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?

The Manufacturer’s Guide To Packaging Paintings And Wall Art

Over the last ten years, the UK has experienced rapid growth in online sales. Clothes and household items aren’t all people are buying. Today, people are buying anything and everything online, including paintings and wall art. 

Some of the most difficult items to pack are paintings and wall art, especially if they are framed. Framed artwork and pictures don’t fit usual packing standards, meaning they need special care and attention when shipping. The frames themselves, for example, are often large yet flimsy. Glass covers a large percentage of paintings, and the artwork itself is at risk of damage from the wrong type of packaging or glass breaking.  

Here we look at how best to package paintings and wall art for shipping. First, though, we’ll look at what to avoid with painting packaging. 

What not to do when packaging paintings and wall art

When packaging paintings and wall art, it’s a good idea to avoid:

  • Using packing materials that can scratch glass or leave marks on the canvas. A perfect example of this is newspaper, which a lot of sites recommended using as additional packaging. Another is parchment paper, which can scratch glass. 
  • Using Styrofoam peanuts as additional packaging. While these might seem a good option, they can break down in transit, especially with heavier frames. These small pieces can lodge between the frame and glass. More environmentally-friendly options, such as corn starch peanuts, also breakdown under pressure. They can also turn to ‘glue’ with moisture, causing damage to paintings. 
  • Shipping loose canvases with their frame. It is much better to roll up the canvas and ship it separately. 

Packaging paintings correctly

While every painting and piece of artwork is different, these steps will help make sure they are packaged correctly.

  1. Place the painting on a flat surface when preparing it for shipping. The surface should be stable and bigger than the painting itself.
  2. Use masking tape to mark an X across any glass frame. This will help keep the glass in place during shipping. It also protects the artwork if the glass breaks in transit. 
  3. Use thick card as a cover where there isn’t a glass frame. The card or cardboard should cover the painting, not the frame. Alternatives to card and cardboard include foam or felt. Avoid bubble wrap touching the artwork directly as this could cause static, which can damage a painting. 
  4. Use bubble wrap to cover the painting and the frame. Use at least two layers, one horizontally and one vertically, which will keep the painting more secure in transit. Secure the bubble wrap with masking tape at the back of the painting, holding it in place. 
  5. Choose the right sized box for the frame being shipped. If it is too large, it could move in transit, damaging the painting. Use additional packaging such as brown paper If there is space once the frame is in the box to avoid it moving in transit.  
  6. For extra-large frames (those more than 30 inches high/wide) use a telescopic box. Telescopic boxes extend to fit the frame. Alternatively, use two boxes or use cardboard cut to the size of the frame. Make sure the cardboard is thick enough to protect the painting in transit.
  7. Once the frame is in the box, lift and move the package to see if it moves in transit. If it does, add additional packaging. 
  8. Seal the edges with packing tape. Use enough tape to make sure the seals won’t open during transit. 
  9. Mark the package FRAGILE. Place labels where they can be easily seen. If needed, use more than one.
  10. Choose the right shipping method. Ideally, this will be a courier, one who specialises in shipping artwork and who understands how to handle fragile packages. If the painting is expensive or an antique, make sure it is properly insured so that if it is damaged the business, and the customer, are protected. 

Packaging Sizes

Of all of these, getting the right size box is probably the most important step, yet the one most often ignored. There is a temptation for businesses to order boxes in bulk to cut costs and then try and make the frames fit. Using packaging that is too large for the frame, however, is putting the painting at risk, something that should be avoided at all costs. 

Fortunately, there are now lots of options available to ensure you have the right-sized boxes. You can ask a box manufacturer to deliver custom-sized boxes for your products. Alternatively, you can invest in a packaging machine, which will create a box to the right size of each individual product you plan to ship. 

 

Seven Reasons To Switch To Right Size Packaging

In many cases, packaging is as important as the product itself.

To customers, packaging says a lot about your business. In fact, from something as humble as packaging, your clients can understand aspects of your brand such as your commitment to protecting goods right through to your environmental credentials and eco-friendly stance. By choosing the right size packaging for your business, you can showcase your brand before a customer has even looked at what’s inside.

What is right size packaging?

It is very rare for a product to fit in conventional boxes for packaging exactly. Instead, businesses will use filler and padding to protect the product and give the product more security so that it fits more snugly in the box. However, by opting for customised options, you can have the right size packaging to ship your products without the need for extra packing materials.

With so many benefits of right size packaging, here are just seven reasons why you should make the switch to right size packaging.

Seven reasons to choose right size packaging

  • Reduce your packaging spend

The cost of packaging can quickly mount up and significantly reduce the potential profits from every sale. Using right size packaging means that you only have to use the amount you need. By reducing the amount of packaging or cardboard you use, you save money on your packaging materials. Your materials stretch further, meaning you can pack more products for the same cost as fewer products with standardised box sizes.

