The fulfillment and distribution operations of e-commerce, which represents over a quarter of retail activity, is being afflicted by a shortage of drivers and packers. There simply aren’t enough people willing or able to do these jobs. Consumers are becoming nervous about what the labor shortage means for the holiday season and there have been cries across both traditional and social media for businesses to do something and save Christmas. Implementing automation in facilities is an easy way to fix this problem both in the warehouse and on the road.

Packaging Today

While it has its complexities, it can be argued that packing careers are often performed under considerable pressure, are low paid and involve working hours that are less than ideal. Retention for such jobs is low across the board, and training new hires is time consuming and expensive. No matter how good or bad the employee is at their job, the resulting package is the retailer’s principal touch point with the customer. A poorly packaged product in an oversized box with ineffective void-fill can leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth and discourage repeat business.

The box must be erected, filled, sealed and labeled accurately and securely. This sequence of operations is an obvious candidate for automation but even in distribution centers that have made significant investments in automating storage and retrieval, packing is often still a largely manual process. This is likely because the variability of the contents and the need to make judgment calls makes this operation seem too complex for automation. However, here’s how the CVP Automated Packaging Solutions from Sparck Technologies can help this holiday season.

Packaging for the Future

The CVP Automated Packaging Solutions from Sparck Technologies — the new name for Packaging by Quadient — create ‘right-size’ boxes in seconds by scanning and measuring goods, whether they be single or multi-item orders, cutting to size and erecting a box, sealing, weighing and labeling automatically.

With the CVP Impack, one or two operators can pack up to 500 parcels an hour, while the CVP Everest uses two operators to pack 1,100 parcels an hour. On average, this replaces up to 20 manual packing stations, which, in times such as these, means savings on labor, recruitment, training and HR costs.

The benefits of automated packing can be felt on the road as well. Less wasteful, more compact packages mean a higher density of commercial goods on vehicles. Ideally, a vehicle out for delivery would leave the warehouse with all the packages to be delivered in a full shift. But too often, the driver has to make several trips back to ‘restock’, making a significant part of the driver’s day unproductive. Right-sized boxes through automated packaging systems can reduce the volume of goods by around 50% on average, potentially doubling the driver’s productivity and halving the vehicle’s impact on the environment.

Sparck Technologies’ packaging solutions can help solve the labor crisis with systems that can reduce waste, save on operating costs and boosting efficiency. The world of e-commerce is suffering, and the holidays will only make things harder. With automated packaging solutions, suppliers can keep up with holiday demand. 

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