Whether you want to save the planet, a tree, satisfy your customers or just save some money, going smaller makes sense.
As we look towards a greater connected world where more commerce moves across national borders rather than sourced locally, it is important to understand that putting the contents in the right package contributes in many ways. Today shopping is no longer done just at a retail location or a big shopping mall, what the consumer finds online could and often is a half a world away. Air Freight plays a key role in connecting the manufacturer with the customer no matter where the two are on the planet. This applies to Business to Consumer as well as Business to Business shipments.
Aircraft today seldom weigh out… meaning most of the time it is the space that a shipment takes up onboard a plane that makes the difference and determines the price. To put it into perspective one ocean freighter carries the equivalent of hundreds of freighter aircraft. Space is at a premium for airfreight as is speed. So why does going small make sense?
First is cost. No way around it planes bulk out and the more space a box takes the more cost of flying it is applied. Dimensional weight charges are applied to help cover the cost of space. How many times have we received a large box at our office or doorstep only to open it and fine a myriad of air pillows, popcorn, and paper, and the actual item shipped takes up but a fraction of the space in the box. Guess what… we are paying for the space all of those packaging items took up and the premium mounts up fast.
Second is damage. Study after study has shown that as you pack items closer to the dimensions of the carton, box, or crate they suffer less damage in transit. No one wants to receive the call that you need to send a new item to replace the first one that was damaged in transit. The additional cost, customer frustration, and doing it a second time is never good for the bottom line or the planet.
Third is what I will call “return to sender”. With the growing Business to Consumer business it is commonplace for the customer to order several of the desired items in different sizes or colors and then upon receipt they will choose which one is best and return the others. What this means is size matters again as the customer will routinely use the same box they received the merchandise in to send it back. Thus if the box is larger than necessary then you face another dimensional weight charge, and possible risk damage to the item if they customer does not use all packing materials on the return.
Fourth is doing the right thing for the environment. As technology changes more of the aircraft and vehicles of today, while more efficient, could have less cubic capacity then the older generation aircraft or delivery vehicles they are replacing. This means if the size of the packaging does not change the same amount of packages could require an additional flight, a larger vehicle, or even a second truck for delivery. All adding up to more carbon emissions as well as added cost – for often shipping air instead of valued goods.
Right sizing is something we all are challenged to do… whether it is our network, our organizations, or simply our packaging. Putting the right item in the best fitting box makes financial sense any way you look at it.
We look forward to seeing you at the ACF in October in Paris.
All the best,