Not only does right size packaging mean you save money on your packaging orders, but you also reduce the administrative time of ordering materials too.

  • Reduce your carbon footprint

For most businesses, it is common to have a business objective or mission statement centred on sustainability and being more environmentally aware. Packaging is one area where you can show your commitment to reducing your carbon footprint and being more sustainable.

For example, your business can commit to only using recycled products for packaging material. At Ribble, all of our cardboard is recycled as well as being fully recyclable.  Furthermore, when you use right size boxes, you reduce the amount of cardboard and filling materials that you need. To help reduce wastage and lessen the impact on the environment.

  • Lower stock

If many different packaging products overrun your facility, then it may be time to switch to right size packaging. With right size packaging methods, such as Box on Demand, you have just one packaging material that is easy to store. This means your packing area can get rid of copious boxes and storage of a range of filler products that do not use the space efficiently.

The lower stock also helps to improve your on-demand supply chain, meaning you only have the necessary products available for your orders which can help to streamline your business and lower costs.

  • Improved protection

By using the right sized packaging for each product, you can ensure each item is snug and secure in its packaging. This means that throughout the potential turbulent shipping process, your product has the best possible protection.

Using the right packaging reduces the risk of damage to your products which will increase customer satisfaction on its arrival. In turn, this can reduce expensive returns and replacements for faulty products, all helping to improve your bottom line.

  • Better transportation

By having smaller boxes to fit products, you save on expensive empty space and reduce the cost of void fill. What’s more, it makes the process more efficient when transporting products as you can pack more onto a lorry or reduce the cost of shipping thanks to a lower weight and size.

Cutting the size and weight of each package, you can save on costs but also lower your carbon emissions to as you need fewer lorries to transport a greater selection of goods.

  • Increase customer satisfaction

Customers rely on packaging to protect their goods and make sure that they remain fully functioning after shipping. Firstly, by making sure your product arrives damage-free is the minimum expectation from a customer. Many consumers have a focus on the environment and will seek out brands who are committed to eco-friendly causes. By reducing the amount of packaging, you show consumers that you do not needlessly waste resources and damage the planet unnecessarily.

Furthermore, customers hate having to split and break down packaging to recycle and throw it away. Increased packaging increases their time processes as well as filling up the bin. Using right size packaging, you limit the excess and make the lives of your customers easier.

  • Save time = save money

By using an on-demand product to create your right size packaging for you, you can enjoy a quicker packing process. By producing one perfectly sized box to batch producing, Box on Demand can create the boxes you need, saving packers time and reducing the number of processes involved too.

By having a box making machine, you reduce the amount of work for packers, allowing them to be utilised in other aspects of the business, as well as reducing the pressure on busy staff.

Let your business reap the rewards of saving time, money and increasing productivity.

Seven Benefits of A Packaging Automation Process

One of the biggest causes for concern in business is the rising costs and the best approaches you can take to help combat increasing expenditure and make savings where possible. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your business sustainable and ensure a healthy bottom line, one of these is through automation, particularly in the packaging sector with packaging automation processes.

An important consideration for businesses is how to ensure a packaging process provides a respectable return on investment. So often, the cost of staff leads to non-value-added processes that are wasting both time and money. What companies need to do is find ways to be greener, more sustainable, reduces costs and eliminate wastage. One of the best ways to do this is through automated packaging machinery and automating packaging processes.

What is packaging automation?

Packaging automation uses packaging machinery at various stages of the packaging process such as filling and sealing boxes, wrapping and labelling machines and coding and strapping products. Machinery can be both automatic and semi-automatic, covering a range of tasks but, as the name suggests, semi-automatic packaging machinery will require more labour.

Depending on the return on investment you can receive will play a part on the type of automated packaging machinery that will provide the most benefits and least costs to your business.

Seven benefits of packaging automation

  •  Productivity

Typically, automated packaging machinery will process goods much faster than the manual methods. Depending on the type of automation and the number of products you need to package, a machine will be able to wrap hundreds of items a minute, for example into blister packs. With packaging machinery, you can dramatically increase productivity to save time and ensure a faster production line.

  • Safer working conditions

If the items that you are packaging are bulky, cumbersome and heavy, then there can be a risk for health and safety. If your business employs personnel to package products that are heavy, then you have the chance of injury and costly time off work as well as the cost involved with ensuring rigorous health and safety compliance. Automated packaging takes away this problematic issue and creates a safer working environment.

  • Meticulous quality

With automated packaging, you can be sure that every package is well-protected through a standardised packing process. With automated packaging, each product has a tailored packaging design and shape so that you can be sure of the same level of protection for each item, and there is a routine use of stock.

  • Saving the planet with reduced wastage

One environmental benefit of packaging automation is that a packaging machine will only use a set amount of material and will be economical in its use of material, cutting to size and creating an efficient pattern that maximises protection out of the minimum level of material. This method can also save your business a considerable amount in packaging costs by reducing the amount of waste and streamlining the types of packaging you need to prevent over-ordering of various materials.

