Supply chain throughput during a global pandemic

Busy Highway
March 17th, 2020 SHIPPING & LOGISTICS

Editor's note: The BeneShip team was reluctant to comment on the COVID-19 crises as many companies have, for fear of being exploitative. However, after further discussion we decided that of all the systemic challenges that this pandemic is highlighting, it’s worth discussing the one in our area of expertise that we’ve been thinking about a lot these last weeks. Additionally, we will be giving free access to Paccurate to manufacters and distributors of medical devices until at least July. Learn more here.

When we talk about cartonization in the context of reducing costs and sustainability, we're really talking about efficiency. Finding a good balance between packaging waste, labor costs, and shipping costs is the ultimate goal for any advanced cartonization implementation, and in this context, the definition of efficiency.

The recent pandemic has sent shockwaves through the global supply chain, and fulfillment and delivery is no exception. The FDA is focusing much of its attention on ensuring the supply chain keeps moving medical devices and supplies. Even Amazon, a merchant with the most vast and complex delivery infrastructure the world has ever seen, has had to take drastic steps to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions. Just this morning, Amazon announced to their 700,000+ Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers that they would be disabling shipment creation for all but the most essential household and medical goods. This is a stunning move by the largest online marketplace in the US, but it speaks to current universal challenges with delivery throughput.

As with other structural issues in modern society becoming more visible in the midst of an outbreak, the limitations of throughput are being felt across the logistical landscape. From the lagging availability of medical supplies, to the empty store shelves, Americans are getting an uncomfortable look at scarcity they may not have thought possible.

One way shippers can adapt to these delivery challenges is by ensuring the boxes they send out take up as little space as possible. Smaller boxes mean less space taken up on trucks, and either fewer trucks on the road or, you guessed it, more throughput. That is, each truck can carry more goods to where they need to go, effectively lowering the burden of increased demand on the system. The best way for shippers to reduce box size is by implementing systems that ensure their workforce is choosing the right packing configuration for every order. A good cartonization engine can help with that.

The silver lining is that while implementing cartonization will help with supply chain throughput during a crisis, shippers will also benefit from a solid implementation when this pandemic is contained. It just so happens that the efficiencies that lead to increased throughput also lead to lower shipping costs, less waste, and a reduced carbon footprint.

Let us know if we can help your business find packing efficiencies, and please consider a cartonization solution like Paccurate to help. Stay safe out there. - The BeneShip Team

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