How to optimise your order packaging and save money

04 Jan 2023

For those working within the manufacturing sector, you have the unique experience of being both a manufacturer and a consumer. And that means that you sometimes see something as a consumer that affects your inner manufacturer. 

You may have experienced this when purchasing a product, only to realise that it has way too much packaging. So much so that it felt wasteful, and you couldn’t help but wonder if you’re guilty of the same thing. 

Whether you’re looking to cut costs, help the environment, or simply make the lives of your customers easier, tyring to optimise order packaging is a great idea. In this post, we’ll look at specific ways you can optimise packaging to help save money and reduce waste. 

How to optimise order packaging and save money

Think outside the “box”

When you’re looking to optimise order packaging, we recommend thinking outside the “box”. And yes, we mean that literally. While a box is a great default shape to go to when packaging a product, it should be just that: A go-to. 

This means that, in some situations, it’s the less-than-ideal option. You may want to go with something like a cylinder, a bag, or even something more obscure, like a triangle. It’s all about finding the most efficient shape for your product and shipping. 

Settle on a package that makes sense for your product. If that happens to be a unique shape, you get the added bonus of making your packaging visually stand out from the crowd.

Custom-sized packaging 

It’s also worth considering custom-sized packaging when looking to optimise order packaging. After all, not all will be the same shape or have the same packaging requirements. 

Going with custom-sized packaging can help you cut down on waste in a big way. That might mean removing the corners from a box, adding a curve here or there, or flattening the box down. 

However you do it, these little changes can reduce the overall material used to deliver your products to your customers. 

Remove unnecessary pieces of packaging

This is a pretty straightforward way to optimise order packaging. Simply remove pieces of packaging that aren’t required. We often wrap a product in a plastic bag or include an insert that, if we’re honest, probably doesn’t need to be there. 

When you include these pieces in your packaging, they not only increase the cost of your packaging but the waste your product generates. And that’s a major concern, especially for more popular products. 

Finding ways to replace your packaging with eco-friendly options or simply removing pieces of packaging altogether is a great way to sell a better product for you and the environment. 

Cut down on what your products ship with

Our next tip is to cut down on what your products ship with. This is something that tech giant Apple has started doing, which has profoundly improved their packaging optimisation. 

The iPhone used to ship with headphones, a charging cable, and a wall charger. Today, it only ships with a cable, and even that may be cut at some point. 

Not only does this save money on the accessories that aren’t being shipped, but it allows Apple to cut their packaging boxes roughly in half, allowing twice as many products to be shipped as before on the same size trucks. 

The lesson here is that if there’s anything your products are shipping with that can be left out of the box, then it’s a good time to cut it. 

Get rid of gaps in your packaging

Another quick way to start to optimise order packaging is to get rid of gaps in your packaging. And by that, we mean literal gaps — empty spaces in your packaging that aren’t being used. 

Your packaging designers should be able to spot these gaps pretty easily, if they exist, and come up with ways to remove them. Placing your products in the box differently, removing items and packaging from the box, or trying a different size or shape box, are all ways to cut down on gaps. 

Use box dimensions that are optimised for shipping 

While this doesn’t directly relate to the process of trying to optimise order packaging, you can improve your shipping when you optimise your box dimensions. 

This means you should strive for box dimensions that are easily stackable on a truck. The more of your product you can fit on each truck, the more money you’ll save and the less energy you will consume.

Test your packaging decisions thoroughly

Of course, as you’re making all of these changes to your packaging, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re testing your packaging thoroughly. The last thing you want is to remove a gap here or an insert there, only to realize weeks later that 10% of your products are winding up damaged in transit. 

Go through rigorous testing to ensure that every decision is the right one, and work closely with your packaging design team to keep everything running smoothly. 

Use data to avoid over or under-ordering packaging stock

Data is a great way to help overhaul your approach to packaging. 

Data can help you avoid over- or under-ordering your packaging stock, so you’re never left with excesses or shortages. This can be difficult to maintain manually but easily automated with data. You just need the right tools to help you start leveraging your data. 

Start leveraging data to optimise order packaging with Workhorse

That’s where a tool like Workhorse comes in! Our software can help you gather data about your inventory and orders that you can use to shake up your packaging choices. 

Reach out to our team today and see what Workhorse can do for your business.

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