Expertise Meets Technology

A truly collaborative relationship built on a shared passion for sustainability and innovation, resulting in an efficient and scalable automated packaging solution that stands the test of time.
Average corrugated usage reduced by more than 20%
Enabled automation and multi-packaging solutions
Improved customer satisfaction
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The Challenge: 

Improve Customer Experience by Reducing Packaging Waste

In 2012, Staples decided it was time to take a close look at how they could improve the sustainability of their packaging. At the time, Staples realized that customers weren’t satisfied receiving their items in oversized, wasteful packaging. However, with limited size availability for stock boxes, Staples needed a more custom solution to provide right-sized packaging with every order. That’s when they turned to Packsize -- but what evolved was even more than they had imagined.

We all need to play our part in having a sustainable future. Packsize’s technology enables organizations to have the right-sized box every time, which helps lower the carbon footprint. It is highly efficient and versatile, enabling constant technological evolution. These aspects really help every organization stay ahead of the curve and build a sustainable future.
Cristina Gonzalez
Chief Legal Officer and Sustainability Officer

The Solution:

A Scalable, Evolving, Multi-Packaging Solution

A photo of a group of Packsize X4 packaging machines at Staples
A group of Packsize X4 packaging machines at Staples

The initial solution Packsize installed for Staples was the EM7® packaging system. This is the gold standard for On Demand Packaging®, offering maximum flexibility, both for right-sizing and protection of products. With the ability to create almost any box design, the EM7 immediately allowed Staples to begin right-sizing boxes for each and every order that came through their Warehouse Management System (WMS).

However, after years of partnership between Staples and Packsize, their business grew, and so did their packaging needs. This eventually led them to transition to the Packsize X4®. The X4 combines four automated functions into one packaging machine. It also has the smallest footprint of Packsize’s fully automated product line, meaning it can cut, crease, glue, and label right-sized boxes fast and efficiently while taking up minimal warehouse space. Today, Packsize’s multi-packaging solutions have been deployed at all 22 of Staples’ fulfillment centers.

“Over the years, Packsize engineering, along with inputs from the Staples team, have really helped us further cut down the use of corrugated… this helps us to be faster, more efficient, and actually get even more orders on time for next-day delivery,” Gonzalez said.

According to Packsize Enterprise Account Manager Matt Hash, the Packsize solution at Staples can only continue to improve and grow with them.

“The Packsize solution is extremely scalable when it comes to the Staples Network and for all of our customers,” Hash said. “We have the ability to grow with our customers… and that will ultimately allow them to continue producing more right-sized boxes to meet their [increasing] demand.”

Staples’ Automated, Box-First, Right-Sized Packaging Process Flow

When a Staples order is placed online by a customer, the order immediately enters their WMS system, which determines what box size is needed for the order. The order then goes through an algorithm that determines how quickly it will need to be processed based on the distance of the final destination from the distribution center.

“At Staples, when an order comes in, up to about three o'clock in the afternoon, we aim to ship it out and get it to the customer the very next day,” Gonzalez said. “That requires a high level of precision in our warehouses, and it requires a very precise cycle time for some of the orders. The software we developed with Packsize allows us to prioritize the orders as they come in. We look at the orders that need to get out the door quickest that night, and the software that we've jointly developed has a very unique algorithm that prioritizes these orders and gets them out the door quickly for our customers.”

The orders that need to be processed the fastest immediately get sent to the Packsize X4 packaging machines, which produces a right-sized box for the order, complete with label, in seconds. Those boxes are placed on carts, automatically moving throughout the warehouse, where the correct products are packed inside. Once packed, the boxes head down to the shipping department, where they receive a quality check, a packing slip is inserted, and they are sealed and sent to the shipping dock. Finally, the orders are sent out and make their way to their final destinations.

A number of right-sized boxes on a conveyor at Staples

A True Partnership

A photo of Packsize and Staples employees working together for a more sustainable future.
A photo of Packsize and Staples' employees working together for a more sustainable future

While Staples’ initial goal was to reduce waste and improve their customer experience, they also experienced many additional benefits while working with Packsize. One of the biggest surprises? A truly collaborative relationship that led to growth on both sides.

Rod Gallaway, now CEO of Packsize, was the Senior VP of Logistics and Operations at Staples at the time the Packsize partnership began.

“I think many companies talk about partnerships, but the partnership that Staples and Packsize formed is really unique and special for both companies,” Gallaway said. “[Packsize], from the very beginning, had a developmental partnership where we were bringing ideas, we were trying to solve their problems – but, as a new development for us in many cases, they were willing to help us make it a real product. And because of that, it enabled Packsize to go further into the e-commerce market.”

