As we wave goodbye to 2021, a new year lies ahead of us like a blank canvas just waiting to be filled with fresh starts and new year’s resolutions. We think January is a great time to take stock and think how we can do things differently.
So, how was 2021 for your business? Did seasonal demand in Q4 push you to breaking point? On reflection, do you think there’s anything you could improve? Reviewing your packaging and packing operation now is a great way to cut costs and improve supply chain efficiently for the rest of the year.
To help you, we’ve posed some questions that can help you make the most of your operation this year…
1. Is your warehouse floor plan optimised?
Many warehouse layouts grow organically with racking, packing stations and automation added as your business evolves over time. Additions over time might have helped you cope – but could your layout be improved? Reviewing your warehouse space can help you identify if it suits your needs and can cope with your plans for future growth.
Optimising your warehouse space so it’ has well-designed storage and an ergonomic picking area can help you:
- Improve workflow and efficiency
- Release storage space
- Minimise warehouse overheads like additional rent
So, during 2022 you may want to consult with packaging and fulfilment design experts, who can recommend the ideal warehouse layout for your business. Depending on complexity, the average installation time for a new pick and pack area is just one week. Your new, optimised warehouse space could be up and running before the end of Q1!
2. Could you speed up your pack times through packaging automation?
Did you find dispatching parcels was a challenge during spikes in demand last year? The packaging you use can have a dramatic impact on your packing times.
Rethinking your packaging processes can shave valuable seconds – or even minutes – off your packing time. A great solution is packaging automation. It has many advantages, like:
- Increasing your productivity
- Reducing waste, as the right amount of packaging is used every time
- Lowering costs and improving your impact on the environment
Packaging automation can also minimise the amount of operator touches per pack, which is particularly poignant in a challenging labour market.
There are many levels of packaging automation – from small solutions like tape dispensers and semi-automated strapping machines, right through to box erectors, stretch wrap machines and full-on autoboxing and bagging machines. So, whether you’re a small business or a large one, there’s an automated packaging system to suit you. We always recommend businesses install automation solutions by April, as it allows for testing and training before peak rolls around again!
3. Have you thought about how packaging impacts your transport and sustainability?
In 2022 we will all be tasked with reducing our impact on the environment. Reducing your carbon footprint is important and it is often the cornerstone many businesses’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies. So, the race is on to make better use of transport resources. This will include finding greener vehicles, implementing route planning software to minimise fuel use, and making optimum use of transport space.
Packaging is a great place to start your sustainability journey… Poorly designed packaging that’s too big takes up more space, weighs more and uses extra material – not great for the environment or your costs. In contrast, switching to sustainable packaging that has been optimised so it fits your products perfectly can help you:
- Reduce carbon emissions
- Create less waste and use less material
- Use less fuel and lower transport costs
So, whether you are shipping parcels or pallets, a review of your packaging in 2022 can offer improvements in pallet yield and/or vehicle capacity, as well as improve your sustainability!
4. Could you make life easier by reviewing how you purchase and manage your packaging?
From product ordering to stock takes to reporting, managing multiple suppliers can be challenging, especially if you have hundreds of SKUs. Added to this, some businesses are experiencing high staff turnover too, making business continuity difficult.
This year you could consider consolidating to just one full-service packaging supplier who can support you across all your product lines. Single-source supply can help you:
- Reduce admin and save time
- Consolidates deliveries and reduce warehouse handling
- Improve cashflow
For example, at Macfarlane Packaging we offer complete packaging order management through our Simplicit.e e-trading system. Simplicit.e allows us to group the products you buy into baskets to suit your business, integrate it with your software so that you only need to raise the purchase order once, and even provide a full reporting suite for you to access anytime, anywhere.
The team at Macfarlane Packaging are working with customers to make the most of their packaging and packing operations every day. If you are reviewing how your business can work smarter in 2022, ask us how we can help.