Packaging volumes are surging in response to consumer demand these days. Meanwhile, packaging-related costs—from materials to storage and transportation costs--are rising in tandem. So it's no surprise that shippers who manage different product and packaging configurations need viable ways to control their packaging costs and reduce waste without compromising throughput.

Enter box-making machines or "box-on-demand" machines like the Packsize, BoxOnDemand, and Kolbus brands, which offer shippers varying feature sets and use cases.

Box-making machines offer shippers much flexibility: They let shippers create custom-tailored corrugated boxes that reduce the chance of product damage and dimensional weight fees. They are generally simple to operate and require little training, so it can be more efficient to make your own boxes than to maintain an inventory of pre-made ones.

And corrugated box-making machine manufacturers increasingly offer highly efficient, reliable corrugated box-making machines with advanced technologies like the Internet of things (IoT) and AI.

How to optimize logistics and value of box making

While all this information makes box-making sound state-of-the art, box-making machines are, well... just a little bit stupid.

They can be a robust investment when deployed the right way. But it's essential to set them up in a way that will optimize your results and benefits.

Suppose you're running a warehouse and a warehouse management system (WMS). The following pluses and minuses of box-making machines may help as you evaluate how to optimize the logistics and value of your investment:

  • Box-making machines are not cost-aware. Most box-making machines don't have any cost-awareness, let alone the ability to employ valuable data in sophisticated cost-aware cartonization algorithms. Some box-making devices require manual dimensional input by humans. And suppose they do have cartonization logic. In that case, it's primarily focused on cubic volume reduction, which isn't where your actual cost savings lie (for example, following the cost incentives in your negotiated rates).

  • To save time and money on parcel shipping, you'll need to automate your WMS--cartonization optimization--box-making machine interactions. When an order enters the warehouse, the WMS will make a call to your cartonization optimization software, which returns the optimal box(es) for that order. The WMS then sends the dimensions of the recommended boxes to the box machine, which quickly cuts the corrugated box accordingly. The completed boxes are ready to go by the time the SKUs arrive at the packing station. The automated process can mean hours in saved time over just a few months.

  • Box-making machinery frees up precious warehouse storage and workspace. If your warehouse's floor space is at a premium and you're storing cardboard boxing materials you rarely use, a box-making setup doesn’t just reduce wasted warehouse space used for pre-made carton storage; it also lets you put your floor space to better use, enhance your productivity and continue to grow your business.

  • Bespoke boxes that perfectly fit your product reduce many packaging and product damage costs. Custom boxes mitigate or eliminate the need for extra padding like packing peanuts, so your packaging costs go down dramatically over the long run. You'll also no longer be buying (or hoarding) boxes that you may not use, waiting for the moment that you need to send something of the correct size.

  • On average, it takes ~18 months to see a return on investment from a box-making machine. Transparency Market Research reports that it takes around 18 months to see an ROI from a box-making machine, with companies recognizing at least 30% on their box packaging expenses.

Last but not least, box-making machines can help reduce your carbon footprint as you remove excess packaging and package fillers--all the better for the environment.

If you're ready to purchase or deploy a box-making machine, it’s a great time to explore how you can gain the most value from your new investment with smart cartonization. Book a meeting with Paccurate today. Or start your smart box-making education right now by reading our white paper on cost-aware cartonization.