Packsize partnered with Staples to create a multi-packaging solution that helped reach beyond their sustainability goals, reducing corrugated by more than 20%,cutting void fill by 70%, and reducing overall box size by 40%.

“At Staples, we are experts in our customers’ world of work, and increasingly our customers were telling us they wanted more sustainable packaging solutions, so we made it a priority to find innovative ways deliver that experience,” Gonzalez said. “As a company, we take sustainability very seriously. We brought [Packsize] on board to reduce excess waste that can be associated with shipping out a lot of corrugate. If every box is just half an inch or an inch or two inches wider than it needs to be, you can actually see how that adds up. The Packsize solutions help us reduce a lot of waste going back into the environment. So, I think all of those things have really contributed to our sustainability approach here at Staples.”

In return, Staples, over the last 10+ years, has provided invaluable feedback to Packsize that resulted in growth and technological improvements.

“We value the feedback that we've received from Staples that's allowed Packsize to evolve and grow over the years, and we understand that our solutions to all of our customers have been able to improve in some capacity because of the feedback that we've received from Staples,” Hash said.

Unexpected Benefits

Outside of incredible partnership, Staples has also benefited in other ways from their multi-packaging solution. Operational efficiency improved, decreasing packaging cycle time and improving overall productivity and performance. Employee satisfaction increased due to a more streamlined, ergonomic, and automated packaging workflow. And perhaps one of the most surprising benefits was a reduction in product damage.  

Staples,like many Packsize customers, also experienced a reduction in waste, dunnage,and air pollution, due to fewer trucks on the road. When boxes are right-sized,there’s much less wasted material – and purchasing corrugated z-Fold® is more affordable than purchasing oversized stock boxes. Smaller packages also take up less space on trucks, meaning more packages can go out in a single shipment.

“By using right-sized packaging for our products, not only are we preventing waste, but we’re also reducing our overall environmental footprint, and that’s as important to Staples as it is to our customers,” Gonzalez said.

Onward and Upward

With sustainability at the forefront of Staples’ and its customers’ minds, both Staples and Packsize continue to work together to find better solutions for the future. Staples has long-term sustainability goals that include reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 35% and reducing waste by 90% by 2028.

“Staples has set ambitious Sustainability goals, and we’re committed to achieving them,”Gonzalez said. “We're going after electric vehicles. We're going after more efficient LED lighting in our warehouses. We're going after more renewable energy resources to power our warehouses and then, of course, we use Packsize technology to help us meet those goals,” Gonzalez said.

Staples plans to continue innovating and working with Packsize for both the futurehealth of the planet and future success of their business.

“We are already working with Packsize on a lot of new ideas,” Gonzalez said. “Our business is constantly changing, our customers are looking for new things, andas we look to the future, we will continue to combine our insights and expertise with the latest technology to innovate the right solutions for our customers.”

Gallaway underscored how the relationship continues to benefit Staples’ customers and the environment.

“Their business is evolving, customers are evolving, and there's no question in my mind that e-commerce will continue to grow. With that, customers change expectations, companies change expectations, and the more we learn and innovate together, the more solutions that we'll drive in the future.”

Staples box comprison. Before and after Packsize.
An example of a typical Staples shipping pallet before (and after) Packsize optimization.

About Packsize

Packsize is the leader in right-sized, sustainable, automated packaging solutions. They are revolutionizing the packaging industry by developing innovative technologies that enhance product protection, reduce environmental impact, and drive operational efficiency. As a partner and trusted advisor,Packsize unlocks hidden potential in its customers’ supply chain and creates custom process flows that consider every step – from the warehouse floor to the customer’s hands.

In addition to a reduction in waste and increased sustainability, Packsize customers also benefit from increased throughput, lower shipping and DIM weight costs, packaging material savings, and a reduction in warehouse labor. Packsize tailors solutions to each client, so you receive a scalable, streamlined, and cost-efficient packaging process flow that benefits you, your customers, andthe planet.

Learn more about how you can partner with Packsize on your own multi-packaging solution by talking with one of our packaging experts today.


About Staples

For over 35 years, Staples has been a leader in workspace products and solutions and has thousands of experts dedicated to applying their intuition, expertise, and experience to bring out the best that technology such as Automation and AI has to offer. These experts make work easier, smarter, and more efficient for businesses of all sizes. The company operates in North America through eCommerce and direct sales and is headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts. More information about Staples is available at