Packaging is often one of the biggest expenses for companies in all types of verticals. Controlling costs while still getting the quality, service, and product guarantees that your company relies on is a common theme across all organizations.
Not only does packaging waste hurt your bottom line, but the waste often becomes waste in the environment as well. The ongoing conversation about sustainability is a topic that companies and consumers are invested in. Packaging waste is a big turn off for consumers and for good reason. We have a responsibility to our planet, and controlling waste is part of that responsibility.
Here are the top 4 ways that companies waste money on packaging and our pro-tips for what you can do to get ahead of the waste. We’ll take a look at ways that companies waste product, as well as time, energy, transportation costs, and other resources.
One: Ineffective packaging products
There are countless options when it comes to what type of packaging is available for your products. When it comes to the outer packaging, waste often comes into play when damage occurs. This creates waste with regard to the product itself being damaged, as well as the wasted packaging. To take it a step further, the cost to transport the goods back to the distributor and facilitate the return process creates even more waste in time and customer services resources.
By selecting the right packaging from the start, damage can be avoided. Sometimes these products cost more, but the long-term savings on waste make up for spending more on quality product.
Many companies are moving away from the traditional cardboard boxes to opt for more efficient packaging solutions like envelopes and mailers. Envelopes and other types of mailers have a broad range of applications for many types of products. They are also more efficient to ship.
Another way that companies waste on packaging products is with dunnage, or void fill. Whether it’s wasting money by choosing the wrong type of void fill, or overstuffing the box, if void fill is not chosen correctly, waste can occur. Waste can also occur if the void fill is not protective enough, again leading to waste from damage.
Two: Equipment failures and lack of equipment service
Packaging equipment is designed to make distribution centers more efficient. It helps to keep output high and warehouses running at optimal speeds. Machinery has the ability to produce what humans can’t, and it can often make a distribution center safer for workers. Unfortunately, if equipment is not managed properly – you guessed it – waste can occur.
Machines and equipment are built to last many years and even decades. But wear and tear is normal. It is critical to have regular maintenance on all equipment to make sure things are running properly.
A few signs that indicate your machinery is in need of service or replacement include increased downtime, aging equipment, reduction in speed, and production changes.
Another way companies waste money is by using the wrong products with their machinery. Every machine has specific product requirements – when these requirements are not met, inefficiencies occur.
Three: Time Wasted in Distribution Centers
Inefficiencies in your supply chain that cause time delays or unnecessary complications create significant waste in time and materials.
Is your distribution center layout designed for efficiency for your workers? For instance, if two products are commonly packaged together, they should be stored near each other. From Logiwa: “Rather than a dispersed, decentralized process, your facility will reduce labor costs by minimizing unnecessary movement and accomplish more by speeding up the packaging process.”
Another way time is wasted is through stock replenishment deficiencies. Purchasing departments often waste time guessing what to order or waiting for products to be out of stock to order when stock is not managed correctly. Companies that use up-to-date systems for tracking stock levels and “purchasing velocity” are able to waste less time and order more efficiently.
Time is also wasted by manual processes that could be easily transitioned to semi-automated processes. One example is labeling. This is a mundane and tedious process that costs time and creates worker safety concerns. At Hughes, we offer a full line of semi-automated packaging equipment for labeling, tape dispensing, case sealing, palletizing, shrink and stretch wrapping, and more.
Four: Improper Use of Mixed Packaging
When it comes to packaging products, we can combat waste by recycling. It is important to make sure your end user knows what materials can be recycled and how to recycle them. People often avoid recycling simply because they don’t know if an item is recyclable.
One thing that complicates recycling is mixed packaging. For example, if a paper label is on a plastic bottle, the two materials have to be separated before they can be recycled. For this specific example, many companies have transitioned to digital printing instead of labels to avoid the mixed use of materials.
If there is no choice and the materials have to be packaged together, it’s important to make sure the “breakaway” – or separation of the materials – is easy and possible.
How can you reduce waste in your packaging line?
The natural questions to ask next are: (1) How much unnecessary waste does your packaging line have, (2) What impact does this have on your customer, the environment, and your bottom line, and (3) What can you do about it?
Stop wasting on packaging today! Contact a Hughes packaging consultant to discuss your packaging line and find out how to reduce waste.