Setting Up Your Packing Station
Creating an efficient packing station is about more than finding the best place to store your stamps. Establishing a dedicated space in your business, whether that’s a single table or an entire mailroom, can help streamline your packing and shipping system to eliminate incorrect labeling, broken items, or packages sent with wrong items. But how do you set up a packing station? Can wholesale mailers help you save money? Let’s find out!
First, Stop What You’re Doing
It may seem counterintuitive to start by stopping, but that’s exactly what we’re asking you to do. Before you design the best packing station possible, it’s important to understand any flaws or issues with your current set-up. Avoid thinking about how to improve efficiency or brainstorming where you’re going to store your wholesale mailers until you’ve done a comprehensive examination of how your current shipping methods are working for you. Chances are this will be the most time-consuming part of improving your shipping station’s efficiency, but it will also be the most important.
Watch and Learn
Your research on the efficiency of your packing and shipping methods should involve taking time to observe what current processes are in place and how they work. If you are the person who does the packing and shipping for your organization or business, conduct a self-examination. The next time you prepare something to be shipped, stop and write down every step of the process. Next, go back and evaluate what takes the most time and consider why that is. Determining why is the most essential step, so make sure not to skip it!
Take time to observe the employees who complete the packing and shipping preparation most often. After you’ve seen their process, speak with them about any struggles they may have that were unapparent during the process, ways they think the process could be improved, and anything else they may know that you had not considered. Speaking with the people who are doing the work each day can give you a good idea of the issues they have seen during different times of the year, or problems they’ve had with specific equipment.
Make it Right
Once you’ve determined where your issues are, it’s time to correct them. For example, if your packing station is on the other side of the room from the printer that creates your shipping labels, are you making sure to print your labels first? If you want to include business cards in every shipment but all of your cards are in your office, set aside space at your packing station to fix that.
Although each process can be different, the majority of shipping services follow a similar pattern: you collect your items for shipment, ensure the things are in the correct condition, compare the items you’ve collected with your packing list, prepare your poly mailer envelope or other form of packaging and add your items, seal your package, add the address label, and place in the designated area for shipment.
During this time, be sure to consider how any flaws in the new system could create delays or errors, and then re-plan your steps accordingly! Now is the best time to make corrections and upgrades to your packing and shipping process. First, let’s discuss some of the main issues that people experience when setting up a packing station.
Location, Location, Location
For some businesses, finding available space to set up a packing station can mean staking claim to a small section of the table in the corner of an office with zero room to store your wholesale mailers. For larger businesses, you may have access to a dedicated mailroom full of every type of poly mailer you can imagine.
Whether you have two employees or 200, it’s crucial to find a packing station location that works for you and stick to it. When you’re planning the location and set-up of your packing station, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- What size packages do you typically ship?
- Where do you store the items that will be shipped?
- Is there adequate storage space available?
- How many people will be utilizing the packing station at any given time?
Knowing the size and weight of your typical package will help determine the minimum amount of space you need to pack your items efficiently. The amount of space you need if you’re packing something the size of a matchbook is much different than the amount of space you need if you’re packing something the size of a microwave.
The size and weight of your typical package will also determine the type of packaging you need. If you are mailing softer items like clothing or items packaged inside smaller boxes such as jewelry, you can probably purchase wholesale mailers. We’ll talk more about why we advocate using a poly mailer whenever possible later!
Another vital aspect to consider is where you store the items that you will be shipping. Do you have space to store them near your shipping station, will there be a drop-off area where someone can place things that need to be shipped, or will you have to move around your store or business to gather the items you will need? If you have the room available to set up a drop-off area or to create storage space near your packing station, we highly recommend doing so. Ensuring that your items are nearby will help make your process even more efficient.
What about where your items will be placed when you are done packaging them? Make sure to have a dedicated place to keep your poly mailer packages once they’ve been completed to ensure that they will be shipped on time! Your storage solution could be something as simple as a small container or bin, but it should be placed somewhere that no other items will be intermingled and add to the confusion.
In addition to storing your items well, it’s also essential to make sure that your storage containers, shelves, and bins are well-labeled. If a new employee had to pack an item without help, would they be able to do that with the current organization of your packing station? Could they easily find your stash of poly mailer envelopes? If you answered yes, test your theory out. This test is an excellent way to see if your items are labeled well, if your items are within easy reach, and if your packing process is easy to understand.
