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The world of e-commerce is big, and it’s inarguably growing. Even more so due to the global crisis. Before the global crisis hits, it was already expected that the global e-commerce packaging market would reach USD 61.55 billion by 2025. Many shoppers are avoiding physical stores, which means they are going online to make their purchases.
Responding to the shift, retail outlets are increasingly venturing into the e-commerce space. With e-commerce on the up and up, the e-commerce packaging market is on rise as well. With Asia Pacific expected to hold the largest share, as it witnesses a rapid increase in retail e-commerce growth due to the rising middle class in China, India and Indonesia. Interestingly, China alone accounts for 40% of the world’s retail e-commerce sales in recent years.
As e-commerce gains prominence, packaging manufacturers must adapt or risk being side-lined.
Role of packaging in e-commerce supply chain
E-commerce packaging typically consists of a box made out of carton and cushioning materials, such as air pillows or bubble packaging to prevent spillage or damage to the goods. In e-commerce, parcels are handled up to 20 times or more on their way to a consumer than they would be when traditionally just sent to a retail store. In a typical e-commerce journey, the package goes from manufacturer, to warehouse, to a fulfilment centre, to delivery/shipment, before it reaches the customer.
As e-commerce involves direct-to-consumer delivery, the packaging must perform a variety of crucial tasks related to maintaining the value and functionality of the products contained within it. These tasks include preventing the products within the packaging from incurring damage or spillage and facilitating the handling and storage of products. As these fundamental tasks are critical, it is also crucial that the packaging is durable enough to withstand rough handling, to avoid potential supply chain disruption.
Automating the packaging process to streamline operation
In order to keep up with the fast-moving landscape and the heightened demands that the e-commerce supply chain poses, manufacturers can turn to automated packaging systems for e-commerce packaging. Putting such systems in place significantly improves production speed.
Automated packaging systems are able to multitask and fold multiple steps of the packaging process — like sealing and labeling — into one single step. This way, these technologies can both increase production speeds and allow packaging companies to redeploy their staff to higher value tasks such as shipping, receiving, and picking. At the same time, this also improves the consistency of packaging and reduces the rate of error during the packaging process.
Repetitive or tedious tasks can be easily performed by automated packaging systems. By using such technologies instead of workers to manage processes that demand highly repetitive motions, it’s possible to both increase productivity and reduce the risk of injury.
With automated packaging, every package is well-protected through a standardised packing process even should each product have a custom-tailored packaging design and shape. Since the packaging machine will only use the right amount of material to create the packaging, this helps businesses save a considerable amount in packaging costs by reducing the amount of waste and streamlining the types of packaging needed to prevent over-ordering of various materials.
Also, with automated packaging systems, a set amount of packaging per product that can be calculated easily with further reduces the production cost.
Adhesives for effective e-commerce packaging
Using the right hot melt glue enhances the handling of packaging within the manufacturing process. As hot melt glue works well with the high speeds of packaging machinery, it reduces downtime, streamlines production and creates efficiencies while decreasing overall packaging costs.
Bostik’s Kizen® is designed for ease of use and features strong bond performance, providing packaging manufacturers with comfort, security and efficiency to meet their specific requirements. The four products under the Kizen® line – Kizen® FORCE, Kizen® ICE and Kizen® HEAT and Kizen® COOL features fast set speed, broad processing windows, good thermal stability and adhesion to difficult substrates.
The Kizen® range are made to reduce adhesive usage in comparison to EVA and metallocenes conventional hot melt technologies. Kizen® comprises of more bio-sourced or renewable materials to lower the usage of fossils, and decreases both adhesive consumption and application temperature, allowing 10 to 30% saved energy.