Many issues in warehouse operations and the fulfillment of customers’ expectations start at the precise moment of order packaging and preparing for shipment. These issues have a wide range of causes, but one joint outcome: the failure in completing the delivery to the customer’s satisfaction.
As packaging experts, we have encountered many situations when the products we delivered apparently failed to solve the client’s problem, but in reality the internal procedures and the order picking policies worked against the client’s best interests. As we pointed out in a recent case study, upgrading only a part of your logistic operations is not going to solve the problem as a whole. Everything is interlocked in a supply chain, from the initial order processing, to picking, order packaging and, finally, shipping the packages.
Therefore, we decided to start with the critical point where all the major mistakes begin: during order packaging and preparing them for shipping to your customers. Our team of packaging and logistics specialists at Logistic Packaging has compiled the most common and damaging mistakes which they identified in our clients’ logistic operations. And starting from these mistakes we compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for order packaging to help you make the right changes in your warehouse activities.
DON’T: Place Products In Inadequate Packaging Materials
This is one of the most frequent order packaging mistakes. Many companies will stick to standard stackable boxes or foldable container, although their products have challenging shapes and sizes and do not fit inside them properly. Too much empty space left in the container is just as bad as forcing the product inside a too small container. During transport, your products will be damaged.
DO: Discuss with Your Packaging Provider and Find Customized Packaging Solutions
Most standard sized reusable packaging can be provided in customized dimensions. However, many professional packaging providers already offer non standard sized packages at standard packages prices. At Logistic Packaging, we have already introduced non-EURO sized stackable containers and stack-nest boxes in our catalog for standard products.
DON’T: Use Handwritten Lists for Picking and Order Packaging
Written or printed papers are unreliable and mistakes are very frequent when your warehouse workers need to rely only on them when preparing orders. A splash or water blotching the page or a mistype are sufficient to make the list unreadable or unreliable.
DO: Provide Your Workers with Real Time Access to the Central Computer Database
Handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets are the simplest tool for your order picking team to access each order from the central database and also confirm on the spot the status of the order as it moves along the supply chain.
DON’T: Rely On Adhesive Paper Labels
Just like printed order lists, paper labels are highly unreliable, even if you print the barcode correctly for the shipping company. Temperature variations, unfavorable weather conditions can cause your label to fall of or become unreadable.
DO: Use Adequate Label Holders
Label holders can be firmly glued or even welded to your container, have a protective transparent plastic pocket and allow you to insert and change labels quickly and accurately. Label holders will stay firmly attached while your containers go through a washing cycle and keep your labels readable from the moment the products leave your warehouse and until they reach the final point of delivery.
DON’T: Send Palletized Orders Without Securing Them
Road or sea transport is not gentle with your products. A stormy sea and a bumpy road could cause your stack of products to collapse and become damaged. The stack or products on the pallet should not be trusted to gravity alone to remain stable.
DO: Use Adequate Load Securing Accessories
Plastic pins, wedges and prisms, as well as anti-slip mats are must-have accessories to place on the pallet in order to make sure that your products will stay secure, even if they have challenging shapes and uneven surfaces. During order packaging an important step is checking that the palletized stack of products can withstand handling and transport without toppling over.
DON’T: Send Your Products without a Detailed Packing List
Packing lists are necessary for the shipping company when they put your products through customs and in order to perform the formal handing over to your customers. The sender bears full liability for the accuracy of the information included in this document.
DO: Check the Order Details Against the Packing List
The last chance to identify mistakes in picking and order packaging is when you prepare the packing list. By comparing this list with the initial order placed by the customer, you can identify inaccuracies and correct them. The time taken by this operation can be compensated by using automated picking and order packaging machines which work faster and more accurately than your employees.