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Packaging is key to a speedy Xmas delivery, says Antalis amid record Black Friday sales

As the Black Friday weekend kicked off the biggest shopping spree of the year, Antalis Packaging has revealed that for retailers anticipating an even earlier Christmas rush, packaging is vital for maximising sales and meeting those all-important delivery targets.

It comes as latest figures show that UK consumers spent a record £8bn during the four-day sales bonanza this year, up eight per cent on 2016. As the dominance of online sales continues, around 81 per cent of purchases included a home delivery - meaning it is now more important than ever for retailers to ensure their packaging is up to scratch during the seasonal peak.

With Black Friday increasingly seen as an important indicator for retailers' sales performance over the whole Christmas period, leading packaging specialist Antalis is advising that by making a few small changes UK businesses can optimise their packaging processes to ensure a swift delivery this Christmas.

Andrew Smedley, divisional manager for Packaging at Antalis, commented: “This year’s record sales during the Black Friday weekend highlights the continued shift in culture in UK retail, with the surge of pre-Christmas shoppers expected to continue well into December.

“Although the packaging and distribution operation isn’t always a top priority in this, with the majority of purchases now taking place online, it’s now more important than ever before to ensure that not only is a products packaging solution well designed to prevent damage, it must also allow for prompt delivery to meet demand.

“Key to this is optimising your packaging process to create efficiencies before, during and after the retail rush. This is where small changes, such as reorganising your packing area for easier access or reducing your packaging materials in order to free up more warehouse space, can make a huge difference in terms of reducing waste, speeding up the packing process and reducing lead-times. A streamlined process also goes a long way in reducing unnecessary costs, which can creep up during peak times.

“For businesses unsure of where to start, help is at hand via our free Smart Audit where our experts will review a company’s current packaging materials and procedures and suggest improvements.”

Antalis’ top five recommendations for ‘peak planning’ are:

1. Organise packaging. Make sure enough packaging material is available, easily accessible and that packers are fully trained to maximise efficiency.

2. Reduce packaging materials. Free up valuable warehouse space by ordering smaller volumes for regular delivery as you need them.

3. Review your entire process Assess every touchpoint in your packaging process, from picking to the moment the package leaves the warehouse. You’ll certainly find ways to streamline your process.

4. Speed up packaging. From self-erecting crash-lock boxes for faster operative packing through to automated machinery, there are lots of ways to help speed up packaging.

5. Reduce transport costs. Again, less is more. Reducing package size not only means more can fit onto a pallet which allows you to get more orders out in one delivery, it also cuts carrier tariff costs.

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