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Automated Protective Packaging: How to Save Money and Increase Efficiency in E-commerce and Fulfillment Centers

When it comes to e-commerce and fulfillment centres, speed and efficiency are paramount to success. These two factors go hand-in-hand when businesses analyze pack times and per pack costs. In order to lower costs and improve efficiency, automated protective packaging equipment is becoming common solution.

Automated packaging machines are a growing form of optimization for fulfillment and pick pack operations. These new pieces of packaging equipment aim to help improve costs by optimizing labour and material use.

How Automated Protective Packaging Improves Efficiency

  • Reduced trimming and waste

  • Accurate material quantities

  • Reduced handling costs

  • Improved pack consistency

people working in warehouse surrounded by boxes in ecommerce fulfillment facility

1. Improving Pack Productivity with Automated Protective Packaging

Packaging automation helps many industries increase productivity. For e-commerce and fulfillment sites these new types of protective packaging equipment reduce pack times and improve consistency. The on-demand delivery reduces material handling and improves pack times. At the pus of a button the programable machines dispense a predetermined amount of material, ready to pack.

The consistency offered by automated protective packaging machines helps establish standardization in the packing process. Increasing pack accuracy and greatly reducing training times. Effective standardization is also a key factor to consider when seeking an ISO quality management certification.

  • On-demand machines reduce employee handling, sizing and trimming

  • Programmable machines ensure the proper amount of material is dispensed for each pack

  • Standardized processes increase employee accuracy and reduce training times

  • Standardized processes are easier to track and control for better cost control

people working to pack orders of clothing into bags inside packaging facility

2. Increasing Throughput with Automated Protective Packaging

Packaging speed’s can make or break a fulfillment center. How quickly your packs are completed has a direct effect on your ability to complete orders and serve your customers.

  • Increase throughput

  • Reduced fulfillment times

  • Systematic processes make packaging process simple and effective

  • Increased employee productivity

  • Lower packaging times

  • Increase throughput

woman opening online order package filled with kraft paper and bubble wrap

3. Reducing Waste with Automated Protective Packaging

In today’s modern marketplace, a consumer’s brand perception tends to be driven by the impact the brand has on the environment. This includes everything from packaging to community engagement. It's common to see consumers share their opinions on social media, YouTube or in the comments on online stores.

Automated protective packaging machines are optimized delivery systems that cut down on waste. The small, condensed equipment increases material efficiency and offer vast space savings over pre-filled or processed materials. The NewAir I.B. Express Bubble On-Demand System produces inflated bubble wrap in varying lengths. Each roll of Bubble Wrap I.B. Express material is the equivalent to 40 rolls of pre-inflated bubble.

All the environmental and cost savings offered by automated protective packaging equipment can form a solid foundation of goodwill for a brand. This positive feeling can be cultivated and enhanced with an environmentally friendly package. The quantity and quality of protective material can make or break a consumer’s opinion. As trends have shown, unboxing has become a major factor for e-commerce and order fulfillment customers. Research has shown more and more consumers are searching and sharing these experiences each year. Moving into the digital age of consumerism, a business must be active in creating a positive unboxing for their consumers.

  • On-demand dispensing allow for more accurate material use

  • Dispensed material comes in predetermined sizes that are optimized for each pack

  • Eliminates waste created by large bulk materials that are cut and trimmed to size

  • Pre-sized materials ensure less waste per pack

  • Reduce waste disposal costs

  • On-demand automation machines allow for reclaimed floor space

  • Reduced material size reduces the footprint created during transportation.

  • One truckload of I.B. Express eliminates roughly 40 trucks required to transport regular bubble wrap.

  • Automated void fill machines create a consumer-friendly pack with less waste

Vintage Glassware Broken in shipping due to not being adequately wrapped well by internet auction seller

4. Reducing Damages with Automated Protective Packaging

When it comes to protective packaging the right materials in the right amount not only improves the overall impression, it reduces shipping damages. Through the creation of a standardized process, a more effective packaging method is created, reducing the possibility of shipping damages. With products arriving as intended, consumers have a positive experience with your brand. This positive experience also extends to the retailer. For each successful delivery, the retailer cuts expensive reverse logistics.

  • Automated protective packaging equipment creates a standardized process and a more effective packaging process.

  • Standard material sizes and uses reduces inconsistencies in their packaging process.

  • Consistent packs generate fewer returns due to damage

  • Reduced reverse logistics


5. Reducing Labour with Automated Protective Packaging

Efficient labour is a key factor in controlling business costs. Automated void fill machines offer fulfillment centres increased labour efficiency through reduced handling of raw materials. At the work stations employees complete the void fill process at the push of a button, eliminating trimming and sizing of bulk materials. By unloading and storing one roll of Bubble Wrap I.B. film, a worker moves the equivalent of 40 rolls of pre-filled bubble packaging in a single process.

  • Standardized material sizes and on-demand equipment reduce the handling time.

  • Operators dedicate more time to picking and packing orders.

  • On-demand materials take up less floor space.

  • Reduction in labour and handling minimizes risk of employee injury

pile of wasted packaging materials inside garbage bin

6. Reducing Consumption with Automated Protective Packaging

One of the largest impacts that automated systems have is the reduction in overall consumption. The lower volumes of materials used reduce raw material use and the impact of transportation.

  • Reduce waste

  • Minimize raw material per pack

  • Improved unboxing for consumers

  • Reduce amount of packaging received by consumers

Your Protective Packaging Partners

At Crawford Packaging we understand the importance of protective packaging. It ensures your product arrive in as made condition and that your consumers get the best experience possible. We work with our clients and suppliers to develop impactful programs, like the Protect it Right program, that help control costs and improve effectiveness. Speak with one of our knowledgeable packaging specialists and discover how our programs can help you reduce costs by as much as 30%.

Crawford Packaging is a full-service packaging company located in London, Brampton and Waterloo, Ontario. From packaging to packaging equipment, installation and upgrades, and in-person equipment training and repair, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.