automatically shut down. The positive effect here is a safer workplace for employees, and a far lower risk of accidents occurring.

Businesses need resilience, flexibility, and scalability. In other words, they need automation, delivering substantial results to the bottom line.

The real question here should be Why would you not automate? By choosing an automated solution like ‘right-size packaging’ you too can begin to reap the benefits that automation brings along with future proofing your business.

Find out how you can automate your packaging process in just 15 minutes, from the comfort of your own chair with our virtual demonstration by calling 0161 284 9000

Why is automation the future for packaging?

The day of shipping boxes 40% oversized has come to an end. Constructing boxes, packing, weighing, sealing and labelling manually is a slow process, and few have either the physical space or the available labour to create additional packing solutions for your ever-changing stock.

The quality of the packaging matters to customers, if nothing else, the package is the first impression. The condition of the contents upon arrival to the customer is important, more and more we are seeing a demand for less void fill. This comes at a time with the current climate where we are seeing a spike in online deliveries. With the average box being 40% too big, add to this the cost of shipping boxes too large for their contents and it gets expensive.

A simple size-constrained machine using only one-size of box does not cater for the wide variety of products and order sizes experienced by most businesses. If demand for smaller items to be packed exceeds the capacity of the relevant machine, the supplier has no option but to move up a box size, or two, or three, or do they?

What is the answer?

Rightsized boxes and pouches assembled on automated equipment are the future. The system scans and measures the item, or group of items, to be packed and calculates the ‘best fit’ box shape and size. The material for the box and lid is cut and creased to size, erected around the item(s) and the lid glue-sealed – which is faster and more recyclable than using tape.

This approach addresses the waste problem – cardboard usage typically cut by 20%, and a tight fit eliminates the need for void fill. Total package volumes can be reduced by 50%, maximising the use of the truck or trailer cube and reducing shipping costs and environmental impacts.

What is there not to like?

The business case I think you will agree is impressive. Even operating ‘off-peak’ at below capacity there is a quick Return on Investment in the form of material savings, lower shipping costs and labour economies – labour that could be redeployed to other tasks.

By choosing an automated solution like ‘right-size packaging’ businesses can meet their fulfilment promises, even in the peaks, while respecting the environment, reducing transit damage and saving money.

Find out how you can automate your packaging process in just 15 minutes, from the comfort of your own chair with our virtual demonstration by calling 0161 284 9000

Sustainable Product Packaging: 6 Packaging Designs To Inspire

The packaging manufacturing sector is an £11 billion industry and a significant contributor to the UK economy.

It is also an industry that is continually evolving, thanks, in part, to technological changes. Public pressure is playing a role too, however; a recent WWF report showed a third of British people are concerned about the levels of packaging used in the products they buy.

Thinking of the response to programmes like Blue Planet II and environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, it’s probably not surprising. It does, however, mean that it’s no longer enough for companies to say they care about the planet. They need to prove their commitment to the environment. Moreover, sustainable product packaging is one of the easiest and most noticeable ways of doing this.

What is sustainable product packaging?

According to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, sustainable product packaging is packaging that has a limited environmental impact and reduces that impact over time. Examples of this include:

  • Packaging that uses 100% recycled materials or can be recycled.
  • Production processes that make the best use of resources or source materials locally to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Packaging that is part of a circular economy, extending its lifecycle and usability.
  • Limiting the amount of packaging used, e.g. by reducing void filler (or doing away with it entirely).
  • Swapping single-use plastics for reusable or recyclable products such as cardboard, paper, bio-plastics or other bio-based materials.

It is worth noting, however, that – while all of this packaging may be sustainable – it isn’t always.  Plant-based packaging, for example, has been known to come from halfway across the world, including the rainforests. It’s important, therefore, that companies drill down to where materials come from and how they are manufactured when developing sustainable product packaging – just because the packaging says it’s eco-friendly doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. 

Innovations in sustainable product packaging

One of the best things about the push for sustainable product packaging is the innovation we are seeing in packaging design. Across the industry, companies are coming up with new and exciting ways to package products that reduce their environmental impact.  So, because we know changing packaging can be daunting, we’ve put together six of our favourite new sustainable packaging designs to inspire you.

