Papers

The Pain of Packing in an E-Commerce World

For any business with a B2C component, the warehouse has changed dramatically over the last few years...many retailers are closing or scaling back their brick and mortar shops in favor of increasing their direct to consumer business. By Lynn Dermott

September 19, 2016

Others are maintaining the same level of operations, shipping to stores and other retailers but wrestling with the challenges of supporting omni-channel operations.

With ecommerce volume growing quickly, it is shaping how businesses sell their products, and forcing changes onto the warehouse. While picking seems to get the attention when it comes to omnichannel efficiency, packing is an overlooked area when small changes could make a world of difference. In several operations we’ve seen where ecommerce has grown from as much as 5 percent of the business to 30 percent, picking operations are being revamped to accommodate the typical new profile of many more, smaller orders. However, challenges continue after orders are picked, where operations are tasked with an expanded role for their packing operations.

Value Added Services
One large apparel company we work with sees their ecommerce business ebb and flow as any seasonal business does, especially during the holiday season. But what really throws their packers off are the flash sales and ever more value added services. Typically, in a flash sale consumers will purchase multiple sizes of the same item to make sure which size fits, resulting in a nice new outfit for them but many more returns for the retailer. And value adds such as gift packaging, customization of products and the ever popular “hassle free packaging” means a long list of potential packing changes.


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