In recent years, there’s been a great surge of companies pledging greater corporate responsibility and commitment to protecting the environment. A huge factor in this is the unstoppable rise of e-commerce; exciting as it may be, the revolution has come with some negatives. Last year, The Guardian reported that ‘the packaging of home-delivered products now accounts for 30% of the solid rubbish the US generates annually, and the cardboard alone costs one billion trees’.
But not only is ineffective packaging detrimental to the planet, it’s also damaging to organisations who are trying to sell their goods in the most efficient and profitable way possible. How can you tell if you have inefficient packaging, and what is its impact on your business?
Focus on sustainability
No company ever designs their packaging to waste money, or to deliberately harm the environment. But both are unavoidable with poor packaging. It’s been estimated that the average e-commerce box is 40% too large for its contents. If this excess volume were eradicated, it would save 8 billion litres of diesel in the US alone, since the number of truckloads transporting products would be slashed. That would prevent 17 billion kilogrammes of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere.
A key focus right now is on sustainable packaging. Customer experience expert Blake Morgan wrote in Forbes:
‘Sustainable packaging has a huge impact on the environment and customers. E-commerce companies have a responsibility to take care of the environment. They need to be accountable for the repercussions of their mass experiences. Sustainability is an issue that all customers and brands should get behind.’
A critical aspect of sustainability is eliminating wastage. Organisations need to know if their packaging is wasteful, so what are the telltale signs?
Packaging that just gets in the way
Look out for excessive space at the top of the trailer, crate, pallet, or an individual box. When individual items are overpackaged, the excess builds up and is most clearly visible when a shipment is put together.
Be wary also of packaging that is outside of industry norms. Many companies write off those many extra layers of pallet wrap or excess foam as security, but is it really necessary? The contents may appear safe but the additional materials may do little in the way of actual protection – at least not enough to justify their cost. Try to find out if your competitors are investing as much in their packaging, or whether they are doing things in a smarter way.
Another issue with excess packaging is that it can obstruct standard warehouse moving equipment. If your items are too heavy, too wide or too tall, then that has an impact on your costs. Ultimately, it will mean extra work and wasted time for your teams.
Beware of hidden costs
There are other hidden costs to inefficient packaging. Excessive packaging takes up valuable room in your warehouse. Cutting down on packaging will release space and improve your cash flow. Also, replacing damaged goods and accounting for reverse logistics can be expensive. Fit-for-purpose packaging can help minimise this, which will enhance the customer experience while cutting your costs.
Optimised packaging will help you minimise transport costs and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, well-designed solutions can help you plan your pallets and transport more effectively, which will reduce your carbon footprint even more. Finally, inefficient packaging could be costing something pivotal to the success of your business: your reputation. The customers of today are looking to investing their loyalty in brands that are seen to be taking positive, responsible action to minimise their impact on our planet.
Sprint Logistics is a global logistics solutions company with a strong commitment to the environment, having achieved ISO14001 environmental management systems accreditation. We respect the unique needs and wants of each client, which is why we provide flexible industry-leading solutions, tailored to your needs.
For more advice on how you can reduce your impact on the environment with smart and streamlined logistics, simply contact us today.