Packaging Advice

How logistic companies are influencing the requirements for packaging

Packaging no longer refers to a simple cardboard box, it is much more complex than that. It’s a coordinated system of ensuring goods can move safely, economically, and efficiently through the supply chain.

We have seen new trends in ecommerce and logistics having major impacts on packaging. The rise in ecommerce created many new challenges as the product packaging must not only be top quality to protect the goods, but the delivery of the packaging also has to be punctual in order to avoid delays across the production plants and beyond.

Due to Covid-19, logistics and transportation industries were hampered in various ways across air, freight, and sea. Shipping and transports have been among those that have suffered the most significantly as lockdowns and strict measures made things much more complicated. Logistic companies were forced to adapt quickly to all the challenges in the global supply chain and this included reinforcing new packaging preferences.

So how do these logistic companies influence the requirements for packaging elsewhere? And does it have a further impact on the packaging shortages we are experiencing?

In this article, we will be exploring the different logistic companies and how they influence the requirements for packaging.

Royal Mail packaging requirements

Royal Mail’s vision is to be recognised as the best delivery company in the UK and across Europe. They are committed to managing their impact on the world and maintaining a positive relationship with customers. This can be seen by the way they are starting to push corn starch plastic in their bid to become even more sustainable, as well as pushing certain packaging recommendations. Some of these include:

  • Influencing customers to use padded envelopes for sharp edges or odd shapes.
  • Filling out containers with cushioning material like bubble wrap or polystyrene chips.
  • Sealing securely with nylon or vinyl tape
  • Use a fragile sticker if necessary to show the courier how the package needs to be handled.

The push from logistic companies such as Royal Mail on packaging products influences which types of packaging is going to be more in demand as customers try to meet their requirements for safe shipping. This can only further impact the packaging shortages we have been experiencing this year as the demand for packaging increases.

Amazon packaging requirements

The ecommerce giant that is Amazon doesn’t just change the way we shop, but it also influences what the things we buy look like. In 2018, Amazon started to encourage brands to change the way certain products are packaged so that they will be easier to ship. Amazon reportedly convinced some brands to alter their shipping and packaging strategies, for example, redesigning their products so they were more of a box shape, or more compact so that they were easier to deliver. This comes after Amazon previously received negative press for using huge packages to deliver tiny items – something they have since vowed to stop. This is likely one of the reasons why they are now pushing for better alternatives.

It shows how much brands are starting to rely on ecommerce as they agreed to spend money on redesigns. Amazon is, of course, a hugely successful logistic company so there is no surprise that packaging businesses and brands will be inspired by their packaging decisions and listen to their feedback. This just shows how much logistic companies can influence the requirements of packaging and so will increase the demand.

DPD packaging requirements

According to UK’s ‘leading parcel delivery brand’, DPD, products should be packaged in a sturdy square or rectangular cardboard box and should be tightly sealed. DPD also recommend that the edges are sealed with tape and the contents of the parcel must not protrude the packaging. They say packing boxes can be bought specifically designed for shipping goods and these are stronger and offer the best possible protection for the contents of the parcel. With the cardboard shortages, suggestions such as these can also influence the packaging that is in high demand as customers try to meet the requirements that will ensure their package is delivered safely.

As for the inner packaging, DPD recommend to always fill the space around the item completely using soft filling material for light goods and stronger filling material for the more heavy items. In addition, DPD also have maximum dimensions and weights for the parcel, for example they must not weigh more than 31.5kg.

packaging audit

Hermes packaging requirements

Hermes pride themselves on their ‘cheap parcel delivery service’ and their packaging requirements page is more simplistic compared to the more lengthy requirements of DPD. They simply ask all of their customers to:

  • Wrap the items
  • Pack the empty space
  • Put the address inside the package
  • Seal the package with tape, securing any loose edges
  • Label the package and then send the parcel.

For the inner packaging, Hermes recommend using either bubble wrap or newspaper for an environmentally friendly option to protect the fragile items as their scanners do not detect ‘fragile’ or ‘handle with care’ labels. Similar to DPD, they also recommend using strong tape as it’s much more durable and secure and to cover all openings including gaps, down the sides and underneath as well as taping the corners. With so much tape needed, this would have been impacted by the shortages of raw materials that affected the global adhesives industry during the pandemic with plant shutdowns and severely limited sea and land freight capabilities affecting the availability of raw materials for adhesives production.

It’s important to note though that customer expectations are increasing and both individuals and businesses expect to get their products faster, more flexibly and sometimes at low or no delivery cost as well. Manufacturing is also becoming increasingly more customised and while this is good for customers, it’s hard work for the logistics industry. It does create a growing pressure for them to deliver these expectations. This is not helped by the pandemic, supply chain issues, and ongoing packaging shortages that have arisen from the turbulences over the past two years. 

Wholesale packaging from Swiftpak

Despite the challenges the whole industry has faced with cardboard shortages, supply chain issues, and price increases, at Swiftpak we remain committed to continuing to provide our customers with the best protective packaging solutions and first-class service we possibly can.

If you have any enquiries, please contact our packaging experts today who are always happy to help.