Fat Face bags as wrapping paper

Fat Face bags as wrapping paper, sustainable product packaging

High Street and online retailer Fat Face have been focusing on sustainability across the board in recent years. This includes not just the materials they use to make their clothes but the packaging those clothes come in. It has reduced its carbon footprint by 8% since 2018. In part, this was down to making the move to recycled plastic bags for its products and recycled paper bags for its online deliveries. 

This Christmas, by using recycled paper bags in its stores that doubled as wrapping paper, it helped its customers reduce their carbon footprint too. Customers could recycle the wrapping paper too, which isn’t always possible with other brands.  Not only is this a great idea, it means customers have increased awareness of how Fat Face are doing their bit, which should – in turn – increase brand loyalty.

It’s probably worth mentioning that Fat Face isn’t the only brand looking to make their shopping bags more useful.  H&M, for example, have bags that turn into coat hangers, as do the HangBag Project and Transforma. Meanwhile, companies like Triumph Plants produce biodegradable wrapping paper embedded with seeds to reduce waste and have a positive environmental impact.

Rejuvenated compostable packaging

Rejuvenated compostable packaging

It’s not just Triumph Plants that are looking at producing products that are less likely to end up in landfill.  Packaging that is biodegradable or compostable is growing in popularity. Rejuvenated is a UK-based company that sells nutritional supplements. They have recently announced they are moving to compostable packaging, starting with a skincare supplement drink before rolling it out to other products. They will package the supplement in a bio-pouch which customers can compost at home.  

In addition, Rejuvenate now offer customers the option to purchase a metal scoop for their products rather than a plastic one (which they’ll be phasing out by the end of the year).  

Compostable packaging seems to be ideal for food-based products; other companies that have made the switch in the last few years include Tea Pigs (who also have no plastic in their tea bags) and Snact snack bars. However, it’s worth noting that while all compostable products are biodegradable, not all biodegradable products are compostable. Companies that are looking to make the shift to either need to make sure their customers understand how to dispose of the packaging properly.

The 60 Bag

The 60 Bag

Biodegradable products seem to have a wider reach than compostable products and can be found in all types of sustainable product packaging, including the 60 Bag. The 60 Bag is a good example of sustainability through the use of materials that have a low carbon footprint and result in minimal environmental impact. The bag is made from flax fibre. The fibre comes from industrial waste and producing the bag takes very little energy as a result. 

The bag looks good and has the strength needed for multiple uses. And, when it’s no longer fit for purpose (which can take a while), customers can be confident it won’t end up rotting in landfill for a hundred years. This is because the bags naturally biodegrade in 60 days. 

Garçon Wines flat wine bottle

Garçon Wines flat wine bottle

Most people would probably say ’round’ when describing a wine bottle and a few may say wine doesn’t come in bottles but in boxes. Garçon Wines, however, want to change that with their new, sustainable, wine bottle design. 

Their wine bottles, which are made from recycled materials (and are 100% recyclable), are flat. And, while this might seem a strange choice, the result is not only pleasing to the eye but cost-effective too.  First, they are 87% lighter than a traditional wine bottle. Plus, they are 40% spatially smaller. This means they need less packaging materials, require less storage space and have a lower carbon footprint. And, because of their design, Garçon Wines estimate each bottle saves the supply chain at least 500g of CO2. 

Gumipod chewing gum boxes

Gumipod chewing gum boxes

Gumipod is another company looking to change how we see traditional packaging by focusing on such a small part of our lives – chewing gum. Much of the focus of sustainable product packaging in recent years has been on larger packages full of void filler or wrapped in too much single-use plastic. Sometimes, however, smaller products can be packed in very non-sustainable ways. 

Chewing gum is a perfect example of this.  Little of the packaging that chewing gum comes in is reusable or recyclable.  Gumipod wants to change this. Their innovative new product is designed to move consumers away from wasteful gum wrappers and help keep the streets free from dropped chewing gum.  The boxes are made from food-grade recyclable plastic and designed to hold 12 pieces of gum on one side and 24 pieces of ‘used’ gum on the other. Hopefully, gum manufacturers will jump on this sustainable product packaging bandwagon.

