This article features New-Tech Packaging expert Tiffany Donovan.
Paper, cushionings, bubble. Does what’s in the package really matter? Can a change in void fill save you substantial costs? Or are we just talking peanuts here?
“Too many companies wait too long to make a change in packaging that could save them hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Tiffany Donovan, Packaging Solutions Specialist at New-Tech says. “When it comes to void fill, they don’t realize how many new options and opportunities there are for huge savings.”
Void Fill Has a Big Job to Do
When you think about void fill, it has a big job to do. It must fill in the gaps between the package and the contents to prevent shifting and damage during transit and also ensure a happy unboxing experience for the customer.
There are many options for void fill, including various weights of paper, different mls of plastics, bubble wrap, air pillows, and many new recyclable products. And it doesn’t just stop there. The process for how you pack has evolved with packaging automation bringing additional cost savings and efficiencies.
Choosing the wrong void fill or process could have significant consequences. Products may not survive transit, increasing your product damage costs and potentially harming your brand reputation.
For some businesses, especially e-commerce, how your package arrives is often the first physical point of contact a customer has had with your brand.
Paper vs. Plastic: What Void Fill Should I Use?
The answer: it all depends! There is no black-and-white answer for which products should use paper void fill vs. which products should use plastic void fill. It all depends on the product, package, process, and answers to questions like these:
- Are your products fragile?
- Are your products heavy?
- Do your products have sharp edges?
- Is there significant space inside between the product and the package?
- Could the product bend or be scuffed in shipping?
- How important is aesthetics?
- Do you want to brand the void fill?
- Are you looking to increase your sustainability efforts?
- How important is it to your customers to have an easy recycling option?
How to Decrease Product Damages and Increase Cost Savings
First and foremost, if you’ve been using the same void fill or pack-out process for years, then it’s time for an analysis.
“At New-Tech, we’ll come out and do a pack-out analysis and cost comparison of different options,” Tiffany says. “We’ll have your employees involved, so it’s true to the process at your company. It’s the best way to uncover where your best opportunities exist.”
The analysis may include packing out several boxes with paper void fill, air pillows, and other options to compare the material used, process efficiency, and overall costs.
“If you’re using paper, we may look at a heavier weight, or we may look at switching to air-filled bubbles that are less expensive if they can properly protect your product,” Tiffany says. “If you’re looking to increase sustainability efforts, we’ve got lots of options. There are more environmentally friendly packaging products than ever before.”
When to Add Packaging Automation
In other situations, the New-Tech analysis may look at how the pack-out process can be shifted from a manual process to an automated machine.
“If you are doing it manually, there will be variations in how the product is packaged from the beginning of the day to the end,” Tiffany says. “And with variations comes more potential for damages.”
For example, with an automated paper void fill system, the paper is properly crinkled every time for consistency in all packages all day long. An automated system also provides faster packing times, better ergonomics, and lower labor costs.
Start with a Void Fill Evaluation
Bottomline, a change in void fill is not just peanuts. Cost savings and opportunities exist. There are many solutions available that can better protect your products, improve processes, create a win for the environment, and improve the customer experience.
Start today by contacting New-Tech Packaging for an analysis of your void fill and pack-out process.