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Top Packaging Innovations Enable E-Commerce Growth

by:VIPUTRANS     2021-02-01
Packaging, E-commerce, SustainabilityWorking with a 3PL such as DHL Supply Chain can help you develop packaging that improves sustainability, lowers costs, and delivers the desired customer experience.Alicemarie Geoffrion, Vice President, Packaging Operations,DHL Supply Chain North America, 973-301-8434Until recently, packaging optimization was largely overlooked as brands and retailers scrambled to keep up with exploding e-commerce demand and customer expectations for faster deliveries.Now, packaging has become one of the highest priorities for many e-commerce providers. End consumers have made their voices heard and have demanded that providers focus on waste and recyclability of the e-commerce packages they receive.Providers are challenged with addressing often conflicting sustainability objectives to gain the approval of internal and external stakeholders.Increased focus on packaging from leading 3PLs such as DHL Supply Chain has driven new innovations that enable brands and retailers to drive costs out of the supply chain while addressing issues related to sustainability to deliver a differentiated customer experience. Here are three of the most promising sustainability strategies:•Carton OptimizationResearch conducted by DHL Supply Chain found that on average 24% of the volume of an e-commerce package is empty space.New technology-based approaches have emerged to solve this challenge. Using sophisticated carton optimization algorithms combined with an on-demand approach to packaging within the distribution center helps brands and retailers produce the right package at the right time for each shipment, driving down transportation costs, minimizing waste, and ensuring the product is protected.•Reusable and Recyclable PackagingReusable packaging creates a closed-loop system in which orders are shipped to the customer in a reusable package and then returned via mail or via a drop-off location. Once the returned package is received at the distribution center, it is cleansed, quality checked, and prepared for the next order.Material recyclability is also improving. DHL Supply Chain is actively working with manufacturers to develop recyclable poly bag solutions that will enable shippers to achieve their sustainability objectives while leveraging this cost-effective packaging option.•Integrated Packaging ManagementTaking an end-to-end approach to packaging management within the distribution center effectively integrates packaging with other supply chain processes. This allows management staff to be shared across the distribution center, ensures packaging design is aligned with transportation resources, and provides the flexibility to make late-stage decisions based on changing conditions.Fulfillment, packaging, and transportation are tightly connected processes and small changes to packaging size and design can lead to huge savings in other areas without compromising packaging performance.Taking a holistic approach to packaging ensures that the impact of every change on the entire process is fully considered. It also enables identification of inefficiencies within the supply chain where changes can be made to deliver the biggest benefit.Packaging is one of the most complex and important processes within e-commerce fulfillment, impacting everything from transportation costs to the customer experience. Working with a 3PL such as DHL Supply Chain can help you remove existing boundaries so you can develop packaging that improves sustainability, lowers costs, and delivers the desired customer experience.For more information on how DHL integrates packaging throughout the whole supply chain, visit
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