When consumers order a product online, it more often than not arrives in the same packaging seen on brick-and-mortar store shelves—just inside a shipping box. When fulfillment houses (Amazon, for example) do any additional packing (like wrapping a product in cushioning), they charge the brand owner a fee for “repacking.” That can get costly and, honestly, isn’t the most effective in protecting the product on its way to the customer. The whole process is inefficient, costly and not sustainable.
To fix the repacking problem, consumer packaging expert Michele Barone of PA Consulting Group shares seven provocative ideas.
1. Reduce the amount of material in the secondary case through more efficient designs to cut repacking costs by approximately 10%.
2. Design cases for easy and efficient repacking, which can save material and labor costs by 25% to 30%.
3. Consider returnable packaging, which could eliminate repacking material costs. Returnable cases can incorporate sensors and connectivity features to monitor product, and environmental and location data—generating more efficiency throughout the supply chain to offset higher initial costs.
4. Invest in flexible packaging equipment that could effectively handle a range of pack formats, reducing or potentially eliminating the need for repacking.
5. Consider a distributed packing model. This method breaks down the packing process into multiple stages, which are completed as the product goes through the supply chain. For example, companies could ship semi-finished cases and add products or print to the case at a warehouse close to the final destination.
6. Eliminate corrugated cases. If the primary pack is strong enough, products can be connected using adhesives, bands and tapes.
7. Design for omni-channel. The approach can focus on developing formats suitable for multiple distribution channels, or innovative ways of building product collations without the need for repacking. The challenge is to identify a single pack design that is able to fulfill a complex set of requirements from retail and ecommerce distribution and consumer across all touchpoints.
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