Custom dunnage for returnable packaging typically includes partitions, thermoformed trays, divider sheets, hanging fabric pouches, and layered pads. Whichever you choose depends entirely upon the function you need it to perform. Because custom dunnage is made specifically for you, it can help you cut costs by conforming to your exact specifications. Here are some other ways to save money when placing a custom dunnage order:
- Know what you want the custom dunnage to do. You may need to keep parts separated so that they do not touch each other, or you may need to support quite a bit of weight. You may even need multiple layers of dunnage in one container. Knowing this information will help determine what styles are best for your needs.
- Evaluate the different types of custom dunnage, and interview your operators to see which options they prefer. Plastic corrugated partitions may be cumbersome to handle. Fabricated or molded foam may take up too much space. Stackable, returnable plastic trays may take more time than your operators have. By asking them first, you will be able to obtain first-hand information on how these solutions can help your business.
- Consider custom dunnage that can be cleaned, modified, or repaired. Certain types of dunnage can withstand cleaning, whereas other types can be modified easier. Determining your needs and where you project your needs to be in the future can help you determine what is best for your business. If you purchase dunnage that can be easily modified, this will save you from having to place another order for a different application in the future.
- Plan ahead. Because it is custom-made, custom dunnage requires a longer lead time. By forecasting your needs and planning ahead, you can avoid the unnecessary expense of having to place a rush order.
- Keep a safety stock of custom dunnage for emergencies. Because of its longer lead time, it sometimes helps to have extra in stock in case you should need it. By ordering a little extra, not only will you have it on-hand when you need it, but you may also be able to negotiate a lower rate by placing a larger order.
In closing, custom dunnage is a critical component of returnable packaging. These 5 tips can help you communicate effectively with your packaging producer and most importantly keep your costs to a minimum. As always, rely on your packaging producer for guidance and direction.