1 vs. 2 vs. 3D (Dimensional) volume reduction - Which solutions increase productivity while reducing costs?
Today, the demands of outbound shipping are greater than ever. Productivity gains, reducing carton size and reducing waste are some of the many challenges engineering staff and outbound shipping departments face each day. As an example, for many companies it’s no longer economically sound for a shipper to place a small item in a large box. The bigger the box, the higher the shipping cost. Dimensional (DIM) weight charges are being applied for many companies due to the large influx of direct to consumer orders that carriers are having to process on a daily basis.
These factors are persuading engineering staff and outbound shipping departments to search for ways to reduce these pain points. Fortunately there are solutions out there that assist with these challenges, but they differ in numerous ways.
1 Dimensional (1D) Reduction
Some solutions on the market will allow the reduction of package dimensions by height. This is done by mechanically folding the box within itself. The length and width of the parcel aren't optimized, so there are minimal DIM weight savings. Since only one dimension is improved, the item inside the parcel may have room to shift and potentially succumb to damage. However, there are benefits for 1D solutions, such as potential productivity gains.
2 Dimensional (2D) Reduction
A 2D reduction lessens two of the three dimensions and produces a "sealed-type" envelope. The parcel has a consistent width, but the length and height are reduced. This technology is a good solution for single-line orders with limited product width ranges. Unfortunately, there are also limitations to 2D technology. For instance, packages crafted using 2D reduction can provide a poor customer experience during "unboxing", there are no multi-line order capabilities and it isn't a fit for expansive order size ranges.
3 Dimensional (3D) Reduction
3D reduction is the most cost effective way to reduce parcel dimensions because it sizes each of the three dimensions (height, length and width) to create a fit-to-size box. There are two types of solutions to create fit-to-size packaging. One is manual and the other is automated.
In manual 3D reduction, a box is created to fit the item going inside of it, however, an individual must size the components (usually through a scan process), assemble the box, pack the item, tape it and then apply a label to ship. 3D manual solutions are practical and effective for unique shaped or large size items. It provides carton volume and corrugate savings. However, productivity gains are minimal for this solution.
Automated 3D reduction increases productivity, reduces the length, width and height of the parcel (shipping volume), decreases weight, and reduces corrugate consumption and inventory. 3D automation also provides a quick return on investment of usually 24 months or less. Some automatic solutions even allow for multi-item orders to be boxed into the same parcel and shipped using world class rate shopping software all in one seamless process.
Automated packing solutions are the ideal answer for reducing parcel dimensions and optimizing all steps of order fulfillment. When an order is inducted, the automated packing solution scans the order, creates, folds, secures and labels each order into a fit-to-size parcel in as little as seven seconds - the output of 7 – 10 manual pack stations! By creating this fit-to-size parcel, an automated packing solution even reduces or eliminates void fill. It also reduces the amount of corrugated material used by up to 20%, producing major cost savings with a quick return on investment.
Want to learn more? Check out the award winning CVP-500 Automated Packing Machine.