So many things have changed in the way we live and work since 2020. One of the major changes with impact at all levels across many industries is online shopping. From a convenient way of purchasing various items, it became a necessity overnight. And now it has become the standard way of doing shopping for most people across all age groups. We are now talking of a new industry: the ecommerce industry, which includes online shopping platforms and payment environments, producers in various retail sectors and distribution services. In this article, we will discuss the way of making this emerging ecommerce supply chain sustainable with the help of professional packaging: plastic pallets and containers.
Next Day Delivery Involves a Lot of Packaging Waste
For a while, traditional packaging materials, especially cardboard boxes, made a comeback. It was more convenient for retailers and distributors to use them for deliveries. There is no time to source anything else – they would complain – because customers expect next day delivery.
However, companies with prior experience in ecommerce have already shown that professional packaging does not impede fast delivery. On the contrary, reliable packaging solutions speed up the order picking and delivery processes. Plastic pallets and containers are built to help companies save time, money and improve their operations, not hinder them.
How Plastic Pallets and Containers Help Optimize the Ecommerce Supply Chain
What happens after a client places an order and pays online with their card? A notification appears in the sales software indicating the needed products. The same notification appears in the paired warehousing software. Things start moving.
In a central warehouse, a large order is underway, heading to a local distribution center. The plastic pallets and foldable large containers contain products which will later on be split into separate orders for different clients.
Later, in the distribution center, couriers will be assigned various deliveries and will pick nestable containers containing these orders. There is no need to pack, unpack and repack. Most of the work is done by automated machines, from conveyor belts to pallet trucks and other material handling devices.
Why the Ecommerce Supply Chain Needs Plastic Pallets and Containers?
In the absence of returnable packaging materials, the process described below would involve a lot of packaging waste. Wooden pallets loaded with products may break down in transit and need to be replaced.
Also, every time a large regional order is split into individual client packages, the products need to be removed from large cardboard boxes (which go to the landfill) and placed in smaller cardboard boxes.
Plus, the entire process would take much longer. Next day delivery may become an unattainable goal for businesses that do not switch to modern and reliable packaging solutions. Here are some simple scenarios, in which plastic pallets and containers prove their superior qualities:
1. A Product Is Placed in the Wrong Container
The bulk container heading to one distribution center contains one or several products with a different destination. In this case, cardboard boxes need to be unsealed to remove the item. Once resealed, they are no longer as sturdy and reliable.
A large foldable container has an ergonomic sleeve door, easy to open for quick access to the contents.
2. A Parcel Is Dropped during Unloading
Dropping a cardboard box can do serious damage to the products inside. The smallest crack makes an item unsuitable for delivery to the client. The product will be returned and the client may stop buying from the company.
By contrast, plastic containers are designed to protect products in the busy ecommerce supply chain. They can withstand intense use and keep the items inside safe from mechanical shocks.
3. There Is a Sudden Need for More Storage Space
The holiday sales seasons are the biggest challenges for the ecommerce supply chain. People buy online more than usual – both for themselves, as well as gifts for friends and families.
With a sharp increase in orders, ecommerce companies need to prepare with larger stocks. Larger stocks require more storage space. How can you obtain it? Using space saving packaging solutions, such as foldable containers and nestable pallets, it is possible to free up space at a moment’s notice, as well as optimize the usage of available warehouse space by creating vertical stacks.
4. An Order Picker Is Not Sure about the Contents of a Box
Are smartphones or smartwatches in that container up there? The paper label is partly torn. A manual inspection takes time, and the courier is already waiting to take the order and deliver it to the client.
This would not be an issue for a warehouses relying on foldable containers. They can be easily fitted with a label holder which protects the label from damage. The order picker would quickly find the necessary products with the handheld device and prepare the products for delivery.
There is still a lot to be done to optimize the ecommerce supply chain and make it more sustainable. One important step is choosing the right packaging solutions. At Logistic Packaging, we are committed to helping companies identify the ideal products for their packaging needs, so send us an email to discuss your application!