  • Specialised packaging

Whatever your product is, you can find an automated solution that is tailored to your item. Whether is vacuum packing, pressure filling, sterilised or inflatable, you can find the right piece of equipment to suit your bespoke needs. If you package many different products, then an on-demand solution that tailors each package to suit the shape of the product is ideal.

  • Lower costs

Labour intensive processes can be expensive but also fluctuating, making it hard to calculate the budget required for your packaging sector and the cost of packaging per product. Fortunately, automated packaging solutions are standardised, typically with a fixed price for the machinery as a set amount of packaging per product that can be calculated easily. By reducing the labour requirements, you can find a use for staff in value-adding areas elsewhere in the business.

  • Efficiency

Automated packaging can serve as a double benefit, covering the role that is too repetitive and straining for staff to undertake happily and also take on the tasks that are too difficult for a human to do. Whether it’s a large item, monotonous smaller jobs that are the same day in, day out or a job for multiple people, then automation may be the best way to combat these problems and have an efficient process. Rather than struggling with employing staff or worker retention, you have a reliable packaging machine that can take on the work and isn’t afraid of a repetitive task.


If you would like to speak to one of the Ribble team about our environmental standards or find out how packaging automation could help your business, get in touch.

How To Streamline Manufacturing Processes With Packaging Automation

Every business needs customer satisfaction in order to be profitable and successful. Taking a look at your manufacturing processes will help but ensuring customer satisfaction can be tricky. Consumers are constantly on the lookout for three key criteria;

  • Better product
  • Lower price
  • Quicker delivery

These customer demands only increase, and with more competitors to rival, this can put a strain on manufacturing businesses to keep their customers and stay competitive in the market place. To increase the efficiency of a product, both in cost and time, companies need to streamline their manufacturing to keep up with the growing demands.

How to streamline manufacturing processes

There are many ways to streamline manufacturing processes. One of the best ways to analyse how to simplify the process to increase its efficiency is by evaluating every task in the process and deciding whether it is a step that is value-adding or non-value-adding.

Value adding: this refers to tasks that usually changes or transforms the product, essentially adding a value to the product by adapting it to suit your needs. Steps such as quality control may not change the product, but still, can add value so be mindful of the activities that confirm value too.

Non-value adding: these tasks are ones that do not change the product and don’t necessarily need to be performed to ensure value to the product. They may, however, need to be performed due to the setup of production, for example moving parts from one part of the factory to another, or storage where parts are waiting for work to be performed.

To streamline the process as a whole, a good method is to focus on the non-value adding tasks first by stripping away any that are unnecessary. The next step is simplifying the process in order to eliminate the activity in the future, for example, changing the layout of the manufacturing set up to reduce the time between work stations.

For many businesses streamlining activities will only take place, if at all, in the manufacturing of the product itself. What many people neglect is a critical area of streamlining potential which is the packaging of the finished product.

How packaging automation can streamline manufacturing processes

Packaging automation works by creating the box or boxes you need with ease. Whether a mechanical or electrical system, packaging automation replaces some or all of the manual packaging elements and uses machinery to complete the task to make an array of different packaging options.

Box on Demand is just one of the automated packaging systems available which create packaging on demand that is uniquely designed to fit a range of different shapes and sizes. This is ideal for manufacturers who offer a range of different products that all have different packaging requirements.

Depending on your packaging requirements, automated packaging solutions can help to streamline your business in many ways such as;

  • Speed – items can be boxed as soon as they’re off the production line, you do not have to wait until the right sized box has been made up.
  • Efficiency – automated packaging reduces the manual effort required, meaning other people can be utilised in a different area of work.
  • Time-saving – as soon as products are finished they can be boxed and sent straight away, reducing the lead time for the customer.
  • Space-saving – as soon as products are ordered, they can be packaged and shipped, meaning they can free up space in your premises and reduces the risk of items being forgotten about.
  • Cost-saving – only creating the packing you need, you do not have to buy boxes in bulk that won’t be used. The money saved can be invested in machinery to speed up other areas of the manufacturing process.
  • Reduced rework – by having the right sized box, your product will be safer and therefore reach your customer fully functional. By packaging in the wrong sized box, you risk returns and remanufacturing to give the customer a quality product.
  • Less wastage – only utilising what you need, you can reduce the wastage of your business, making the process more efficient and reducing lost costs.
  • Consistency – As packaging systems make the right box every time, you know that each box will be flawless and your customers will know what to expect with the high-quality packaging solutions you provide.
  • Safety – With automation, you reduce the number of workers you need and can, therefore, increase the safety. The chances of injury with automated machinery will help to protect your workforce and could save your business considerable money in training, lost work days and potential lawsuits.

Find out more about automated packaging solutions and how they can benefit your business.

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