Accordion Packaging

Accordion Packaging

Not all sustainable product packaging, however, is new – some is just being rediscovered. Accordion packaging, for example, has been around for a few years but seems to be growing in popularity along with the trend for sustainable product packaging.  We’ve come across examples of it being used in clothing, chocolate, and beauty, and it seems to make perfect sense for those wanting to reduce the use of void fillers. 

The benefit of accordion packaging is that it really is a case of ‘one size fits all’ because containers can be made bigger or smaller depending on what is inside.  This is down to the fan-like folds that are used to create the packaging and can stretch as needed. Remember, though, as we mentioned before, the packaging is only as sustainable as the materials it is made from.  

While this design has the potential to be very eco-friendly and definitely ticks the box when it comes to reducing void filler, it still needs to be made from reusable or recyclable materials to be truly sustainable. 

Sustainable Packaging For Business Growth?

The packaging sector is constantly changing and evolving to meet consumer demand.  This has never been more the case than with sustainable product packaging. There are so many options out there for companies to change how they package and ship their goods that there is no excuse not to make the change. And, while the initial outlay may have a financial impact, in the long-term sustainable packaging is providing to not only be environmentally friendly but cost-effective for many businesses. Plus, it means something to their customers, which builds brand loyalty and will hopefully lead to continued business growth. 

Leading The Way With Packaging Innovation With Ribble Packaging

According to the Office of National Statistics, 82% of people in the UK shopped online in 2019 (a rise of 4% against 2018). That’s a lot of goods being shipped, and a lot of packaging being used. And, given how much of that packaging will have been too big for the goods being shipped, it’s a lot of waste and unnecessary cost.

When it comes to unnecessary packaging, waste and cost aren’t the only factors to consider. There is another side too: consumer opinion.  A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing found that 88% of people think their online shopping comes with too much packaging. And, a further 30% said too much packaging puts them off ordering with the same company again. 

Thankfully, for businesses who sell goods online, packaging innovation means tailor-made boxes, produced on demand are now an option available to retailers and manufacturers. A solution that, in the longer-term, can save them time and money while building a loyal customer base. 

What is on demand packaging?

On demand packaging is an innovative packaging solution that allows businesses to produce boxes to the exact size of the goods they’re shipping. State of the art machinery scans goods and cuts corrugated cardboard to the exact size needed. They’re a simple and effective solution to the problem of too much packaging. The results are less waste, less cost, higher levels of customer satisfaction and a smaller environmental footprint.

On demandPackaging innovation with

There are a number of on demand packaging solutions on the market and available in the UK, including:

CMC CartonWrap

CMC’s CartonWrap is an automated packaging system capable of producing 1,000 on demand boxes an hour. Each box fits the exact size and shape of the goods to be shipped. These are made in ‘real-time’ after an order is processed and ready for shipping. 

Businesses around the world use Carton Wrap. This includes Lakeland in the UK. However, the machine is primarily designed for larger enterprises that ship in high volumes. As a result, and due to its size, it doesn’t work as well for smaller businesses or those with limited warehouse space.

Neopost CVP-500

Neopost’s CVP-500 is a smaller machine, though possibly still not ideal for businesses with limited space due to its size. The machine is designed for mid-market businesses and makes up to 500 boxes an hour. Each fits the product it is shipping perfectly.  According to Neopost, the CVP-500 is equivalent to 15 packaging stations and saves businesses up to 20% on cardboard compared to traditional, standardised, packaging.

Ribble Right Size

Panotec’s machinery is available exclusively in the UK through Ribble, a Lancashire based packaging company who have been delivering innovative packaging solutions to its customers for 80 years. Right Size works seamlessly with Ribble’s fanfold cardboard, meaning it saves businesses 25% on cardboard and 100% on void fillers. It also means businesses have consistent access to high-quality materials and don’t have to worry about MOQs.

Unlike Neopost and CMC’s automated packaging machines, Right Size machinery is available in three sizes, meaning there is likely one that works for most businesses. Their smallest model, the Compak 1.4, for example, is only 1.4 metres wide and can produce 600 boxes an hour. There is also the Compak Evo, which produces 720 boxes per hour and the larger Next Mode model produces 840 boxes per hour.

The Benefits of On Demand Packaging

While there is an initial outlay to buying an on demand packaging system, something which may make businesses nervous, the short and long-term benefits make any investment well worthwhile. 

