Effective Packaging for Outbound Logistics

Written by Kate Lim Boon Yar, DLSM

by Kate Lim Boon Yar, DLSM

Outbound logistics refer to the outgoing of goods involves transportation, storage, and delivery that brings the products to the customer. And to move the finished product to the customer, there will be several things to consider from the packaging of finished goods and delivery to varies destination. Order from the customer can go from one carton to a large shipment. Thus, outbound logistics should optimize so that it can run as efficiently as possible.

The Functions of Packaging

Outbound logistics is a movement of goods from point A to point B of the destination. And to that effect, packaging should be designed to adapt to the customer’s request, transport, identification, and meet the regulation applicable.

From logistics, packaging should have the following function:

  • Convenient – for the package could be moved conveniently from one place to another place and can be handled easily.
  • Economical – if the packaging is expensive, the cost will be put into the product which will increase the price of the product.
  • Protective – the purpose of packaging is to protect the product from damage from all-weather and environment. And the risk of damage from during transporting, handling, and storing.
  • Communication – information carried on the packaging used as identification during handling, and storage processes.

The Levels of Packaging

Each level of packaging serves a different purpose. And each level plays an important role in protecting the product during movement and storage. It also to advertise and provides information on the outer packaging, so that it can be identified. With the right levels of packaging, it will effectively be preserved and protects the product.

  • Primary Packaging – mostly used for consumer package. It is usually a direct contact with the products. It is to protect the product and provides information to the consumer.
  • Secondary Packaging – they are packaging outside the primary packaging. It provides another level of protection. And branding of the products during shipping. Secondary Packaging can overlap tertiary packaging.
  • Tertiary Packaging – mostly used for warehouse storage and transportation package. They are to bundle the products together. At this stage, it provides additional protection to prevent damage during handling, storage, and transport of goods.

Packaging Materials

Packaging serves to protect the product inside. Choosing the right packaging material will require close attention to the details. It could be one of the biggest factors in making the product success. The right packaging not only attracts consumers but also to keep the product safe during transit. Therefore, packaging must be sturdy and reliable. There are always important points to consider when planning on the packaging, like packaging budget, material, sustainability, size, design, and suitability for transportation.

packaging materials use infographic
Image created by Lim Boon Yar, SIPMM (2020). Reference taken from: https://confessionsoftheprofessions.com/10-types-packaging-materials-use-infographic/

Labelling and Marking

Labelling is a form of communication on the packaging. It provided essential information about the products from branding, the content of the product to information to the staff who handled the cargo or parcel.

Product Labelling is design to give, information about the product and draw the attention of consumers to the products. It must be clear, readable, and easy to understand.
Common information is the use and care of the product, manufacturer name and address, expiry date, ingredients, handling, warning, and suggestion.

Shipping Label is direction givens for the person who is handling the goods. They will need to know the content inside the carton, inside palletize cartons or container before loading and unloading of the goods. Not only that it provides handling information, but easily identifiable and keeping the consignment together. And it is to distinguish the stock making it easier to find and unpack.

Handling Marks is safety and transit-related marking. They are in symbols and recognized universally. This is important as these symbols convey the conditions goods need to be kept when shipped.

shipping marks-
Image taken from: https://www.shippo.co.uk/tips-and-tricks/shipping-marks-and-how-to-label-cartons-for-international-transit
label cartons for international transit
Image taken from: https://www.shippo.co.uk/tips-and-tricks/shipping-marks-and-how-to-label-cartons-for-international-transit

Material Handling Equipment

Material Handling is the movement, protection, storage, and control of cargo throughout the process of manufacture and distribution, consumption, and disposal.

Material Handling is an essential component as it will help prevent accidents and improve efficiency in your facility. It can help improve the service by making the product easy to find, move, and ship out by reducing the amount of movement in moving the product and reduce product damages by properly transporting the products.

equipment used in warehouse
Image taken from: https://www.lencrowforklifts.com.au/news/different-types-of-material-handling-equipment-used-in-warehouse/

Package Handling

Packages are passed through many hands during the transit from warehouse to customer, which will be handle by first-mile service providers, air freight personnel, customer, and last-mile partners. For those boxes does not have the strength to hold the type of product ship, it could have fallen apart during the transportation stage. Packages can rub against other parcels and boxes during the journey, creating friction which causes damage. And to reduce the damage, secure packaging is needed.

The following factors should be taken into consideration for carton boxes:

  • Assessing the product requirement and chose the right packaging material. Example: weight, size, shape, value of the product and fragility.
  • Ensure there is no space in the box, so that product will not get damaged along the way. But do not overstuff the boxes as it could burst during delivery.
  • Always use the right sealing material and sealing the boxes with H-taping method.
  • H-taping keeps the boxes flap secure so, it will not be open accidentally during delivery. And for heavier boxes will require more tape to secure the seams.
  • Add the strapping band to further protect the shipment if needed
  • Ensure labelling are mark on the boxes. This is to ensure that boxes together during transit and deliver to the correct customer.

The following factors should be taken into consideration for loading on pallets:

Supply Chain Ads
  • It is always to place the heaviest boxes at the bottom and moving up with the lightest boxes on the top.
  • Ensure it is stack evenly and avoid any space in between the boxes.
  • Do not Pyramid stack or Overhang stack on the pallet.
  • Note there is a limitation on the size and weight on the pallet.
  • Add edge protectors and strapping band to further protect the shipment if needed.
  • Wrap the pallet continuously from bottom to top overlapping previous layer. And encircling at least three times over the boxes and secure the load to the pallet.
  • Labels and marking to be placed on the side of the pallet, making sure that it is visible with the necessary information for the handler to notice.


Products that are damaged during the transportation process can create difficulties. It is not only the value of the damage product cost and shipping cost but, as well as the cost of the replacement. Damaged goods give the company bad names and an upset customer. A good logistics packing keeps the product safe and ensures that the products arrive at the designated address in good form and free from any damage. And vital information on the packaging gives the distributor a lot of information about the produce and the suitable position to display the package. Numerous information is printed on the packaging label and even simple information on the products in the package if they are fragile and detailed handling guidance. And with suitable packaging, it allows the product to be store easily. It does not matter what the size of the product or how delicate it is if the right packaging is done.


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DHL. (2020). “Packaging Advise”Retrieved from http://www.dhl.com.sg/en/express/shipping/shipping_advice/packaging_advice.html, accessed 12/09/2020.

IRC Group. (2018). “Importance of Packaging in Logistics”Retrieved fromhttps://ircgroupglobal.com/importance-of-packaging-in-logistics/#, accessed 12/09/2020.

Jean Beh Lee Chin, DLSM.(2020). “Key Transport Considerations for Integrated Logistics”. Retrieved from SIPMM:  https://sipmm.edu.sg/key-transport-considerations-integrated-logistics, accessed 11/09/2020.

Shippo. (2020). “Shipping Marks and How to Label Cartons for International Transit”.Retrieved from https://www.shippo.co.uk/tips-and-tricks/shipping-marks-and-how-to-label-cartons-for-international-transit, accessed on 08/09/2020.

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About the Author: Kate Lim Boon Yar has substantial years of experience in customer service, including logistics operations. She holds an Executive Certificate in Supply Chain Management. Kate Lim is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). She completed the Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (DLSM) on September 2020 at SIPMM Institute.