February 28, 2024

The exponential growth in e-commerce demand, coupled with a shrinking labor supply and an escalating focus on sustainability, has triggered a significant revolution within the packaging industry. This includes the adoption and implementation of packaging automation. For some, automation is completely new and untested waters, while for others it's a natural evolution. Regardless of an organization's readiness for automation, leaders are beginning to pose questions about the following:

  • How to uphold uncompromised quality:
    When throughput increases and the stresses of order fulfillment are at their peak, how do operations ramp in such a way as to ensure orders are packed efficiently, economically, and in a way that provides protection to the products inside? Poor packaging often results in high shipping costs, excessive prep material, and poor customer satisfaction as damaged boxes arrive. All of these things impact the company’s profits and reputation. 
  • How to deliver an exceptional unboxing experience:
    The unboxing experience is an extension of a company’s brand and is a key touch point with consumers. Operations and marketing leaders are increasingly concerned about how their customers receive their products and what their experience is as they open them. Damaged and lost packages, excessive void fillers or hard-to-open packaging degrade this experience.  
  • How to scale in a sustainable way:
    When footprint and labor force is limited, how do operations scale in a way that is both economical and sustainable for the environment? This difficult question is compounded as customers maintain inventories of several box sizes and manage temporary labor. This is not to mention the demand influx during peak seasons when one of the most difficult tasks is simply getting product shipped out the door in a timely manner.  

For over two decades, Packsize has been at the forefront of this transformative journey, partnering with leaders across the spectrum of business sizes. From small and medium-sized enterprises to world-renowned Fortune 500 companies, Packsize has played a pivotal role in revolutionizing packaging solutions. With a commitment to empowering its diverse customer base to scale efficiently, Packsize offers a comprehensive suite of packaging solutions. At the core of Packsize’s mission lies an unwavering focus on providing a superior right-sized box through On Demand Packaging automation. This includes prioritizing right-sized on demand capabilities that minimize the use of corrugated materials, while including features that thrill end users and elevate a company’s brand.  

What Makes For A Superior Box Design?

A stack of right-sized boxes of various shapes.

What makes a box so important and how does the box enable scaling in such a way that is both sustainable and yet ensures optimal end-user satisfaction? While the protection of goods during transportation remains a paramount concern for operations managers, finance leaders are equally attentive to the overall cost implications associated with packaging. Given the substantial volume of parcels processed annually, cost-effectiveness becomes a critical consideration. In response to these challenges, Packsize engineered machines capable of producing on demand right-sized boxes, ensuring optimal protection for products during transit.

Emphasizing efficiency in corrugate usage, the result is a box design that not only provides superior protection but also consumes, on average, up to thirty to forty percent less corrugated material compared to leading competitors in the right-sized packaging world. These strategic machines and box designs underscore Packsize's commitment to meeting customer needs while optimizing both product safety and cost efficiency.

Why Are Corrugate Consumption And Trim Rate Important?

As orders are processed within On Demand Packaging machines, the crucial stage of corrugated paper selection unfolds, directly impacting the reduction of companies' direct costs.  Packsize recommends and employs a versatile approach, offering multiple tracks with varying widths of corrugated paper that the packaging machines can dynamically choose from. This corrugated paper is called z-Fold® and comes in continuous stacks.

Prior to implementation, it's crucial to analyze order data to optimize available z-Fold widths. This should be tailored to a company’s specific product mix. This strategic alignment ensures that only the most pertinent widths of z-Fold are stocked at the customer's facility. This process eliminates the need to stock most, if not all, stock corrugated boxes and minimizes inventory space requirements. Once the product dimensions are determined, the system dynamically selects the most optimal z-Fold width to minimize trim waste and overall material usage. This meticulous selection process happens automatically behind the scenes, but is a crucial step at reducing a company’s waste from the very beginning of the automation process.

A Positive Unboxing Experience Is Crucial

Increasingly, customers are ordering products online, having them delivered directly to their doorstep. This increases the importance of the box opening experience customers have.  From the moment they receive the package until they have fully unboxed their products, the brand is being experienced. Damaged and oversized boxes, use of plastics, excessive void fillers, and difficult-to open boxes all negatively impact this experience. This is where right-sized, on demand packaging solutions excel, enabling operations managers to drastically increase throughput while automatically controlling not only product protection, but also the end customer’s experience. This is achieved automatically through right-sized cubing technology and integrated box features such as custom-printed boxes, tear strips, and easy-reclosing strips.

