Following the announcement of a new partnership in November 2016, UPS and Sealed Air Corporation have opened a Packaging Innovation Center in Louisville, KY on the UPS Supply Chain Solutions campus. The center will focus on creating solutions for packaging and shipping challenges faced by e-commerce retailers and a variety of other sectors by maximizing efficiency, minimizing waste and reducing shipping costs.
“One of the biggest challenges UPS customers have with e-commerce and across other industry segments is that they struggle to create efficiencies and enhance profit margins whlle still improving consumers’ perception of their brand,” said Alan Gerhenhorn, Executive VP and CCO for UPS.
“UPS customers don’t just need supply chain innovation. They also need packaging innovation. Our partnership with Sealed Air and the new Packaging Innovation Center will allow UPS to bring a more complete set of solutions as we help customers re-imagine their entire supply chains, including packaging.”
Customers are increasingly interacting with packaging on a more regular basis, meaning brand perception is often derived from experience with a product’s packaging.
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“The at-home delivery experience is more important that it has ever been. Consumer expectations for fast, free, on-time delivery leave businesses and retailers with very little room for error,” said Jerome Peribere, President and CEO of Sealed Air. “The partnership between Sealed Air and UPS allows us to combine our decades of expertise and innovation to help our customers create those exceptional delivery experiences from the point of manufacturing all the way through to the moment of truth in front of the consumer.”
E-commerce will continue to grow worldwide through 2020, with projected sales ringing in at around $4 trillion, according to eMarketer. At the same time, the change in dynamics with e-commerce logistics and packaging are creating opportunities to drive new efficiencies.
Areas of opportunity include:
- Excessive waste of packaging materials
- Keeping costs down and customer satisfaction up despite increasing complexity
- Increased pressure on existing labor resources to produce more at higher speeds and lower costs and in more complex operational
- Eliminating risk of damage and spoilage
- Deploying automation solutions that can both scale up and down when needed
The Packaging Innovation Center already houses a number of cutting edge packaging solutions, including an automated system that eliminates the need for outer cartons, thus reducing dimensional weight by as much as 87 percent; an automated right-sizing system that eliminates empty void space in each box by approximately 60 percent; and a portfolio of packaging work-cell solutions that improve labor productivity, reduce product damage and create a consistent, enhanced experience for the end consumer.
The Center will also provide consulting services to companies, helping them identify where packaging efficiency improvements can be made and performing packaging analysis based on their specific e-commerce business needs and goals.
In addition to this partnership, UPS also provides solutions to customers using its Package Design and Test Lab, helping protect packages before they ship. Using high-tech equipment that creates varying levels of temperature, air pressure, shock, compression and vibration, the lab can simulate moving a package throughout an entire supply chain. These real-world experiences provide valuable data that helps UPS custom-design solutions for specific packaging needs. Testing is a compliment to the innovative packaging options that are offered through the Sealed Air and UPS partnership.