Are you all ready for the holiday season yet? Do you know what you’ll be packing and how you’re going to pack it?  Have you got capacity to cope with unplanned extras?

And no, the seasonal demand planning and packaging solutions we’re talking about don’t have anything to do with your beach towel, flip-flops and sun-cream or the straw donkey or inflatable shark you might need to find room for in your luggage on your way home. We’re talking about your preparations for a little later in the year.  While we’re still rubbing in the aftersun, talk will inevitably begin to turn to Christmas and the new kids on the block, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The Christmas period has traditionally been the peak of the retail calendar, but over the last few years the American imports of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have taken a strong foothold in the UK market. In 2016, statistics from leading retailers revealed online traffic during the Black Friday period was 27% higher than over the Christmas period, and the sales conversion rate was 35% higher.  2017 could see even more online sales going through at these peak times.

If you’re involved in the management of the delivery of products for retail companies or manufacturers, now is the time to take action to ensure your packaging operation is fully prepared to meet the peaks in demand later in the year. This will ensure your packaging operation runs smoothly and efficiently, and you can stay as relaxed as you were on your summer holiday.

There are lots of ways companies can make their packaging process more agile so it can be scaled up or down to meet seasonal demand. You may well already have some of these things in place, but it’s always worth reviewing your operation to see what other improvements can be made.  Here are some of the packaging solutions we think are worth considering when you are reviewing your seasonal demand planning:

1. Packaging supply

Is your existing packaging supplier able to meet your demands for increased supply? At short notice? Is their service reliable, do they have good availability of packaging materials, and can they change the frequency of their deliveries?

Also consider your packers – are they fully trained to optimise efficiency?

2. Packaging materials

Rationalise packaging materials so it is easier for packers to locate and use effectively. Having a supplier who can deliver smaller amounts of packaging materials more frequently can help you to better manage this.

3. Warehouse set up

The layout of your warehouse is important. Having the right set up can free up space and streamline your process. For example, having an operation where packaging products are easily accessible to your packers can help the packing line to follow better and in turn improve output and efficiency.

On-demand packaging solutions such as cushioning and void-fill systems free up space by removing the need for bulky alternatives such as bubble wrap and loose fill, which can take up over 600 times the space compared to on-demand materials. Also see if your packaging supplier can hold stock for you to free up even more space.

Here is how Antalis Packaging helped one customer to save £30K a year by reducing their stockholding of packaging materials.

4. Pack size

Could you reduce the size of your packages? This would allow you to fit more packages onto a pallet and into the delivery vehicle. One option you could look at is automated box-sizing machines that reduce the size of the box to suit the contents.

By introducing the I-Pack corrugated automated packing system, Antalis Packaging has helped one customer to reduce their packaging materials by 50%, as well as making significant efficiencies in labour.

5. Packaging speed

Consider packaging machinery, such as pallet wrappers and case erectors, that could help to speed up your packaging process. Here’s how Antalis Packaging help one customerto speed up the wrapping of pallets by 70%, reduce packaging waste by 75% and gain cost savings of over 60%, as well as make significant health and safety improvements

And it’s not just machinery that can help quicken up your operations, there are a number of packaging materials on the market that can also make a significant difference. The introduction of a ‘crash lock’ bottom box, for example, helped one company to make its box processing three times faster.

So, before you start packing your suitcase for your summer holiday, why not take advantage of our free packaging audit? One of our packaging specialists will review all aspects of your packaging operation and come up with a personalised plan to make sure you have the right packaging solutions in place to cope with the seasonal demand later in the year.