Have you ever tried to write a note and realized your pen has disappeared? What about looking for your scissors when you’re positive they haven’t left your office? Unfortunately, our supplies can occasionally…walk off, shall we say? While you’re planning your packing station, it’s essential to make sure that you have more than enough pens, scissors, tape, and other valuable shipping supply items on hand to replenish should some suddenly go missing. After you stock your packing station, make sure to not only label your bins of poly mailer envelopes and boxes of wholesale mailers but also to identify and label all of your office supplies. Your label can be something as simple as a piece of colored tape or as fancy as a computer-created label with your name on it. Regardless of how you decide to identify your items, make sure to remind your employees that it’s essential that the things stay in their place for maximum effectiveness!
Everything in its Place
Keeping everything in its place brings us back to storage. Another item that falls into the storage category is how you plan on storing your packing materials. We recommend creating a space that will allow you to store all of your packing supplies in one place. Of course, this may not be possible for all businesses. If you are pressed for space, you may need to come up with some creative alternatives for how to organize your materials most efficiently.
One way to save on space is to consider the type of packing materials that you currently utilize. While many companies still use cardboard boxes to ship their items, there is a good chance that you may be able to save on space and money by switching to a more efficient type of packaging called a poly mailer. For shipping things like jewelry or clothing, you can easily transition to wholesale mailers like the poly mailer. These poly plastic bags are waterproof, tear and rip-resistant, and more lightweight than cardboard, helping you save money on shipping costs.
Wholesale mailers are more cost-effective for purchasing as well. In addition to helping you save money on materials and shipping, wholesale mailers like the poly mailer also take up much less space than traditional packing materials. While it may not seem as though you are crunched for space, being able to create a more efficient shipping area could depend on the ability to find better storage solutions. If you have more space to be able to store items, it may help create a better process in the long run.
If your shipping area is small, do your best create dedicated boxes for each item you will need. Several types of bins available are perfect for storing stickers, ribbon, and business cards that you may need to include with every shipment. Create a shipping box full of the supplies you need on a regular basis, and then store the leftovers in plastic bags or bins in another location. This will help keep regularly used items at your fingertips without cluttering up your packing area.
For larger packing and shipping areas, we recommend installing shelves or cubbies below your shipping area to store poly mailer envelopes, ribbons, shipping labels, wrapping paper, and whatever else you find you may need. If possible, create a spacious counter or shipping table that can be accessed from all sides. Designing a space that is easily accessible by multiple people at a time will reduce back-up during busy times by allowing more than one person to package items without feeling crammed or pressed for room.
As we discussed earlier, there are several advantages to choosing a poly mailer over cardboard boxes. Although product cost is the factor that most people are drawn to initially, it’s also worth noting that ordering wholesale mailers can save you additional time, money, and space as well.
But how? Let’s say an employee places a poly mailer order once per month. To place the order, they have to fill out a purchase order request, have it approved, check out a credit card, place the order, receive the order, and then put the poly mailer envelopes away. Overall, let’s estimate this process takes approximately an hour. For the year, this employee spends 12 hours ordering their mailing supplies. Not only is the employee’s time valuable, but it is also more expensive to place 12 separate orders for smaller amounts of poly mailer envelopes than it is to order a larger number of wholesale mailers.
Purchasing poly mailer envelopes can also help a company save space. While that may sound a bit confusing, think about the size of your typical poly mailer compared to the size of a cardboard box. Even when cardboard boxes are broken down and stored, they still take up significantly more space than a poly mailer. If you can store wholesale mailers in your shipping station, you can keep more poly mailer envelopes at your fingertips than larger shipping containers.
Draw It Out
If you’re running more than just a one-person show, we also recommend creating a diagram for your employees that step-by-step documents the packing and shipping process. This should be the last thing you do to ensure that you can appropriately label your diagram with any updated information that you discover while studying your packing station’s efficiency. Once you’ve approved of your design, place it prominently somewhere that you and your employees can reference it when necessary. After that, you’re good to go!
Find What You Need
Whether you’re shopping for brightly colored wholesale mailers, clear poly mailer bags, or suffocation warning labels, Shop4Mailers has everything you need to make the most of your packing station. Shop our entire collection of packing supplies by visiting our website, or contact our customer service team at 714-891-1313 for more information!