Does packing matter? Check out our webinar on YouTube for the answer as well!
Buyers spend a lot of time researching and looking for ways to improve their logistics and supply chain through different software and shipping companies, but I would bet if you asked most supply chain managers to rank the relative importance of the different parts of the process, packing would be at the bottom. But they’re wrong. Packing matters.
How I learned the decision to pack in jumbo bags is bigger than I thought.
A few years ago I was having beers with a sales rep for dairy products, and we were talking about logistics. He admitted that for years they had been like most other companies; they always shipped their products in jumbo bags, often as big as one-metric-ton.
The obvious advantage of shipping in these jumbo bags was the convenience. A container filled with jumbo bags only has twenty bags to move and empty. One person can easily unload twenty bags without any extra help.
He said they were as guilty as everyone else of focusing only on saving time and effort. But his company had realized that the easiest way of doing something was not always the smartest way. His reasoning was simple and obvious, but until then I’d never even thought of it.
If you have a jumbo bag and the bag gets a leak, poked, torn, or bursts, you have a huge problem. One metric ton of product will be lost and you’ll have a huge mess to clean up.
Remember, his company deals in dairy, so if a bag got even a small a hole, everything in the bag was considered contaminated and needed to be dumped. Depending on the sensitivity and end-use as well as the price, losing a metric ton of product could have created some real problems.
Whenever I share this idea with people in the logistics industry, they admit it’s something they’d never thought of. And then they look into switching to smaller bags.
I look at using smaller bags as buying insurance, it costs more money now, but in the end it could save you a lot.
Our jobs as international supply chain managers is to point out all the different ways your company can improve their SCM, and using smaller packaging is just one “small” piece of advice that can help you avoid problems.
Photo Credit: Petr Dosek