The Whole Package
BY ABBIGAIL KRIEBS
In the grand scheme of industry, we don’t usually give packaging too much thought. But with the sharp rise in ecommerce
orders in the business-to-business space in recent years, packaging
is becoming more of an issue. The increased volume should press
companies to review their packaging options and make sure they
have the best fit for their needs.
When reviewing their packaging options, distributors should
look at the vendor and understand what type of innovation they
are bringing to the marketplace. Are they interested in improving
their product and their sustainability? Are they continually offering better solutions?
Companies like Sealed Air are looking to minimize the cost
to customers while increasing sustainability and reducing labor
through automation. “We are also trying to increase the performance of our materials through technology, as well as reducing
the actual usage of raw materials,” says Lance Wallin, the Executive Director of Global Packaging Systems at Sealed Air Corporation. The company recently launched the Fill-Air Rocket™ inflatable void system that can process up to 100 ft. of film a minute.
Thanks to some new features, the system produces more consistent cushions, wasting less material — and time.
David Wilsted, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at FCA Packaging, echoes this trend toward economy — but stresses that companies cannot sacrifice functionality in the process. FCA Packaging
is the company behind the Collapsible Utility Box — or C.U.B. (seen
below). The C.U.B. can carry and protect thousands of pounds of
industrial equipment, but is sturdy enough for multiple uses.
“The C.U.B. is revolutionary because of its economical price
point, its ease of use, its safety features, and its ability to be
shipped anywhere,” says Wilsted. The ability to reuse the same
shipping box multiple times back and forth across the supply chain
can cut down on a lot of cost — especially when shipping items
that traditional cardboard boxes can’t handle.
In addition, Wilsted notes that a distributor can save significant
money by utilizing reusable packaging. Collapsible packaging can
“save money on freight, labor (set up and take down time), train-
ing, safety, space, and time. All of these savings go straight to the
bottom line, creating value across the supply chain,” says Wilsted.
Reusable is also an emerging theme for Sealed Air. “
Ecommerce is a huge trend within the market. Packaging needs to be
easily returnable; there is a high percentage of products that get
returned in the ecommerce arena. We need to make it less painful
for customers,” notes Wallin.
All packaging – even reusable packaging – has a lifespan, however, and when that cycle is up, it is often left up to end users to
make sure that the fill makes it to the proper recycling channels.
Many packaging providers, including Sealed Air, are participating
in a new effort by GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
GreenBlue, a nonprofit that equips business with the resources to
make products more sustainable, has created a system in which
printing easy-to-read labels with clear instructions on packaging
materials makes it easy for companies and users alike to participate in transparent, question-free recycling efforts. Their How2Re-
cycle website helps end users identify how and where to recycle
packaging materials once they have served their purpose.
From first use to last use, packaging matters more than ever before.