Packaging Techniques for Outbound Logistics

Written by Lawrence Ho Mun Yong, DLSM

by Lawrence Ho Mun Yong, DLSM

Outbound logistics refersto the outgoing of goods from their storage in the warehouse to transportation to various locations anddistribution of goodsto the end customers. The company to choose the correct distribution channels, maintaining a logical inventory stocking system, a good packaging process, andoptimiseddelivery solutions to ensure the outbound logistics run smoothly and efficiently.

There are several key considerations for a successful outbound logistics operation. These includes:

  1. Warehousing inventory
  2. Processing orders
  3. Picking of products
  4. Packing finished goods
  5. Transporting finished goods to end-user
  6. Scheduling drivers time table and warehouse staff
  7. Working along with third-party transportation companies
Warehouse risks
Image taken from https://sipmm.edu.sg/key-performance-indicators-minimising-warehouse-risks/

Key Functions of Packaging

The packaging is considered one of the most essential processes for finished products before shipment. Each package should be designed to adapt to individual customer’s and country’s requirements and their requests. This includes information for the ease of identification of the products for whom it may concern. The convenience and economical packaging material used will be safe for transportation. Other things to consider for a good package must be cost-efficient, easy to handle, and also depending on the end location, if waterproofing is needed has to be taken into account.This is to safeguard finished goods, and also to represents the quality of the goods inside the package.

Packaging for Protection

Protecting the product is the up and foremost important thing to take note of. Proper packaging using the right material has to be chosen to ensure that the goods reach the final destination intact and perfectly without any damages. Products such as boxes, tins, jars, plastic materials need to be properly designed to be able to withstand stress levels such as weight compression, waterproofing, dropping, and shaking when it is in the process of shipping to the end-user.

Packaging for Promotion

Besides the durability of the product, one should also ensure that the packaging is attractive to promote the product. From the placement of the brand name, company logo, the font used, to the artwork including the types of colors used is important as these can attract and ensure that consumers can recognize the company or brand of the product.

Packaging for Accessibility and Functionality

Ensurethat the consumer can access the product easily and serving its functions is also another important consideration when designing a package. For example, if the purchased product is a soft item, a consumer would probably pass up the product that is encased in heavy plastic that might increase the cost of the transportation and the packaging due to their heavy weights and instead, favor the one that is sheathed in lightweight cardboard that cost lesser and easier to access to.

Packaging for Environmental Considerations

As many consumers have become more environmentally conscious, there are a lot of companies choose more ECO-friendly material or different kinds of packaging techniques. Such as biodegradable packaging to enhance their business image to the end consumers and offer or motivates a consumer to buy their product or use their services every single time.

Levels of Packaging

Each level of packaging serves a different purpose. It is to advertise and provide clear and sharp information on the outer packaging to others. With the correct and right material, it will preserve and protect the products.

  • Primary Packaging, which refers to the product in its immediate container.
  • Secondary Packaging, which refers to an additional layer of protection that is kept till the product is ready for use.
  • Tertiary Packaging, which refers to final packaging components for storage identification or transportation.

Types of Packaging Materials

The packaging is crucial for any kind of industry,the main takes ups is to protect the package or product from any kinds of potential hazards. This dangercan occur anywhere, from the storagein the warehouseto their distribution process, and all other kinds of scenarios that may affect the quality of the products have to be well thought of during the packaging process. Each material used in packaging has to serve a different purpose. There is a wide range of availablepackaging materials and most of thecommonly used are cardboard, plastics, wood, metal, aluminum & paper.

Marking and Labelling

Marking means an identification number, descriptive name,instructions, weight specification, or UN marksrequired on the outer packaging of hazardous materials or dangerous goods.Labels show the specific of the primary and subsidiary hazards posed by the materials in a dangerous goods package. The specific colors, codes, and pictogramis to clearly and immediately identify the type of materials inside the package.These are the important information that are necessary to be displayed whenpreparing a dangerous goods package for transportation or shipment. Labels and markings related to the materials like their hazardous information in a  package should always be displayed. It is to ensure the shipment is handled properly,cases such as accidents, spillage, and exposure can be prevented at all costs. Therefore, a responsible and cautious person has to be chosen to handle and prepare the package by showing all the correctinformationand to comply with the safety regulations.