Speed

On demand packaging systems are fast, much faster than packaging by hand. As a result, businesses can be much more responsive to customer demand, fulfilling orders more quickly. It’s worth remembering that, as well as speed, companies should consider volume. As we’ve seen, different machinery can produce different numbers of boxes in an hour. 

It is important that businesses choose equipment that produces boxes at the rate they need them to. It is easy for businesses to over-estimate how many boxes they need. It is worth noting that Amazon’s new automated packaging system, for example, only produces 700 boxes an hour.

Accuracy

Systems like Right Size take the guesswork out of packaging. Businesses can be confident knowing that they will never order packaging that is too big or too small for the goods they want to ship. Plus, because systems produce labels at the same time as boxes, there is less chance of an order shipping to the wrong location. 

Flexibility

Not all products fit nicely into a standard box.  For example, Ribble work with Showcard who produce point of sale and large scale display posters. Both need specific packaging to ensure goods arrive at their destination in excellent condition. This isn’t always possible with ‘one size fits all’ boxes. It is possible with packaging innovation where businesses can size boxes to meet their specific needs.

Costs

Following the initial layout, on demand packaging machines can lead to huge costs savings, including:

Materials

Neopost estimates their CVP-500 saves 20% on conventional packaging. Right Size, meanwhile, can save a business 25% in corrugated cardboard, a significant saving. There is also less need for void filler. This is one of the most expensive parts of packaging because a) it costs money to buy and b) it costs money to transport. With void filler, businesses are basically paying to ship air. With systems such as Right Size, because it uses corrugated cardboard to protect goods, the need for void filler is completely eliminated.

Warehousing

Storing standardised boxes takes up space, resulting in warehouse costs that can be avoided by on demand packaging. An added benefit here is that the less packaging a business has to store, the more space they have to store goods (while not having to increase their square footage).

Errors

Goods picked and packed by hand are more likely to contain errors, leading to customers receive the wrong goods. When this happens, businesses sometimes take it as a loss, estimating it costs more to ship the products back that have the customer keep them. There is, however, a cost for then sending out the correct item. Packaging innovation reduces the risk of errors as it scans goods before packaging; some systems have digital displays that allow staff to match goods to orders. 

Damage

The chances of goods being damaged in transit increases when they are incorrectly packaged. This can be the result of boxes being the wrong size or insufficient void filler. Businesses then have to send replacement goods, which they have to pay for.

Transport

While the goods businesses ship determines their transport costs, most say shipping is their biggest outlay. In fact, some industry experts estimate transportation costs can run as high as 50%. Packaging innovation reduces the size of the packaging, meaning businesses can load more goods into their delivery vans. As a result, shipping goods requires fewer trucks and fewer journeys. This, in turn, reduces running costs and a company’s carbon footprint.

The Environmental Impact

Perhaps one of the most positive benefits of on demand packaging systems is that they reduce a business’s environmental impact.  This is becoming increasingly important to consumers. The Charted Institute of Marketing survey we mentioned earlier, for example, found:

  • 36% of people surveyed judge a company’s ethics based on their packaging
  • 17% had complained to a company because of excess packaging with their goods
  • 10% were less likely to place an online order because of the amount of packaging a company used
  • 25% were willing to pay more for sustainable packaging; this is something Ribble offer in all their packaging, 100% of which is recyclable.

With packaging innovation and on demand solutions, businesses can honestly tell their customers that they are reducing their:

  • Levels of waste
  • Carbon footprint
  • Use of plastic

At the same time, they are increasing the use of recyclable materials. This should have a positive impact on how they are seen and could increase sales.

Competitive Advantage

Finally, on demand packaging systems offer businesses a competitive edge. They are simple and inexpensive to run, increase productivity and reduce costs. And, because they are innovative and not widely used, they allow businesses to work in ways others in their market can’t. This is incredibly important when profit margins are tight, or markets are crowded. It provides a way for businesses to offer their customers a competitive price and a high level of service. Both of which should lead to increased sales and repeat orders.

Over time, because of the benefits that packaging innovation offers and customer demand for sustainable packaging, there is no doubt that on demand packaging will increase in popularity.  What better time, then, than now, to invest in a state-of-the-art product that could change the way you do business and your customers see you?

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