Thursday, January 02, 2014

Staples Wins Supply Chain Innovation Award With Smart Packaging

With excessive packaging as the top complaint of customers, Staples found a technology that created the right size box for every item shipped from its eCommerce centers, reports SupplyChainBrain.

With Packsize's On Demand Packaging technology, boxes are now customized for each order through an integration of systems, equipment and processes. As a result, they have reduced percent of occurage by more than 15 percent, benefited from approximately 60 percent reduction in air bags and reduced break-pack cube by about 20-percent. Overall, there was roughly an 8-percent improvement in overall cube of orders.  Plus, 74 percent of Staples workers say the solution has made their job easier. 

Each day, SupplyChainBrain reports, Staples ships 650,000 - 1,000,000 cases from its U.S. fulfillment centers, operating  under well-tuned logistics system that guarantees any order placed before 5 p.m. will be delivered the next day to 96 percent of the population.  Approximately 40 percent of these cases are less-than-full-case orders.  These so-called break-pack orders have traditionally been picked into 7 to 14 different sizes of corrugated box types with the system selecting the best-fit box type based on the dimensions of the items in the order.  Nevertheless, almost 40 percent of the cube is wasted.

When Staples first considered the viability of the Packsize system, a major requirement was the solution’s ability to keep pace with the parameters of Staples’ current order cycle times. “We could not reduce Staples’ ability to meet its customer service in any way,” says Kiessner. “One of the primary challenges was the total speed.”

"With delivery time sacrosanct," says SupplyChainBrain, "Packsize officials adapted their technology to interface with Staples’ order management system to automatically calculate via an advanced algorithm the optimal box size for every incoming order and route it to the proper fulfillment center and the most suitable machine at that center."

Click HERE to read how the On Demand Packsize technology works in practice.

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