The ecommerce numbers keep rising and so do the challenges in the fulfillment industry. In 2021, we’ve learned resiliency. The pandemic is not over, climate change is ever present and we’ve come to realize that we can’t plan for everything. That being said, you can have a backup plan to your backup plan.
Once a previous pain point, social distancing can no longer be a challenge in the warehouse. Traditionally, however, the packaging of online orders for dispatch was a manual process, often times requiring scores of people packing parcels and processing orders placed in close proximity to one another. Fortunately, packaging technology has advanced significantly. Innovative, fully-automated packaging systems have been developed to auto-box orders in a fit-to-size box at high rates of speed. The CVP Impack packs up to 500 parcels per hour and requires only one operator while the CVP Everest packs up to 1,100 parcels per hour and uses two operators, meeting social distancing requirements.
Peak periods aren’t as predictable anymore, as retailers also face sudden surges in demand outside of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. As a result of unexpected events, weather, health, economic conditions, sports or fashion, spikes in demand occur as consumer behavior shifts. These shifts led the global parcel volume to reach 103 billion in 2019, with a prediction of parcel volume most likely to more than double and reach 220-262 billion parcels by 2026(3). With the continued parcel growth, peaks can put a strain on the whole fulfillment and delivery process, especially in the packing area.
Traditionally, to manually construct boxes, pack goods, insert void fill, label the parcel and then send it to the shipping department, it can be a very slow and redundant process. Now with the pandemic, companies are focused on their employees’ health and safety, adhering to strict social distancing precautions. Few shippers have either the physical space or the available labor to create additional packing stations for what may be only a few days, weeks or months of work. Shippers must be prepared to cope with the new reality of frequent and dramatic spikes in consumer demand.
Through automated solutions, packaging online orders is now fast, efficient and extremely economical. The CVP Impack and CVP Everest can grow and scale with operations packing while alleviating peak season challenges. These solutions give retailers the ability to minimize ease labor concerns with scalable automation, keeping employees safe and eliminate the need to hire seasonal laborers and upskill existing staff.
3. Green Advocacy
With global awareness increasing more than ever in 2020, many companies and customers demand sustainable practices when it comes to packaging. In fact, 55 percent of global online consumers say they’re willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint(4).
Automated packaging solutions are designed to use less packing and corrugate materials. Shippers can create custom-fit right-sized parcels to eliminate larger-than-required packages and void fill materials. By warehouses using automated packaging solutions, they can save an average of 29 percent on corrugate and an average of 38 percent less on material costs. Additionally, with right-sized packaging, it leads businesses to save on transport costs and CO2 emissions. In other words, you don’t have to plant a forest to let your customers know you care. One of the simplest and best things companies can do is use less materials and boxes that are 100 percent recyclable.
4. CX Strategy
With an increase of online shopping, there are fewer opportunities to connect and engage with customers in person, at a time when shoppers want more interaction with you. As we know, first impressions are crucial. This also applies when customers unbox their order, since packaging is the most outward testament to a brand and its commitment to sustainability. Many customers are becoming more environmentally conscious, putting pressure on companies to do the same. With automated packaging technology, it requires no void fill, can quickly get the package out the door, is easy to reuse or recycle and the corrugate used can be easily branded with any company’s logo, making it unique to them. When opening their package, customers will notice that their order is on-time, the perfect size and has been customized specifically for them, resulting in an overall positive customer experience.