While we haven’t moved into the futuristic territory of The Jetsons, major retailers like Walmart are starting to roll out drone deliveries across several U.S. states. Just because companies are being granted patents for drones and airborne fulfillment centers doesn’t necessarily mean the use of these delivery technologies is readily available. Today, tomorrow, and for quite a while, trucks will be used to transport e-commerce packages to consumers’ homes.
The trouble with trucks, and a big reason why drones are under consideration, is there’s not enough space inside of trailers to keep up with the increased demand of e-commerce shipments. The trucks, however, are not going to get any bigger because larger trucks require more gas, face more regulations, and need more drivers.
This challenge has forced carriers to fit more on each truck or increase the delivery fee for each shipment. Most carriers, like FedEx, have opted for the latter and now charge for space rather than weight. Dimensional weight is a pricing technique assigned to a shipment based on volume versus the actual weight of the package.
To combat these increases in shipping fees, brands must reconsider packaging materials and delivery methods to make changes that will result in smarter, smaller parcels. Thinking about three specific variables is a good place to start.
1. Be clear about damage goals. Understand what solutions offer the best protection for your needs then decide the appropriate amount of packaging material that will meet those needs while minimizing the total size of the parcel.
2. Understand throughput requirements. How many SKUs do you want to manage? You will spend more money running a slower operation than you will recover from freight savings. Be thoughtful about the packaging requirements of each SKU and how that will affect your operation.
3. Optimize the packaging operation. Retailers often overthink the process for creating shipment-ready parcels when a single packaging material can accomplish multiple jobs. The combination of resource management and operational throughput requires a delicate balance, so a little homework will go a long way to increase profits.
These variables differ across each industry or sometimes just day to day. By asking the right questions, retailers can reach an optimal balance of a fully optimized package with a lower operational burden. Reliable and cost-effective protection can be accomplished with some of our most popular packaging solutions.
Shipping mailers: These oldies but goodies are quick, affordable, and easy to use. Historically, only smaller, lighter items could be placed inside a mailer but with years of innovation and improvements, mailers can now withstand the rigors of delivery as well as traditional corrugate. They are also available in two material formats to suit your needs — paper and poly.
Durable carton wrap: This opaque film eliminates the need for a secondary corrugated box by wrapping the primary packaging to make it strong enough for solo delivery. It offers the convenience of easy-open tabs to enhance the consumer experience, while providing tear-resistant strength to maintain parcel integrity. Plus, it's store drop-off recyclable at thousands of locations across the U.S.
Fulfillment automation: Oversized boxes are one of the leading culprits of dimensional weight charges. Our automated cartoning systems can produce corrugate packages to fit the specific size of each shipment, and our automated mailer systems use flexible film to encase products in a ready-to-ship protective parcel.
Don’t be the next company that crumbles underneath freight costs. To avoid being surprised by your next freight bill, conduct frequent operational audits to identify opportunities to reduce costs and increase efficiency. By harnessing the power of packaging and technology, you can use smaller parcels to provide superior protection all while maintaining a consistent experience.