lass is as versatile as it is beautiful, reflecting and refracting light unlike any other material known to man. Keeping that beauty intact when shipping glassware - such as stemware, bar glasses or shot glasses - is not always an easy task. Some cringe at the thought of entrusting something so fragile to a small package delivery service, but there are ways to protect that elegance.
In 2015, a New Jersey glassware distributor for local hotels, bars, and restaurants was experiencing growing pains. Their business was continuing to expand with new clients and products, but two things stood in the way: damaged goods and a lack of space.
More than 10 percent of the products they shipped were being returned due to shipping damage. Regardless of the delivery service, the company struggled to reduce the waste of their resources.
“Damaged products are a common problem for distributors, e-commerce, and retail companies,” says Greg Kaminski, sales manager in the Product Care division of Sealed Air. “That problem becomes magnified when you’re in the business of shipping fragile products such as glassware.”
Being located in the Garden State didn’t help. The Northeast has a devastating combination of old roadways and harsh winters – the New Jersey Department of Transportation repairs about 275,000 potholes each year. Shock and vibration - which can lead to product damage - are simply unavoidable.
The damaged returns were reducing the labor efficiency and profitability of the company’s operations and the warehouse team was wasting time handling returns and shipping replacements instead of processing new orders. Damage also wasted the energy and costs needed to make the glass and transport it from the manufacturer to the distributor and then to the customer.
The other issue was space or rather, a lack thereof. The company’s rapid growth was stretching their 50,000-square-foot warehouse thin.
“Space was a premium commodity for this customer,” says Kaminski. “They needed more space, but, logistically, it wasn’t reasonable to expand or move into another location. They had to make due with the resources at hand.”
When it came to selecting its packaging material, the company focused on storage and cost. It was purchasing Bubble Wrap® with 3/16” bubbles, which took up less storage space than 1/2” bubbles but also provided less protection. As the company’s executives began recognizing the actual cost of damaged products, it decided to re-evaluate this space vs. protection equation.
Their search led them to Sealed Air’s on-demand inflation system, which provides inflatable Bubble Wrap. Instead of giant rolls taking up space in the warehouse, the product comes in much smaller uninflated rolls that can quickly be inflated by the automated system within the customer’s facility. It provides the quantity of Bubble Wrap that is needed when it is needed, reducing waste in the process. At the same time, it allowed the distributor to get the superior protection of 1/2" bubble sizes.
Working together to implement the Bubble Wrap® IB solution, the customer saw their damaged goods rate drop from 10 percent to less than 1 percent. Storage for packing materials also was reduced by 75 percent, making their packaging and operations more efficient in the process.
“This was a great example of preventing damage, being more efficient and increasing customer satisfaction,” says Kaminski.
If you’re interested in how your e-commerce, retail or manufacturing business can reduce its damaged good rates, learn more about on-demand inflatable packaging and cushioning solutions or contact our Product Care team today.