Recently we have had an influx of questions and projects all related to packaging weight. Some customers have experienced substantial increases in shipping cost thanks to a variety of recent price increases and policy changes by the three major shippers, USPS, UPS and FedEx.
There are no “one size fits all” answers because what you ship, how you ship and where you ship can all impact your shipping costs, but here are a few points to consider:
Have you “right sized” your packaging lately?
We recently spoke to a customer who was looking for a less expensive void fill to pack the boxes they were shipping out. A quick review of the situation resulted in our recommendation of using a “non-stock” box which was considerably smaller, less expensive and lighter to ship that the “standard” stock box they were accustomed to using.
Are you using the best shipping container for your application?
There is rarely a week that goes by that we do not hear from someone shipping soft goods (tee shirts, baby clothes, etc.) in corrugated boxes. As much as we enjoy selling boxes, unless the product is fragile, a paper or plastic mailer envelope may satisfy the need at a substantially lower shipping weight. Keep in mind when you eliminate the shipping box, you also eliminate the tape, void fill material and even labels (if you have the mailer custom printed) which all add cost and weight.
If your product does require a corrugated container, remember there are a wide variety of design alternatives to a standard RSC style shipping box. These include end and side load full overlap boxes for low profile products or in some situations a die cut mailer can be a lighter, cost effective solution.
Are you using the correct board weight?
We just helped a customer reduce his shipping weight and cost by reducing the thickness of his board from standard C-flute to slightly thinner B-flute. Incidentally, they also enjoyed a storage and inbound shipping cost savings because they can ship and store 30% more boxes in the same amount of space.
In a lower volume application, a customer using die cut corrugated mailer boxes is reducing shipping costs by switching from “standard” B-flute to light weight, more economical E-flute board. Board weight cannot always be reduced due to application or volume requirements but when it can be, it is a great way to minimize packaging costs and shipping weight.
Are those “free” boxes costing you a bundle?
Most of our customers are eco minded so re-using is a way of life. This is great except when they end up using packaging that is over sized or just plain wrong for their needs. One of our favorite green customers always prided themselves in utilizing “used” boxes whenever possible. Many of the boxes they reused were considerably larger than really necessary so they compensated for the excessive space by stuffing the boxes full of used newspaper. Unfortunately the box and newspaper were adding considerable cost and weight to the product they were shipping out, offsetting any savings they thought they were experiencing.
Another “free” box that may not be such a great deal are some of those USPS flat rate boxes. Those flat rate programs tend to be a great deal as your product weight rises but a worse deal as the product weight decreases. See the related post listed below for a breakdown and example of how buying a box can prove far less expensive than the free box they offer.
Again, there is no pat answer and every situation can differ. The most important thing to remember is that in MOST cases, there is a cost and weight reduction possible, when you review your needs with the help of an experienced packaging supplier with multiple solutions to offer. Please contact us for a free application review.