Modern Materials Handling
Friday, September 9, 2016

Any company shipping one- or two-item packages to individual customers is looking for ways to be as competitive as possible in today’s challenging e-tail/omni-channel market, says Ken Chrisman, president of Sealed Air’s product care division.

“They’re driven by the pressure to offer customers free shipping and to keep up with Amazon,” he explains. “To do so, and to minimize shipping charges associated with FedEx and UPS dimensional weight standards, companies are looking to become more efficient with their secondary packaging and reduce their freight costs to stay competitive.”

That’s why Sealed Air has spent the last year transitioning from a supplier of packaging materials engineered to reduce damage in shipping (such as Bubble Wrap), to offering a broad range of solutions that create right-size packaging.

“We still have a variety of solutions for damage reduction in shipping,” he says. “But we now integrate those offerings with cube optimization—making the package as small as it can be and still ensure that the item arrives as intended—and high-speed fulfillment velocity through new, fully automated equipment.”

For e-commerce apparel shipments, the FloWrap automated mailer system produces right-sized, ready-to-ship polybag pouches automatically. The equipment interacts with the warehouse management system (WMS) and weighs, manifests, validates and sorts each item based on its bar code.

To package items that require a corrugated box for shipment, the automated I-Pack machine folds and forms a base tray around the product, then glues the lid over top, creating a right-sized, securely sealed, tamper-evident parcel. In addition, the automated e-Cube machine scores and folds regular slotted container (RSC) sidewalls to a height that precisely matches the measurement of the contents.

“We’ve found that box height is where 60% of cube optimization savings reside,” Chrisman notes. Further, he adds, with both box forming offerings, Sealed Air can integrate inflation of protective cushioning in sheeting format on-demand and in-line. The air pillows are automatically dropped into each parcel as it’s formed.

 “Right-sizing” also pertains to the packaging application itself, Chrisman concludes, noting that Sealed Air first conducts an analysis of a customer’s product line-up by capturing dimensional measurements to determine the optimal box mix prior to recommending the ideal automated packaging solution.

This story was originally published in Modern Materials Handling magazine

 

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