The great warehouse packaging problem

Have you ever ordered something and it’s arrived in a totally inappropriate parcel? It’s a common issue for consumers who order a small item online only to receive a huge box. These instances make for great articles such as this. But away from that it poses serious questions about the inner workings of the warehouses responsible.

Getting packaging wrong can lose your business valuable time, money and customers. So, it’s worth considering how you package your items as it can impact everything from the environment to your reputation.

Then you have the added problem that it could cause a problem with your customers, who have to to dispose of a large box that could see your company and warehouse operations receive a negative review.

Amazon has begun to take steps to address this problem with their new Box on Demand system. It aims to produce a custom box for each item, without any downtime, as the boxes are produced while the products come from the warehouse.

Wrapping

With companies sending out all this excessive packaging, it probably comes as no surprise that the average UK householder throws away an estimated 400g of packaging every day.

The one size fits all approach to packaging is outdated and has outstayed its welcome for many consumers. There should no longer be a one size fits all solution, and companies who continue to adopt a one size fits all approach for items of vastly different sizes are doomed to fail.

Plastics

Plastic is a favourite of the warehouse, it is lightweight and strong, making it a staple of many warehouse operations. However, more than half of all goods in Europe are packaged in plastic. The downside of this is that 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year. By 2050, it’s predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. So, it may be worth bearing that in mind when you are considering how to package products.

The future

Companies are all too aware of the problems surrounding packaging and the environment. As more and more of us turn to shopping online this will only result in more and more packaging to dispose of so it’s only right that companies are already looking at new and innovative ways to deal with packaging.

For example, Ikea have been working on mushroom-based packaging as an eco-friendly replacement for polystyrene with the fungus based packaging much easier to recycle. The fungi packaging, known as mycelium, is part of a fungus that grows in a mass of branched fibres, attaching to the soil or whatever it happens to be growing on. The packaging was developed by US company, Evocative, who let the mycelium grow around clean agricultural waste.

Conclusion

With online e-commerce competition increasing as more and more consumers buy online it’s important that companies can provide a good service end-to-end for consumers. Those who are able to get items to customers quickly without the wasteful packaging will likely gain favour with consumers. The potential of eco-friendly packaging could also become a differentiator for companies in the future, if the advancements shown by the likes of Evocative prove to be viable for the warehouse.