When your business ships several million packages each year, your time and money are precious. A New Jersey-based e-commerce company came to us wanting a solution for more efficient packaging of items they sell through catalogs, infomercials and online sales.
As an e-commerce company selling a variety of “as seen on TV” products, a few shipping challenges needed addressed. The main challenge was the wide variety of shapes and sizes of products. The original process of packaging them included picking an item and manually placing it and the packing list into a bag which was then placed inside a bubble mailer.
Changing the shipping process was a daunting task for the e-commerce company for two reasons. The first being the capital it would take. There was a lot of risk in spending money up front to create a more automated process. The other reason was the apprehension to change the entire process without knowing for sure that it would help.
Yet the client eventually decided to invest in an automated packing process. And their business changed in incredible ways.
In working with this e-commerce company, we knew we needed to find them an efficient solution that could help them get 12 million bags ready to ship. We installed a Sealed Air FloWrap automated packaging system to improve their process.
With this system, an operator picks the product to be shipped from bins in the warehouse. They place it with the packing list onto the conveyor, which is loaded with film. The FloWrap scans the bar code on the packing list, then the machine wraps film over and around the product, seals the three open sides, and cuts the film. Finally, a mailing label is automatically attached, and the packaged product is sent down the conveyor to be sorted and shipped.
The FloWrap was originally created for the garment industry to pack and ship clothes. Our e-commerce client was the first company to use it for products that greatly varied in size and shape. We did a lot of testing on it with many of their products to assess how the FloWrap would fare in their warehouse. So, how did it help them in the end?
After putting the new automated packaging process in place, this e-commerce company was able to nearly triple their throughput. The machine produces packages at up to 30 bags per minute. Since they were no longer manually bagging the majority of their products, they also reduced man-hours in the process. It’s important to note that instead of the machine eliminating the need for those people, they were able to move employees to other parts of the warehouse in which they were needed.
Because the film used in the FloWrap is suitable to both package and ship the product, the company reduced their spending on shipping materials. They no longer need to buy bags and mailers, and the cost of rolls of film is less than pre-made bags.
The final major result of using the FloWrap is the impact on DIM weight. Using bags instead of boxes reduces the amount of air and space companies have to pay for in shipping costs. However, the added benefit with the FloWrap is the line of pinholes it creates across each sealed bag. The row of holes lets extra air out of the package to reduce the amount of space it takes up. This helps our e-commerce client lower their shipping costs.
The FloWrap automated packaging system does have limitations on the size of product that can go through. Items larger than the limit are packed into a box. However, only half a million to a million are shipped that way. With tens of millions of products being shipped each year, the FloWrap still does an incredible job.
Our partnership with this e-commerce company has been growing since 2007. We supply them with some of their corrugated materials, along with tape machines and carton sealing tape for four packaging lines. And, of course, we also supply them with customized film from Sealed Air, razor blades and labels for the FloWrap process.
Our client is now looking to add another FloWrap machine as we continue to work with them on ways to make their packaging and shipping processes even better.
If you’re interested in learning about a customized solution for your end-of-line packaging process for your business, contact the experienced consultants at Hughes Enterprises today.
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