4 easy-to-implement ideas for better Christmas packing

When it comes to the festive season, it can be easy to assume that a 'low-cost, high-volume' approach to packaging is the best choice to handle increased throughput. Research and market analysis show, however, that low-quality, ill-suiting packaging can have dire consequences on businesses, with roughly 150,000 avoidable delivery journeys being made in 2020.

To manage the risks involved with packing at high volumes, there are several scalable, quick-to-adopt solutions available.

Assessment of process flow It's natural for business owners, hiring managers and operations leaders alike to err on the side of caution ahead of busy periods by drafting in more staff to handle an increased workload. But by analysing the packing processes currently in place, opportunities for improved savings and greater output can be quickly identified.

The key points to consider when it comes to boosting workflow efficiency are as follows: Pack station ergonomics Making sure your station operatives are equipped with all the means to pack with speed and consistency means setting up a logical, easy-to-navigate workstation.

Consider the time taken to access materials and dispose of waste. Are staff required to make regular journeys away from their area to complete processes and clean up? If so, implementing on-station disposal points and providing quick access to packaging essentials will reduce downtimes and enable more efficiency in the long term.

Choice of packaging Reducing avoidable staff journeys is one thing, but if your team is working with oversized, cumbersome, or hard-to-assemble packaging, cutting order fulfilment times will always be a challenge. By switching to optimised solutions such as quick-seal book wraps and returnable cartons, the number of steps needed to pack products, seal cartons and fully prep goods for delivery will be cut considerably.

Area layout Beyond ensuring individual pack stations are adequately set up for easier material access, operations managers serve to benefit by stepping back and analysing the overall layout of their warehouse operations. It's pivotal that delivery pick-up and drop-off points are clearly accessible and travel between sections is clear and simple.

But is your operation organised to make repeat journeys as short as possible? Assess your most commonly purchased products and materials. To make packing quick and free from needless delays, storing these go-to items in easily accessible warehouse locations means pickers can quickly and efficiently access the goods when replenishment is needed.

Material choice With the rollout of the Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022, businesses are keen to curb their reliance on virgin plastic and switch to more sustainable materials. This can be achieved through various methods, including increasing packaging reuse, changing to products with 30% recycled content, or going plastic-free altogether - among other ideas.

At times of increased volume, being mindful of plastic use is pivotal, since businesses incurring the tax face costs of GBP200 per tonne of plastic packaging used containing less than 30% recycled materials. Fortunately, there are a range of all-paper packaging alternatives on the market, including sustainable void-fill, strapping, mailing bags and more. The personal touch

If you're a business looking to connect with your customers, improve the unboxing experience, and leave a lasting impression over the festive season, adding packing slips and printed messages to your packaging could be the way to go. From NFC tags, augmented reality integration and QR codes to exclusive offers, the options for bolstering your brand's image and increased consumer contact time with your products are numerous. Add automation to your existing systems

Cutting down manual processes by including automation into your packing setup doesn't have to mean a sizable investment. Quick additions like automatic tape dispensers and strapping machines can greatly help to cut waste, make processes repeatable and let you better manage material use over time. But for businesses wishing to take the next step and prepare for scaling, high-performance solutions such as carton erectors, lidding machines and inline sealers can offer the speed and efficiency needed to ensure demand is met with waste-free precision and consistency over time.

For more information on sustainable, cost-effective ideas for better saving over Q4, phone Allpack on 01543 396700, visit www.allpack.uk.com or email us at [email protected] to find out how we can identify money-saving opportunities using our expert consulting services.