How to Transition From Traditional Bubble Cushioning to On-Demand Inflatable Systems
On-demand inflatable systems for protective packaging can improve efficiency at distribution centers. Here’s when to make the upgrade.
The year 2020 was pivotal for digital commerce and distribution centers. With more consumers shopping at home than ever before, online orders grew in volume worldwide. In the U.S., e-commerce accounted for 16 percent of all sales in Q2 2020. In Europe, e-commerce is on track to increase by 16.9 percent this year, almost double the pre-pandemic forecast of an 8.8 percent increase for 2020.
This overburdened many company’s fulfillment operations, creating unexpected growth at record speeds. Months later, businesses are still learning to adapt, searching for innovative solutions.
Properly packaging shipments with air cushions and other void fill is crucial for ensuring safe merchandise delivery. This practice also lowers costs by avoiding reshipping replacements for broken or damaged items, in turn delivering a better customer experience.
However, finding and securing the right packaging for your specific operation isn’t an easy feat. Here’s what you need to know:
How an On-Demand Inflatable System Can Help
Airspeed Inflatable Packaging offers protective solutions for wrapping, cushioning, void-fill, and even block and brace — and the advantages are striking:
On-demand systems can inflate protective material directly inside the box, simplifying the packing process with more precision and less movement needed from the packer. A single Airspeed system can simultaneously feed multiple pack stations, allowing more employees to work easier and faster.
Airspeed on-demand systems are designed for economy of movement. That means the film rolls used in the system are less bulky and easier to move than pre-inflated bubbles. Plus, cushioning can be inflated as needed by packers, making the product simpler to work with.
Less Space Used
Airspeed on-demand packaging ships in compact rolls of film instead of unwieldy rolls of bubbles, allowing more material to be stored in less storage space. This enables customers to purchase film in bulk and save on shipping. In fact, a single pallet of HC film is equivalent to nearly 1.5 truckloads of bubble. Even when ordering on an as-needed basis, costs associated with inbound delivery to distribution centers can be lowered since you’re not paying to ship air.
One AirSpeed Ascent system is compatible with various protective solutions, including the highly cushioned HC Barrier; eco-friendly HC Renew, made of recycled materials; and the stylish HC Inspyre, available in a range of colors to help brands make a lasting impression.
The proprietary square shape of the bubble cushions allows the packaging to conform perfectly with the shape of boxes, fitting into the tightest corners. This makes it easier to avoid using excessive packaging, saving costs on material usage while delivering a more organized and aesthetically pleasing unboxing experience.
Pregis even has on-demand inflatable systems for light cushioning needs, such as Quilt (inflated on the Mini Pak’r), which can conform to even tighter spaces or be utilized as a wrap.
When to Transition to an On-Demand Inflatable System
An on-demand inflatable system does more than make packing easier — it can translate into some impressive ROI. Here are some of the signs that you should make a transition into Airspeed or Mini Pak’r:
Do You Expect Rapid Growth?
If you’re about to launch a new product or your sales projections indicate an increased demand on your fulfillment center, restructuring with an on-demand inflatable system will increase the efficiency of your operation and help scale up bandwidth.
Are Your Employees Struggling to Keep Up?
The 2020 shipping boom exposed the flaws of many companies’ fulfillment operations — from inefficient processes to poor packaging strategy or labor limitations.
If employees are unable to sustain the volume of shipments, an on-demand inflatable system is a great solution: Airspeed products improve packing efficiency and provide a better user experience for employees.
Do You Want to Reduce Waste?
The square shape of Pregis’ HC products allows the protective bubbles to conform perfectly to the shape of boxes. This type of space efficiency makes it easier to use just the right amount of packing material, reducing overall supply use. It also minimizes human error when gauging the correct amount of packing. For example, employees can count the number of squares to use for a particular product instead of eyeballing the length of bubble roll.
Want to upgrade your distribution center with an on-demand inflatable system or need help optimizing your operation?