Warehouse Packaging: What It Is and How to Improve It

Nick Mirev
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    The warehousing process has changed significantly in recent years thanks to automation, innovation, and other technological advancements. Warehouse packaging is still an important part of the process. Tertiary packaging supplies are the main type used in warehouses. They serve two main goals: to protect the products and to make them easier for transportation. In this article, we’ll shed some light on the warehouse packaging process as well as the packaging trends related to it. You can also read some tips on improving packaging in storage. This post is part of our series on packaging. Check out our blogs on wholesale packaging and how to ship a package.

    What Is Warehouse Packaging

    Warehouse packing is the process of preparing items for shipping. It comes right after picking. The steps of the warehouse packaging process include:

    1. Choosing suitable packaging depending on the size and quantity of the goods that need to be packed;
    2. Wrapping and sealing the package so that it’s better protected during transportation;
    3. Measuring and weighing it in order to calculate overnight shipping costs;
    4. Generating a packing slip and an invoice;
    5. Setting the package aside as it’s ready for fulfillment.

    The Importance of Warehouse Packing

    Warehouse packaging plays a crucial role. It’s the last step before an order is shipped. That’s why any mistakes made during the picking process should be fixed during packaging and quality control. In the eCommerce industry, errors like shipping the wrong product can lead to additional shipping costs. Here are the main reasons why warehouse packing is an important process that needs to be properly monitored and regularly optimized.

    1. Product protection. If suboptimal packaging is chosen, there’s a higher risk of damage to the packed goods. That’s why the warehouse packaging process needs to ensure that customers receive their orders in the best condition possible.
    2. Warehouse efficiency. Businesses that plan to scale their operations rely a lot on efficiency. A smooth warehouse packing process helps maintain order and effectiveness.
    3. Proper inventory management. Warehouse packaging should be a standardized process. This will help with inventory management and inventory counts. 
    4. Sustainability. Using eco-friendly packaging solutions is a major trend in the industry. Proper warehousing packaging ensures that the right size and supplies are used when an order is prepared for shipping.
    Key takeaway: The primary packaging of products is usually done during the manufacturing process. However, secondary and tertiary packaging often takes place in warehouses. Warehouse packing is the last step before shipping products to their destination. That makes it an important part of the quality assurance process in warehouses. In recent years, businesses have aimed to streamline and automate the warehouse packing process.
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    Warehouse Packaging Automation

    Business owners are always looking for innovations that can help them cut costs and maximize profits. AI and advancements in automation have offered a lot of opportunities in that regard. That’s true for warehouse processes as well. Things like warehouse scanning or warehouse inventory management can easily be automated with the help of smart warehousing. Here are a few examples of technologies that can help automate the warehouse packing process.

    Robotic Packing

    The advancements in the field of robotics now allow for mechanical robots to do various tasks and packing is one of them. In the long run, robotic packing systems can reduce labor costs and increase productivity. The main disadvantage of this technology is that it requires a large upfront investment.

    Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

    These robots can play a role in picking and packing goods. They can transport items between warehouse packing stations as well. 

    Contract Packaging

    If you’re looking for ways to automate the warehouse packaging process, you might also be interested in fully outsourcing it. Co-packing companies specialize in packaging the products of their customers. Some also offer 3PL like shipping and handling. Although this can lead to lower profit margins, it can help a business focus on other aspects like marketing and sales.

    Automated E-Commerce Packing

    The increased number of online sales has led to innovations in the eCommerce industry. Automated packing systems for eCommerce businesses can assist with weighing, measuring, and labeling. An important feature of these warehouse packaging systems is they can pack goods in different box sizes. 

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    Tips to Improve Warehouse Packaging

    There are multiple ways businesses can increase the efficiency of the warehouse order packing process. Here are some packaging tips to streamline warehouse operations.

    1. Invest in the right types of packaging. Biodegradable and recyclable packaging is a popular trend in the industry. An increasing number of customers take into consideration the commitment of companies to lowering their ecological footprint. Read more about sustainable eCommerce.
    2. Packaging stations should be properly equipped. That includes not only boxes but also secondary packaging supplies such as bubble wrap and void fillers.
    3. Train employees. In order to reduce human errors and product damage, businesses with warehouse operations should regularly train their staff. This also makes the warehousing process safer.
    4. Avoid clutter. The packaging operations in a warehouse should be as organized as the inventory itself. 
    5. Integrate modern solutions. With the help of a warehouse management system (WMS), businesses can get better insights. Modern warehouse software solutions have a variety of functionalities like automating documentation and labeling, giving real-time inventory visibility, and improving relationships with customers and suppliers.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Warehouse Packaging

    The BlueCart team is committed to helping businesses not only with reliable SaaS solutions but also with information and tips. Below you will find the answers to some of the commonly asked questions regarding warehouse packing. Make sure to also check our posts on custom packaging and warehouse management systems.

    What Is the Difference Between Packing and Packaging in Warehouses?

    Even though the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are differences between packaging and packing. Let’s examine the main distinctions.

    1. Packing’s primary goal is to protect the products during transportation. On the other hand, packaging needs to also be aesthetically pleasing, branded, and functional.
    2. Packing is commonly done in warehouses by machines and employees. Packaging is often part of the manufacturing process. 

    Generally speaking, the term packing can be used to describe tertiary (and sometimes secondary) packaging. The term packaging is predominantly used to describe primary packaging that includes branding and labeling.

    What Types of Packaging Supplies are Used in Warehouses?

    Warehouse packaging most commonly includes secondary and tertiary packaging. Primary packaging is rarely done in warehouses as it’s often part of the manufacturing process. Here are some of the different packaging types used for warehouse packaging.

    1. Crates and pallets. These containers are typical representatives of the tertiary packaging category. They are used to transport products between warehouses.
    2. Corrugated cardboard and plastic boxes. Although these materials can be used for primary packaging, their main role in warehousing is as secondary packaging. 
    3. Pallet wrap and other securing solutions. Stretch wrap is the most popular packaging supply used to secure goods in their secondary and tertiary packaging. A reusable alternative to pallet wrapping is using elastic bands. 

    What is Packaging Management?

    The term packaging management refers to the process of managing the right packaging solutions for different products. Through proper packaging management, businesses can reduce packaging costs, increase sales, and improve protection of the packaged goods. Design is also part of the overall packaging management process. Businesses need to take into consideration aesthetics, functionality, and product safety. That’s why they rely on professional packaging management solutions and technologies.

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