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Focused flexible packaging can drive repeat business

Focused flexible packaging can drive repeat business

Feature – Opinion Piece

The following is provided by Mike McCreesh, VP Supply Chain Europe at Office Depot UK & Ireland

Focused flexible packaging can drive repeat business

Many procurement managers have quickly realised the importance of focusing on packaging solutions that better protect against damage, especially for those looking to transport consumables like food and drink. The manner in which a customer receives goods is, after all, an important part of their overall experience, so getting it right can pay dividends in terms of driving repeat business.

Part of making sure this requirement is met comes down to warehouse culture, as well as the individual solutions that are devised. Before discussing the solutions, it is therefore well worth highlighting that it is vital to maintain a warehouse culture that focuses on continuously improving by ensuring that there is an open forum for suggesting (and in some cases trialling) different approaches. Without this in place, there is a risk of complacency and the potential for processes to remain static, as that is the way it’s always been done.

Reducing damage caused in transit is obviously one of the most important points to address – as this has a direct impact on the customer experience. However, consumers also demand more in terms of minimising impact on the environment, so excess packaging or material is also a key driver in satisfying the end user. There are a number of automated boxing and lidding machines on the market that accurately measure products and create customised packaging that fits exact specifications. This sort of investment is one that would provide a strong return in terms of saving on material and reducing the overall carbon footprint of the warehouse.

When it comes to the right solution, the simplest ideas are often the best. Transporting food and drink items on pallets is an obvious choice, but given the fact that many deliveries are made by road, this can often lead to goods either knocking against each other or falling off the pallet all together. By using roll cages, this not only reduces the risk of items coming into contact with each other but also eliminates the damage that can be caused if a pallet falls while being transported.

A determined focus on using the latest packing methods should not overshadow unnecessary wastage – one way of meeting this head on is to not only recycle plastic and shrink wrapping, but re-use it, creating what’s known as a closed-loop recycling process within the warehouse. This increases site efficiency and also reduces the amount of material that needs to be sent to landfill.
The open culture discussed earlier can really help in driving the trialling and, in some cases, introduction of more efficient and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Just one example of innovation in this area is utilising a bag and tote system, where products are suitably packed and placed in a tote bag before this is returned by the customer for re-use – eliminating the need for new packaging.
Office Depot is at the coal face when it comes to realising the importance of flexible packing solutions that enhance the overall experience a customer has had. Given the intense competition that exists in the market, the packaging stage of the selling process should therefore be properly capitalised on.


About Office Depot, Inc.
Formed by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, Office Depot, Inc. is a leading global provider of products, services, and solutions for every workplace – whether your workplace is an office, home, school, or car.