small business growth packaging

Level up your packing by scaling up your small business packaging operation

It can exciting but overwhelming when your small business starts to grow.  How can you keep up with the increase in demand and the change of pace?

To try and make business growth manageable, it’s worth focusing on areas where your business might be stretched and seeing what solutions you need to put in place to help support your growth.

For example, if your small business is developing faster than expected and you’re struggling to manage your packaging situation. In that case, you should consider talking directly to a packaging supplier like us.

That’s why, this month’s edition of Packaging 101 will focus on how you can scale up your packing operation through packaging optimisation. We’ll look at why optimisjng your packaging supplies and processes is important AND how you can look to level up your packing to cope with growth…

Blog Contents

small business packaging optimisation

Why optimising your packaging is important for small businesses

Productivity is the backbone of any efficient operation, so scaling up your packaging operation requires a deeper exploration into optimising your business. If your packing operations are optimised, it will allow you to:

  • Save time (time is money)
  • Future proof for further growth
  • Helps control costs
  • Help business reduce packaging waste
small business packaging

How you can level up your packing by scaling your small business packaging

So, now we know why it’s important to optimise your packaging, you can think about how you can scale up your packaging processes and materials to cope with growth.

Out team have put together these tips for you to consider…  

1. Optimise your storage with space saving equipment and packaging materials

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as your small business grows is storage space. If you started off at home, storing your products and packing materials could become more difficult the more you grow!

Creating more space for storage could mean relocating to a bigger office space or optimising your current space – it all depends on your business.

Moving location is a big step, so consider your existing packing area. Could you free up space by organising it more effectively?  

You could utilise floor space more effectively by introducing shelving or modular pick bins that fit the space. If you have the room, you should also think about investing in a few packing benches now. They can help you organise packing materials and will also support your growth as demand for your product increases.  This way you can pack more efficiently than on a make-shift workbench. Most packing benches can be customised and don’t have to break the bank.

It’s also worth reviewing the actual packing materials you use if you want to save space. For example, if you’re using bulky protective packaging like packing peanuts or bubble wrap, you could swap to ‘on-demand’ supplies, like Airsac.

Airsac is stored flat and only inflated when you need it. It provides high levels of protection and minimises the amount of space taken up in storage before use. You could also opt for a paper filler system as a space-saving option. A compact block of paper can fill as much void as six packs of packing peanuts – it’s smaller and easier to store.

2. Enhance your packing processes and team comfort to increase productivity

You’ve probably heard the phrase “time is money”! This is especially relevant when you need to cope with an increase in orders. The more quickly you can pick, pack and dispatch product, the more effective your operation.

So, how can you make your processes more efficient? Well, you need to think about where you usually loose time – are your packaging materials hard to assemble? Is product difficult to find? Are your team unsure of the best way to pack a parcel?

It’s also worth thinking about how comfortable your team are. It can be harder for your staff to pack effectively if they’re tired or having to twist a lot. Making sure they have a comfortable working environment is key. For example, did you know that packing items between hip and shoulder height is the “power zone”? Any higher or lower than this and it can create fatigue!  

Here’s a few easy ways to optimise your packing process and keep your team as productive as possible:

  • Anti-fatigue Mats – these mats ensure the comfort of your workers when they are standing for long periods, helping reduce strain on legs and feet!
  • Train your team – creating posters or holding workshops about the best way to pack is a great way to increase productivity. It can also help you control material use, reduce waste and lower damages – as everyone knows how pack the product!
  • Have packaging materials close by – this eliminates down time.  There’s need to search for cardboard boxes, find scissors, locate the tape dispenser or a box cutter.

Long-term, you may need to invest in new staff as you grow. Optimising your packing processes now can help you manage your labour costs for your growth plan, as well as future-proof against seasonal spikes in demand. 

(If you want to learn more about how small businesses can create an efficient packing process, read this blog.)

3. Consider packaging automation for long-term success  

Packaging automation is often an investment for small businesses, but you’ll soon see its benefit. You can automate the whole packing process, but there are small-scale solutions that you can install quickly, easily and without excess expenditure.

  • Automatic packing tape dispensers – cardboard box assembly and manual taping can take up to 60% of the overall packing time. Using a gummed paper tape machine can dramatically reduce this time, freeing your operators to complete other tasks or manage more packs per hour. You can dispense the right amount of tape every time and the machines fit easily into small workspaces. 
  • Paper void fill dispensers – Be mindful when exploring the best option for your business, as some machines are only suitable for large scale automation. But there are still great options out there for you that will fill packs automatically. If you are interested, please contact us and we can work together to find the best option for your operation.
how macfarlane packaging can help small businesses grow

Support scaling up your packing processes

If you want to learn how we have helped other growing businesses, we have a great podcast with James & James and We are TALA; it provides great insight into packaging and sustainability that you might want to consider.

We have 73 years of expertise and can help facilitate your packaging development – for what best suits you; optimising what you have, whether space, time, or materials, is essential. You will have lots to manage, so let us offer a helping hand and support your business however we can.

At Macfarlane Packaging, we can grow with your business. We can be with you on your journey from your first office space to your first location in Europe. Every day we work with companies to ensure they have optimised packaging solutions that help them create efficient packing processes. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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