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Automate to tackle peak season challenges

By Quadient

How can e-commerce companies successfully navigate recent extreme purchasing peaks when labour resources are reduced or unavailable, social distancing guidelines are in place, shipping prices are increasing, and demand just keeps growing?

Labour and shipping costs coupled with pressure to meet fast delivery demands has left companies striving for lower costs. Often, packaging can be the most manual and labour-intensive part of the fulfillment design. 

With expected long-term shifts in consumer behaviour, online retailers will turn to packaging automation for stability, efficiency and cost savings. By choosing an automated solution to right-size ecommerce deliveries, retailers can meet their fulfilment promises, even in the peaks, while respecting the environment, reducing transit damage, and saving money. Even operating ‘off-peak’ at well below capacity, there is a rapid return on investment in the form of material savings, shipping costs and labour resources. 

Using a right-sized box means your products will be packaged more securely and cost effectively. Custom, fit-to-size packaging machines will pack a broad range of items using one or two operators, from head phones to a vacuum cleaner, and allow for even greater shipping efficiencies. 

The CVP Automated Packaging Solutions have the fastest, most agile throughput on the market today, backed by proven customer data and a dedicated service and support team. Auto-packing will create less waste, reduce product damage, save on labour and shipping costs, and generate repeat business to save your company money while ensuring all steps of the packing process are optimized. 

For more information, click here.

Making the case for peak performance

By Jo Bradley, Business Development Manager at Packaging by Quadient – formerly Neopost

Online fulfilment is facing a new reality; one of frequent and dramatic spikes in demand and this is causing retailers significant challenges in the packing area. How can ecommerce businesses successfully hit these extreme peaks when labour resources are becoming increasingly scarce?

These peaks stress test the whole fulfilment and delivery process and nowhere is this more acutely felt than in the packing area. Constructing boxes, packing, weighing, sealing and labelling manually is a slow process, and few shippers have either the physical space or the available labour to create additional packing stations for what may be only a few days’ work. Finding a flexible labour force, available at short notice, is also becoming increasingly difficult as a result of Brexit. So, how will online retailers cope with the new reality of frequent and dramatic spikes in demand?

The case for greater use of automation in the packing area is compelling. However, simple size-constrained machines using only one-size of box does not cater for the wide variety of products and order sizes experienced by most online retailers. If demand for smaller items to be packed exceeds the capacity of the relevant machine, the shipper has no option but to move up a box size, or two, or three.

Waste not…

The consequences are not good. It is understood that 60% of ecommerce deliveries are by volume at least a quarter composed of bubble-wrap, airbags, paper void fill or just fresh air. Much of the dunnage is essentially non-recyclable, but without it the damage rate for small items slamming about in large boxes, already high, becomes unacceptable to consumers and creates an ever-bigger returns problem. It has been estimated that an ecommerce item can go through around 50 touch points, or opportunities for damage, compared with around 10 for a bricks & mortar sale. 

What can be done?

The case for a fast, efficient, economical and secure means of automating the packaging and labelling of online orders is convincing – but how can it be done? Can boxes be individually made to the exact size required for each order, secured, weighed and labelled automatically at speeds capable of efficiently and cost-effectively matching peak volumes? Effectively, could a machine flex to demand, even at volumes of up to a thousand packages an hour? The answer is yes.

Packaging by Quadient – formerly Neopost – has introduced the CVP Everest, a high velocity fit-to-size ‘auto-boxing’ system capable of tailor-making over 1100 ecommerce packages per hour.

The system scans and measures the item, or group of items, to be packed and calculates the ‘best fit’ box shape and size. Material for the box and lid is cut and creased to size, erected around the item(s) and the lid glue-sealed – which is faster and more recyclable than using tape. Parcels are weighed, labelled and away.

This approach addresses the waste problem – cardboard usage typically cut by 20%, and a tight fit eliminates the need for void fill. Total package volumes can be reduced by 50%, maximising the use of the truck or trailer cube and reducing shipping costs and environmental impacts.

More cogently for the hard-pressed fulfilment centre manager, at packing rates in excess of 1,100 per hour the latest machine can potentially replace on average up to 20 manual packing stations. And for businesses with mid-market volumes a similar machine, the CVP Impack, produces up to 500 boxes per hour and offers just about all the benefits of the CVP Everest. 

The business case is impressive. Even operating ‘off-peak’ at well below capacity there is a rapid Return On Investment in the form of material savings, lower shipping costs and labour economies – labour that could be redeployed to other tasks, such as picking. But it is at peak times that the CVP Everest and CVP Impack systems really come into their own, ramping up throughput without any corresponding increase in labour, and minimising the burden on despatch and delivery operations.

By choosing an automated solution to ‘right-size’ ecommerce deliveries, retailers can meet their fulfilment promises, even in the peaks, while respecting the environment, reducing transit damage, and saving money. 

Quadient system aims to speed up e-commerce packing

Packaging by Quadient – formerly Neopost – the automated packaging and postal solutions specialist, has launched the CVP Everest, a high velocity fit-to-size ‘auto-boxing’ system capable of tailor-making over 1,100 ecommerce packages per hour. 

Designed to help large ecommerce businesses hit peak volumes, the new super-fast machine has the potential to replace on average up to 20 packing desks, giving it a rapid ROI and making it a highly attractive solution for busy e-tailers constrained by labour resource issues. 

A key advantage of the CVP Everest is that it uses a glue-gun system to affix an individually sized lid to each tailor-made package. This allows much faster speeds for high-volume operations and far smaller package sizes than is possible with tape-sealed systems – all of which enables the new machine to cater for a far broader order profile at much higher speeds.

With a capacity to tailor-make 1,100 packages per hour for multiple or single order items, Packaging by Quadient fit-to-size automated solution is ideal for e-commerce operations faced with increasing order volumes and labour shortages. The CVP Everest effortlessly measures, constructs, seals, weighs and labels each parcel in a seamless process – reducing package volumes by up to 50%, cutting cardboard usage by 20% and eliminating the need for void fill. And, as no tape is used cardboard can be more easily recycled.

Jo Bradley, Business Development Manager for Packaging by Quadient, says: “With rates in excess of 1,100 packages per hour, the CVP Everest is a highly attractive proposition for ecommerce businesses challenged by poor labour availability, rising costs and escalating volumes of orders involving single or multiple items. This is a solution to the fulfilment nightmares of the ‘Mega Peak’ season.”

The CVP Everest has sound environmental credentials with its economical use of recyclable cardboard, minimal requirement for material through custom sizing, snug-fit around an item with no need for void-fill, cost savings through reduced volumetrics and its ability to maximise the cube of a trailer, thus reducing CO2 emissions.

The new high performance CVP Everest is currently in operation within one of France’s largest ecommerce businesses, with an excellent performance during the past peak season.

More information on Packaging by Neopost’s super-fast CVP Everest can be found at https://packagingbyneopost.com/cvp-everest-automated-packaging-solution/