Types of Material Handling Equipment

Materials handling is a logistics movement that includes any process that involves the movement between vehicles,conveyors belt, forklift, pallet jet. The involvement may include automated, semi-automated, manual handling of the equipment.

Material Handling equipment
Image taken from https://www.indiamart.com/aadhyafabtechnologies/material-handling-equipment-services-sales.html

The handling processes must always look into the safety and health of the workers. The company management must determine and come up with a set of policies on the way to handle this heavy equipment. Companies may have to look into each and individual worker’s key health and safety concerns. By planning their skills training and understandings that are related to the equipment they are handling and listen to what are the challenges they may face to help reduce any risk to the workers.

Package Handling

Goods will be handled by first-mile service providers, air freight personnel, customer, and last-mile partners. In some cases, somecardboard packages may not have the strength to hold the type of product inside the carton boxes, it might have fallen apart during the transportation process. These are the packages that might have rubbed against other parcels or boxes during theirjourney or it could happen when they are in the production line and it created friction which causes damage.Secure packaging and considerations stated below are some of the ways to reduce damages.

Considerations when using Carton Boxes

  1. Ensure that there is no space in the box. The product will not knock against each other and get damaged during the shipment.
  2. Chose the right packaging material. Considerations include the weight, size, shape, value of the product, and fragility.
  3. Use the right sealing material and sealing the boxes with the H-taping method as it is more secure.
  4. Using strapping bands to further protect the shipment.
  5. Ensure labelingis marked on the boxes. This is to ensure that boxes together during transit and deliver to the correct customer.

Considerations when loading cargo onto pallets

  1. It is always to place the heaviest boxes at the bottom and moving up with the lightest boxes on the top.
  2. Make sure that the goods are stack evenly and avoid any space in between the boxes.
  3. Do not over stack on the pallet. There is a limitation on the size and weight of the pallet.
  4. Add edge protectors and strapping band to further protect the cargo to prevent accident it can hold the goods firmly.
  5. Ensure that the wrapping plastic wraps the pallet continuously from bottom to top overlapping the previous layer.
  6. Marking and labels to be placed on the side of the pallet, making sure that it is visible with the necessary information.

Conclusion

A good and reliable logistics company will always keep the package safe and ensures that the products will arrive at the designated location in good condition and free from any damages.Considerations on what suitable packaging required will be based on what goods they are handling.

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Detailed informationand essential details on the goods will be labeled properly with their correct markings on the carton boxes. This is to guide the workers in the warehouse, ensuring their safety, and lastly, also to provide ease to the end-user when they are trying to access their packages.


References

Carrie Windham. (2020). “Product Packaging techniques” Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/factors-affecting-product-adaptation-3946.html, accessed 25/11/2020.

Federal Aviation. (2019). “Marking and Labeling”. Retrieved from https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/safecargo/how_to_ship/mailing_labeling/, accessed 12/12/2020.

Goh Siaw Lieng, DLSM. (2020). “Packaging for Shipment”. Retrieved from https://sipmm.edu.sg/essential-warehousing-practices-logistics-integration/#Packaging_for_Shipment,accessed 08/12/2020.

Kate Lim Boon Yar, DLSM. (2020). “Effective Packaging for Outbound Logistics”. Retrieved from https://sipmm.edu.sg/effective-packaging-outbound-logistics/, accessed 28/11/2020.

About the Author Lawrence Ho Mun Yong has substantive years of experience in military logistics operations, and is currently an Operation Specialist. He holds the Executive Certificate in Logistics Management, and is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). Lawrence completed the Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (DLSM) on December 2020 at SIPMM Institute.

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