  • Right-Sized Fit:
    “Right-sizing” a box is the process of producing a box on demand that is perfectly fit for the product going in the box. This results in minimizing, or in many cases eliminating, empty space and the void fillers that go in them, drastically reducing packaging and shipping costs. Depending on process flows and product mixes, several ways exist to determine how to make a box to the perfect fit. This includes the use of cubing technology for multi-item orders, the leveraging of product master data, or auto-dimensioning of products in real time through a dimensioning tunnel. The result is an optimized, right-sized box for each and every single order. With On Demand Packaging solutions, this process occurs automatically and at scale.
  • Custom Branded z-Fold:
    Z-Fold is available in not only brown or white, but also in custom-printed formats. This enables brand managers to further impact the unboxing experience and brand recognition by printing on either the inside or outside of the box. This process occurs upstream at the corrugated manufacturing facility, where a customer's unique design is printed in repeat patterns across the corrugated paper.  
  • Tear Strip:
    Hot glue and tape are commonly used to construct and seal packages, resulting in very secure seals. However, this can also be difficult for some customers to open, which can impact the unboxing experience. To remedy this, the use of tear strips are recommended for ease of access. Instead of using plastic liners for the tear strip, the perforations are added directly to the corrugate at the time of box creation. This allows end-customers to easily open the box, while simultaneously ensuring the box remains 100% curbside recyclable.
  • Easy Close Adhesive Strip:
    In e-commerce industries such as apparel, order returns can rise well above 20-30%.  For these end-customers returning orders, the ability to easily reuse the box the product was shipped in is a simple but impactful convenience. A benefit of Right-Sized Packaging On Demand is that an optional paper-backed adhesive strip may be applied automatically at the time of box creation. This enables end customers to simply remove the paper liner from the adhesive strip and reclose the box. This removes the need for end customers to find a new box or shipping tape appropriate to close the box for return shipments. This is another powerful way businesses can improve their customer’s experience. 

Sustainability Is More Important Than Ever

Right-Sized Packaging On Demand solutions provide operations managers with a reliable and sustainable solution to right-sizing their order fulfillment automatically. This focus on sustainability results in minimized corrugated consumption and the elimination of plastic tape and void fillers. Additionally, because every box is right sized around the product, the average package size is reduced by up to forty percent, which also results in a drastically reduced damage rate. Additionally, smaller box size results in more efficiently packed trailers and up to twenty percent fewer trucks on the road.

The environmental savings of this process are obvious, but so are the economic savings. By reducing the use of consumables and shipping costs, companies are typically able to see positive returns on their investment within just one to two years of deploying on demand packaging automation. This is why operation and financial leaders around the world are embracing right-sized on demand packaging to sustainably scale and meet their ESG and financial goals. 

Scaling Fulfillment Operations With The X7®

One of Packsize's flagship products in the e-commerce fulfillment sector is the X7, a fully automated packaging solution. Capable of automatically inducting, packing, and labeling up to 1,020 orders per hour, the X7 ensures that orders emerge ready for shipment without any human intervention. In essence, the X7's unique design empowers customers to scale reliably and sustainably at any size, maintaining a high standard of quality and preserving the open box experience. From automated z-Fold selection to a superior box design and customer-thrilling features, Packsize takes great pride in the comprehensive solution that the X7 brings to the e-commerce fulfillment market.

Whether your aim is meeting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals, or you’re ready to revolutionize your e-commerce operations, the Packsize team looks forward to discussing how you can enhance your unboxing experience and reliably and sustainably scale your fulfillment. Experience the difference by making the switch to sustainable right-sized on demand packaging today!

Jesse Nelson

Product Manager

Meet Jesse Nelson, a seasoned product manager at Packsize, specializing in high-automation on-demand packaging solutions. With a profound understanding of market needs and industry trends, Jesse leads cross-functional teams in crafting and executing product strategies from inception to market launch.

His unwavering focus on aligning product development with market demands fosters collaboration and innovation within the organization. Connect with Jesse and learn more about his expertise in revolutionizing the packaging industry.

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