Order packing is a crucial process in any warehouse operation. Inefficiencies in the order packing process can lead to shipping delays, a poor customer experience, and lost business. However, there are a number of steps that warehouse managers and operators can take to improve their operations in this regard.
In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for improving packing and packaging, the importance of having proper packing stations, and how automation can help. Finally, we will mention how having the right warehouse management system (WMS) can make a big difference in creating a more efficient order packing process.
Why is Warehouse Order Packing Important?
If you’re a warehouse manager or operator, then you know that packing orders correctly is crucial to the success of your business. Not only do you need to make sure that the right products are going out to the right customers, but you also need to pay attention to things like packaging and shipping.
This applies to any business that packs and ships products. For example, a manufacturer, eCommerce business, or third-party logistics (3PL) provider should all have efficient packing processes in place.
No customer wants to receive a late or damaged product. That’s why the goal of well-run warehouses is shipping the right product on time and in good condition to every customer.
What Does an Inefficient Warehouse Packing Process Look Like?
There are a few key signs that your packing processes are inefficient or not set up properly. Here are some common clues that your operations needs improvement:
- You have shipped a lot of damaged products which creates angry customers and costly returns
- Items are packed using too much packaging materials increasing the cost of shipping
- Your packing stations are cluttered or not organized decreasing efficiency
- You’re not using the right size cartons directly increasing shipping costs
- You’re not using automation
If this sounds like your business, don’t worry. There are a number of things you can do to improve efficiency and create a better customer experience.
Tips for Order Packaging and Packing in Warehouse Operations
Most warehouses have room for some optimization in terms of creating a more efficient order packing operation. Here are some tips that can help you make improvements:
1. Have Enough Packing Stations
It’s simple math that if you don’t have enough packing stations to meet demand, then your packers will always be struggling to keep up.
2. Make Sure Packing Stations Are Properly Equipped
All packing stations should have the right packing materials, the right size cartons, and the right packing machines. Since the packing area can be a bottleneck in warehouse operations, it’s important to make sure it’s set up properly. While this sounds basic, it can increase efficiencies of the operations.
3. Stay Organized and Uncluttered
It goes without saying that your inventory should be well organized. But you should also make sure your packing stations are organized and uncluttered. Items and supplies should always be stored in the appropriate container. This will help your packers work more efficiently and avoid mistakes.
4. Provide Proper Training
Make sure your packers are properly trained on how to pack orders correctly. This includes understanding how to read a packing slip, apply a shipping label, use packing machines, and properly pack products. They should also be storing supplies in the appropriate container after each use.
5. Use the Right Size Cartons
Using too small of a box will result in damaged goods and using too large of a box will waste space and increase shipping costs. Using an appropriate box size will help ensure that your products are shipped safely without unnecessary cost.
6. Choose the Right Materials
You should use a material that will protect your products from damage, but you’ll also want to make sure it’s not too expensive. Bubble wrap is one example of a commonly used packaging material. However, many warehouses use more eco-friendly packaging materials such as recyclable paper and cardboard. For shipping perishables, the materials can be very expensive if used incorrectly.
7. Properly Labeling
A very important packaging tip for shipping is to make sure all the items are properly labeled. This includes having the right shipping label on your products, as well as the right packing slips in or on the box. Printing a ‘clean’ packing list, without hand-written notes, is important.
8. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
A growing portion of customers are interested in buying from companies that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Using recycled, reused, or reduced materials can also help you reduce waste and save money in the long run.
9. Use Automation
Although many automated systems require a large investment, the long-term benefits often outweigh the initial cost. Automated packing machines can help pack orders faster and more accurately. But there are also smaller packing machines that can automate specific tasks in the packing process, such as sealing cartons or print & apply for labels.
The Importance of Having the Right Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Having the right Warehouse Management System (WMS) is essential for an effective warehouse operation. A WMS can help you manage your inventory, as well as picking, packing, and shipping orders.
Cadre Technologies WMS is a cloud-based warehouse management system that provides real-time visibility across your warehouse operations. It can help you improve your order packing, inventory management, packing slip printing, and much more.
Cadre Technologies provides warehouse and supply chain management software for a variety of industries, including:
- Third-Party Logistics (3PL)
- Ecommerce Fulfillment
- Fourth-Party Logistics (4PL)
By following the tips above, you can improve your packing operation and make it more efficient and effective. This can lead to a great customer experience and growth for your company.
If you have any questions, or if you’re looking for a Warehouse Management System to help improve your packing process, contact Cadre Technologies today. We will be happy to speak to you and answer any of your questions.