Laminated packaging offers protection for roller shade manufacturer

Solution cut company's packaging time by two-thirds.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
January 05, 2012 - MMH Editorial

SW Sun Control Products, a family-owned business located in Tucson, Ariz., manufactures interior and exterior roller shade systems for residential and commercial applications. Although its roller shade systems are compact, they require packaging up to 20 feet long. The old method of using shipping tubes with plastic end caps was a time-consuming process that often resulted in damage to the shades. 

“It required substantial manpower to get one shade into a shipping tube,” said Billie Meuschke, the company’s owner. “The shade was nestled inside the tube so tightly that our customers were not able to remove the shade upon delivery without the use of a skill saw. We received multiple complaints from customers that their orders were damaged and we knew that we had to do something quickly to ensure that we didn’t lose customers.”

The company conducted extensive research for an alternative packaging solution. The typical response was that suppliers didn’t offer anything that met SW Sun Control Products’ length requirements. Company personnel traveled to Las Vegas in 2009 to attend Pack Expo. There they came across a laminated paper product (Laminations, for the shipping, packaging and warehousing needs.

“The smooth laminated paperboard construction of the product not only provides impact resistance, scuff protection and stackability, it offered the perfect solution to our distinct packaging needs,” Meuschke said.

SW Sun Control Products put samples through rigorous testing. For instance, it packaged one of the shades, shipped it out and asked that it get shipped back to the warehouse. Upon receiving, the package was in the same top condition as the day it left. It also had some warehouse employees toss the package around to ensure it could withstand the most severe conditions. “When we opened the package, the shade was still in perfect condition,” Meuschke, said. “We had found our answer to our packaging and shipping dilemma.”

Since then, SW Sun Control Products has worked closely with the supplier to create a custom-sized packaging solution that meets its precise shipping and protection needs. It also creates ease while loading and unloading the product. In the future, SW Sun Control Products expects to add custom-printed one- or two-color logos, handling instructions or promotional messaging to its packaging.

“It’s so much easier to package our shades than using the previous method,” Meuschke said. “We’ve experienced significant savings in labor. With UCrate, it takes a third of the time to package our shades than before. If we were still using shipping tubes, we’d probably be months behind in our orders.”

Additionally, SW Sun Control Products has seen savings in freight and storage. SW Sun Control Products has ramped up its shipping volume since switching from tubes to the laminate because they are easy to store and the company is able to keep more material in stock without taking up valuable space in the warehouse.

“From all angles, this has provided a more efficient and cost-effective way to package and ship our products,” Meuschke said.

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