We get constant messages from logistics managers who say that their main goal is optimizing the total cost of ownership for their returnable packaging. They are not worried about the performance or suitability of their packages for the products stored and shipped in them. They simply fail to reach a satisfactory returnable packaging ROI.
All Reusable Packaging Is Not Created Equal
In many cases, the Logistic Packaging experts analyze the client’s particular case and notice that they are not using the ideal packaging solutions for their application. Unfortunately, some managers still believe that more expensive equals better quality. In some instances, distribution and retail companies used specialized packaging materials, recommended for specific applications.
These products are more expensive because they incorporate specific features, technologies and materials for special purposes, such as ESD materials for plastic pallets and containers. They are needed in the automotive and electronics industry, to protect sensitive electronic components and devices from electrostatic discharges. They are not needed to carry smartphones from a warehouse to a store, since they already have protective primary packaging (ESD foil wrapping the phone inside its box).
How to Choose the Ideal Products to Achieve Returnable Packaging ROI
One of the values we embrace at Logistic Packaging is the dedication to help our clients find the best packaging solution for their needs – not necessarily the most expensive product.
Taking into consideration all the problems we encountered when we helped clients optimize their total cost of ownership for packages, we created this list of tips to improve returnable packaging ROI:
1. Optimize Packaging for Automated Handling
One of the main trends that will soon reach global level is automation at all points of material handling: harbors, customs, warehouses, and other merchandize transfer points. Manual labor is a thing of the past, because it involves a high risk of accidents and damages.
Automated devices need to be able to grip packaging materials safely. This is why modern returnable packages have new design features to facilitate handling by:
- Conveyor belts
- Robotic arms
- Pallet trucks
- Container discharge systems.
You will reach a higher returnable packaging ROI if you invest in these materials, because they are built to withstand handling by automated devices. Older plastic packages, designed for manual handling, are not as sturdy and resilient.
2. Use Packaging Materials Adapted for All Needs
Some companies need one, maximum two types of packaging materials. However, if you have complex logistic operations, you will need specific packages for each type of handling, storage and shipping.
For instance, a warehouse that receives goods from a central hub and distributes them to retail stores has two types of logistic operations:
- Handling, storing and labeling large quantities of goods
- Shipping small quantities of products following specific orders from stores.
In order to reach returnable packaging ROI, the warehouse needs to use various types of packages:
- Large containers with label holders to store goods
- Small shipping boxes for order picking and shipping
- Plastic pallets to facilitate loading and unloading warehouse racks.
3. Plan Your Packaging for the Long Term
Returnable packaging has a long lifespan – up to 5-6 years. For companies used to single use packaging, such as cardboard boxes, the idea of buying a batch of packages that will cover the business needs for years is difficult to grasp.
But this is exactly what your company should do if you want to reach the full returnable packaging ROI. Consider not only the current packaging needs, but also the future ones. Do you expect to grow your production or expand operations? Is your usual stock of packages sufficient for the sales season when your orders can increase ten times compared to a regular period?
4. Do Not Be a Late Adopter of New Technologies
Many managers believe that “if it is not broken, why fix it?” They are not keen to adopt new packaging materials, logistic solutions and handling devices. They want to wait and see how it turns out for other companies.
In reality, new technologies on the market are already tested and proven for their efficiency and safety. Their role is to make things better – in your operations, in your relationship with customers and in your budget.
5. Work with a Packaging Expert
Finally, the best way of achieving returnable packaging ROI is relying on a professional packaging producer to advise you and build your packaging strategy. You will always benefit from the latest developments and technologies and for expert assistance whenever you need it.
The team at Logistic Packaging is ready to help you find and implement the best packaging materials for your needs. We are producers of high quality returnable packaging and have extensive know-how in all major industries. Send us an email to discuss your packaging application!