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Shipping Boxes Wholesale Blog

Saving Money in Freight

Posted August 20, 2013

Packaging Shipping Supplies

There are many ways to ‘skin a cat’, and most often the obvious method is chosen, but alternatives may have the better result.
Void-fill choices are abundant, including loose-fill, crumpled paper, bubble wrap, foam-in-place, etc.
One of my favorite stories is that of a long-time user of hand-crumpled kraft paper, and the savings that occurred by increasing their material cost.
Sharp Electronics in Romeoville, IL was using ‘end rolls’ of colored kraft paper.  Based on a cost per pound of materials, this was ‘cheap’ by any standard.  I was invited to evaluate the packaging area of their parts/warranty department, make suggestions and ultimately implement change to save the company money.  Their initial goal was to reduce material costs, so when I approached the subject of replacing the kraft paper, I was met with resistance.
This department of Sharp was shipping approximately 1,000 cartons per day, with over 70% of those shipping ‘expedited’ due to their warranty status.  The kraft paper material was ‘cheap’, but it was both slow and heavy.  A cost analysis comparing ‘in the box’ costs of kraft paper vs. Sealed Air Inflatable Air Bags showed similar material expense, but a substantial drop in weight per package.
Conpac Group implemented a couple of changes:
  1. Have all packers place their orders on an accumulation conveyor prior to adding top void-fill.
  2. Implement an in-line 3M77R Semi-Automatic Random case sealer prior to the manifest.
  3. Install a Sealed Air Air Bag solution for in-line void-filling just prior to the case sealer.
The end-result was improved efficiency, saving substantial labor.  Centralized void-fill and case sealing, improved product protection and case weight reduction.
Annualized savings were OVER $ 100,000.00, and the system remains in place years after installation.