Forwarding the “packaging revolution”

In effort to beat the drum and continue to push the “packaging revolution” forward, Modern offers our 5th-annual Packaging Issue—a field guide you can slip in your bag if you’re attending PMMI’s Pack Expo Las Vegas (Sept. 25-27).

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In effort to beat the drum and continue to push the “packaging revolution” forward, Modern offers our 5th-annual Packaging Issue—a field guide you can slip in your bag if you’re attending PMMI’s Pack Expo Las Vegas (Sept. 25-27).

As part of this special issue, Modern’s editorial staff has put context around our “2017 Pallet Usage & Trending Survey”; looks at the benefits of cubing and weighing equipment; explains the evolution of the pallet into a real-time data portal; shows us how Stage has transformed its retail picking and packing operation ; and offers a look at some of the hottest products on the floor at this year’s Pack Expo Las Vegas.

It’s now safe to stay that the service expectations we’ve all become accustomed to in our lives as consumers have cascaded into the nooks and crannies of nearly every warehouse and DC operation. The demands of single-line, single-piece orders and smaller, more frequent deliveries are now cemented into our vernacular and are expected from our own operations.

As Modern and all of the publications in Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group have been proclaiming over the last few years, packaging is truly “the final frontier” of data collection and supply chain optimization. And the good news for packaging engineers and innovators is that it’s finally getting the attention it deserves, especially with the move to dimensional weight pricing that parcel carriers and now less-than-truckload carriers have implemented. Since 2015, carriers have been recalculating shipping charges based on the dimensions of the parcel, not just the weight, in an effort to take all the “air” out of their trucks.

If your team got out ahead of “dim weight,” there’s an excellent chance you’ve worked cubing and weighing equipment—dimensioning systems—into your process. Starting on page 38, editor at large Sara Pearson Specter does a terrific job of showing how to put these systems to work to reduce shipping costs, but she also uncovers a number of additional benefits that savvy users have realized.

“Dimensioning systems are also being used to increase storage density within manual and automated storage systems,” says Specter, “while some are even outfitted with mobility, camera-based imaging and sophisticated algorithms to measure irregular shapes and detect anomalies—data that can be put to work down the line for further efficiency improvements.”

And while that data is helping to manage packaging design changes and shipping costs, senior editor Josh Bond writes that even more useful data can be gathered at the pallet level.

As Bond found, the pallet of the near future is not merely a trackable asset, but will soon serve as a kind of micro-warehouse, providing real-time, detailed information about its contents, temperature and surrounding conditions. Pallet expert Mark White will join him on Sept. 14 in our “Pallet Survey Webcast” to dive deeper into the seemingly endless possibilities.

“If the Internet of Things is going to thrive, the industry will need a window into what happens while product is stored and transported,” adds Bond. “Guess what’s already sitting there beneath the product, waiting to be plugged into the IoT?”

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Fulfillment · This Month in Modern · · All Topics
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Special Digital Issue: Packaging in Successful Fulfillment Operations
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From the September 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
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E-commerce and the New Pallet Paradigm
Driven by emerging streams of supply chain data, shifting customer demands, and an industry obsession with eliminating every sliver of waste, pallet usage continues to evolve. During this webcast we'll examine how Modern's readers are adapting to current challenges while positioning themselves to meet those that lie ahead.
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