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How to Prepare for Peak Packaging Season

  • 28th September 2022
  • 6 min read

As we enter the final quarter of the year, thousands of businesses across the UK are bracing themselves for the Christmas rush. 

More than 40% of retail businesses has over half of their sales during the final three months of the year, and several eCommerce companies see their packing times drastically increase. In 2020, Courier Evri delivered 72 million parcels between Black Friday and Christmas

With Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Christmas just around the corner, it is vital that business owners and managers have optimised the logistics, supplies and processes for their packaging, in order to cater to demand. 

Look at previous performance 

When it comes to packaging, historical sales data is invaluable. If you’ve got access to last year’s sales performance, it will give you insight into what could happen this year.

Ideally, you should start this process as early as possible, so that you can put procedures in place before peak shopping season starts. If you wait to review year-on-year data in October or November, it will be too late. Instead, look at your data from as early as August to see if there are any peaks or troughs and make informed, data driven decisions. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. 

It might be worth mentioning about securing production capacity with us for the period too as lead times in the industry go out considerably

Review your packaging process

If you’re expecting the volume of orders to increase during the festive period, it’s vital that your packaging process is streamlined so that you’re getting maximum output with minimal waste.

Time is money, and if your packaging process is too long and you don’t have the right tools, machinery and resources, lead times, you’ll be at risk of losing customers to competitors.

From reviewing pack benches, to ensuring materials are in the best place, and  looking at introducing wrapping machinery, strapping tools and tape dispensers, you can speed up the process, be more efficient, and therefore accommodate higher volumes. 

Don’t forget about the plastic packaging tax 

Earlier this year the UK government introduced a plastic packaging levy in a bid to reduce the amount of single use packaging imported into the UK. 

Companies that manufacture or import plastic into the UK will be charged £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% of recycled plastic. This will be the first Christmas period following this tax, so don’t get caught out. Companies that fail to comply may be fined or penalised. 

Consider sustainable packaging materials 

An eye watering amount of waste is created during Christmas, and tonnes of packaging materials end up in landfill. 

However, you can reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfill by choosing sustainable packaging materials, such as responsibly sourced corrugate, recyclable polythene and recyclable void fill. 

If you want to ensure your packaging process is sustainable you could go a step further  and choose to partner with net zero couriers such as DPD, who deploy electric vehicles across their fleet in order to comply with the government’s Road to Zero Strategy.

Be smart with your packaging 

Millions of packages and parcels are transported during the Christmas period - it’s  important to ensure your packaging materials keep your products safe during transit. Your packaging budget will determine the materials, design and method of transport, but you shouldn’t ever scrimp on protecting your products from the moment they leave your premises.

If items are damaged during transit, customers are protected under the Consumer Rights - the seller must take responsibility to rectify the situation if there is a problem with the item when it arrives.

Here are a few ways to protect items and reduce your returns rate: 

  • Choose the right size packaging 
  • Train extra agency staff to use the correct packaging
  • Use cushioning such as void fill to protect fragile items 
  • Ensure packaging is watertight and waterproof to avoid water damage 
  • Train employees to load and unload packages from the vehicle properly and safely
  • Use the correct symbols for fragile items and items that should be stored a specific way up 

Think about customer experience 

Customer experience should always be at the forefront when it comes to deciding on packaging materials. You could even take this a step further and offer gift wrapping as an extra (creating another revenue stream). 

If you want your brand to be renowned luxury, you could use Christmas to launch a premium unboxing experience.  One brand who does this really well is a high-end British luxury fashion brand, Fairfax and Favor. Their exceptional packaging has created brilliant impressions, with packaging getting its very own reviews online.

Consider switching to a single source supplier 

It’s commonplace for organisations to source their packaging materials from several different suppliers. 

But more often than not, this means you’re working harder, not smarter. For example, if you’re getting cardboard from one supplier, pallet wrap from another supplier, and void fill from another, you’ll have to orchestrate different delivery dates and handle a lot of admin. 

When you opt for a single source supplier to deliver the right packaging materials, streamline your packaging process and find a contingency solution that suits you, which is critical during peak periods. 

Speak to our expert packaging consultants 

When business owners prepare for Christmas, they’ll see the fruits of their labour and be able to meet increased demand.

Businesses such as Titan Packaging will review your packaging process from start to finish and help you transition to a more sustainable, cost-effective packaging process that follows the plastic tax guidance. Speak to one of our experts.

Written by: Samantha Hanson Procurement Director

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