Packing Packing and Unitization
It’s not just about thinking about bumps, but about preventing the item from being exposed to water and dust, as well as preventing the friction that occurs due to moving the load.
Packing is an English word that means “packaging”. And that is precisely what happens in this area of Intralogistics. We are talking about the process of accommodation and protection of goods before shipping to the customer. Right after Picking , which is the separation of the product inside the storage unit , professionals in the Packing area are concerned with packing the item that was ordered.
The central objective of this service is to prevent the goods from suffering damage during transport. It’s not just about thinking about bumps, but about preventing the item from being exposed to water and dust, as well as preventing the friction that occurs due to moving the load. Such concerns demonstrate that the accommodation, packaging and packaging of a product are always personalized due to characteristics such as weight, size and format. In this work, it is also possible to mischaracterize the appearance of the merchandise with the intention of preventing theft, especially in the case of small and high-value items.
Packing professionals can use different materials. Below are the most common types of inputs used in this activity, according to the Grupo TCP blog :
- “loose filling : a larger box is used, in which the part is placed and, to complement the free space, loose materials are used (foam, styrofoam, paper, among others) as a way to protect the load from impacts during displacement ;
- wedging and shoring : a larger box is used, in which the piece is placed, but a more resistant material is also used to reinforce both the box itself and parts of the product. For example, wood can be used as a way to prop the item inside the box;
- wrapping : a larger box is used, in which the part is placed, and the product is wrapped in protective material (bubble wrap or inflatable packaging);
- molded overlays : made for that specific part, they enclose the entire item so it can be transported.”
But in the classification above, only the materials that cover the transported products against shock waves, common on Brazilian roads due to holes and speed bumps, for example, are being mentioned. Other inputs are also used to pack the goods, as we can see in the listing on the Promtec website :
- “The wooden box – This is a very old packaging format, which generally transports units of different natures. The wooden box is in great demand in the agribusiness segment (fruits and vegetables). Despite being practical, this format offers little protection to the product, as it is at the mercy of moisture and, due to its weight, is not as comfortable for the consumer.
- Paper and cardboard – Paper or aluminum packaging is easy to handle and simple to recycle. The light weight and production costs also compensate, and they come in the form of bags, boxes, bundles and envelopes. One of its limitations is that it does not resist humidity. Another point to consider is its fragility, especially when the cardboard package is compared to the weight of the items to be packaged. This makes cardboard not recommended for packaging different types of food.
- Glass – Glass packaging is highly recommended for storing food. They also satisfy the customer because they allow him to observe the characteristics of the product inside the package, since the glass can be translucent or even transparent. However, it is a material that is very vulnerable to damage, as it breaks very easily, especially during transport. Glass is one of the materials that takes the longest to decompose. Its use is recommended when it comes to packaging canned products, such as sweets, nuts, pastes, jellies, cream cheese and others.
- Tin or Aluminum – Tin and aluminum packaging is recommended for items that require protection from moisture, odors, and light. They also have thermal characteristics, promoting cooling and conservation. Although it is a recyclable material, aluminum contains a very polluting element in its composition, which is bauxite. Therefore, more sustainable companies avoid using this material. It is widely applied in the storage of sweets, beverages, vegetables, sardines and other foods.
- Other materials – In addition to the materials mentioned above, the packaging can be made of other materials:
- tetra pak (aluminium, cardboard, polyethylene);
- metallic alloys”.
The transport of these goods can be carried out in full load mode, when all items belong to the same supplier, or in a unitized way. Unitization occurs when products from different origins share the same space, with each customer paying only for the cube that was actually used. Finally, the unitization of loads is the practice of gathering different goods in a single volume . According to the site Comprova , these are the most common materials used in this modality:
- “Pallets – Pallets are widely used for storing goods and also help in the process of unitizing loads. Made of wood, plastic or metal, they serve as a base for items in the warehouse or vehicle. The boxes are secured to the pallets with ropes, straps or stretch film. Thus, in addition to staying together and moving more conveniently, they remain firm during the route, avoiding damage.
- Containers – Containers are well known for their use in maritime transport and have been used to unitize loads in warehouses. Because they are large boxes made of metal, they can hold a large amount of volumes, facilitating the organization of space and processes.
- Polyester meshes – Polyester meshes are used for unitizing, especially larger and heavier goods, in a process called pre-slinging. Because they are quite resistant, the meshes allow the unitized load to be lifted with the help of cranes and moved from one place to another.
- Plastic bales – These are plastic packages molded by a machine called a baler that form bales of items. That way, they stay pretty tight inside those packages. They are quite common for food products, such as grains in general, beverages packaged in PET bottles, among others.
- Big bags – Big bags are large and resistant bags that hold up to two tons of cargo. They are indicated for goods in bulk or that are packed in plastic bags.”
But how to choose the right inputs? The SacLogística website offers some very useful tips! Follow:
- “ Suitability to the product – First of all, the packaging must be compatible with the product. That is, the physicochemical characteristics of the product cannot compromise the integrity of the package, nor vice versa. In this sense, characteristics such as dimensions, weight, fragility, thermal needs, among others, need to be evaluated.
- Customer satisfaction – For marketing, packaging is the product cover. In addition to the protection function, it assumes the role of envisioning positive experiences in the client. Therefore, the packaging must facilitate handling by the customer, that its disposal is not a problem, that it contains all the necessary information and, above all, that it fulfills the role of protecting the product. Undoubtedly, the packaging of the product can be the differential for the choice of customers.
- Packaging cost – One of the main challenges faced by logistics management is reconciling packaging prices with its efficiency. In fact, this is an item that greatly increases the company’s costs, and therefore must be given full attention by the logistics professional. In this sense, a study should be carried out on the adequacy of packaging to the product. Finding the ideal package to protect the product, it is then necessary to look for suppliers that will bring the best solutions for the company.
- Supplier certification – The choice of packaging suppliers is an extremely important item. We must pay attention to the certifications of these companies to obtain the best quality products. In addition to quality certifications, it is necessary to pay attention to certifications in favor of the environment. That is, choosing suppliers whose processes and products are in line with the preservation of the environment.
- Environment – In general, the destination of the packages is the same: the garbage. In this way, the packaging should facilitate disposal by customers, not being a burden that will generate a headache for them. As it is a disposable item, the choice of material must consider mitigating damage to the environment as much as possible . ”
And what are the advantages of a well-done Packing service ? Well, basically, there are three:
- Greater customer satisfaction – Customer satisfaction is linked to the service provided by the company. In this sense, having a structured logistics system is essential to meet the needs and expectations of customers. Therefore, a well-structured Packing process guarantees the protection and physical integrity of the products.
- Greater productivity – The Packing process is directly related to productivity levels in the company’s operation. This is because defining the correct packaging for the type of product generates gains in the company’s operation, making it more productive.
- Less waste – Having products available in exact quantities requires operations to achieve maximum performance, as well as conscientious consumption of materials. In this sense, operational development means production gains and less waste. Logistic packaging is a necessary cost for the product. But knowing how to size it correctly avoids waste of materials and excessive expenses.
Of course, repeating, such advantages are presented when this service is well done. By the way, it is necessary to understand that the Packing is part of the sales process. Upon receiving the goods, the customer notices the packaging first. A well-protected product encourages consumers to make new purchases, as they will feel more secure.
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