Let’s talk about packing

Packing can be an area where you win and lose customers.

A critical part of your operation

Packing can be an area where you win and lose customers – the right product packed in the right package with the correct paperwork and label is critical to:

  1. A great customer experience
  2. Preserving goods during transit
  3. Environmental considerations
  4. Optimising your cost per unit
  5. Ensuring compliance with local and international freight goods
  6. Ensuring you meet and exceed your marketplace SLAs

Opportunities to optimise

There’s a wide choice of warehouse automation and strategies to optimise and support packing operations. While this can be confusing much of what’s out there will offer good return on investment once customised, to work with your individual needs.

A key point is that process improvement comes from both physical warehouse automation and digital transformation. The ability to use digital and AI capability to connect with and optimise more traditional and physical aspects of an operation is particularly important in improving real world processes.

Automation or software?

Automation is an excellent choice making repetitive tasks more efficient and more effective and reducing errors which might result in increased returns, lost client loyalty and longer pack times. It also has the advantage of mitigating external unpredictability such as labour shortages.

When looking at your packing processes it’s worth taking a step back to think about moving items efficiently and accurately from picking areas to packing stations.  Conveyor systems, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can all be configured to handle different products and perform specific tasks and will move items efficiently and accurately from picking to packing.

Systems such as pick to light and put to light are another way to reduce human error.  Consider implementing batch processing in order to pick and pack multiple orders and reduce the time spent on each order.

If your focus is directly on efficiency and accuracy at the pack bench then you have plenty of choice. Automated carton sealers, weighing scales, volumetric scanners and label printers all reduce manual labour and minimise waste and shipping costs with their ability to calculate the optimal box sizes and carrier labels for each parcel.  It’s also a good call to integrate your quality control checks at this point for example automated vision systems or RFID technology provide greater accuracy and less errors.

Software can also have a direct impact in improving packing speed and efficiency.  For example Breathe Technologies next generation software Orquestr8 offers multiple ways to optimise the pack function. It’s integration with Proglove wearable scanners has improved packing speeds from 70 to over 100 units per hour for our clients.   In removing human processing time, for example generating a label print instruction at the time the product/order verification is scanned with the Proglove device, the time taken to complete a series of small manual tasks can be vastly reduced as can error rates.

If you want to understand more about optimising your picking function our insights article has more advice.

Integration and optimisation

Ultimately connecting the different systems and processes in the warehouse such as inventory management, order fulfilment, shipping, and tracking, into a cohesive and efficient workflow will have the most impact on customer satisfaction and targets, and its data that is at the centre of this.

Having access to real-time data and performance metrics means that:

  • order progress can be tracked
  • bottlenecks identified
  • priorities adjusted

Using the problem-solving capabilities of AI also means that machine learning can then add value in its forecasting and handling of future scenarios.

Breathe Technologies are at the forefront of AI application to real world supply chain problems.  Our automation and software capabilities drive our approach and success in the digital optimisation of traditional solutions supporting growth in a cost effective and scalable way.  Find out how our Orquestr8 software helped Ultimate Products successfully scale their operations to meet the growth requirements of different channels including their Amazon vendor service.

Breathe Technologies provide smart warehouse technology unifying physical and digital warehouse automation.  We optimise standard processes by controlling and unifying multiple automation technologies and add manageability, clarity and agility to warehouse operations.

Contact us for an informal discussion as to how we can optimise your packing function.