Packaging 101 Blog
Natural History Museum Case Study
The Natural History Museum (NHM) is a leading London academic and scientific institution dedicated to bringing the past to life for thousands of visitors every year. Their online business sells and ships countless pieces of memorabilia, gifts, educational resources and more. At Lil Packaging we were tasked with helping them to find more suitable packaging for their range, at a price that was sustainable for their online business and pleasing to their customers.
The NHM faced some typical, but nonetheless frustrating and difficult problems in packaging their online orders to customers:
- Their product range is so varied, that they were constantly having to modify standard ‘0201’ style cardboard boxes and used large amounts of custom cardboard-roll to fit the products. A time-consuming and expensive, not to mention annoying task.
- Working space in the packing area is very limited, as it all happens in the confined basement underneath the museum!
- Storage space is also very limited, as most of it is used to hold stock – meaning that large consignments of multiple types of packaging cannot be taken in.
At Lil Packaging we see these problems that our customers face on a daily basis – so we knew exactly what to do.
The NHM needed a quick and easy to implement solution to their packing and packaging challenges. So here is what we did…
- The varied nature of the product range – in terms of sizes, shapes, weights and fragility meant that the NHM needed a variable packaging solution. Enter the Bukwrap, Twistwrap and Cardboard Box ranges. All three can cater for products that vary in size, shape and weight. The Bukwrap and Twistwrap ranges both wrap around products using variable distance folds allowing – within reason – almost any retail type product to be contained within. The Cardboard Box range also uses specially pre-perforated corner sections to allow for variable-height packing, ensuring that voidfill or other ‘securing’ options have limited requirement for use. The Bukwrap and Twistwrap ranges both feature our tried and tested hot-melt peel’n’seal, and red-tear strip combo, meaning less tape and other sealants have to be used – plus the packaging is far more convenient for customers.
- The packing space in the basement is a ‘tight fit’ for the fulfilment team to work within. This means that space is a premium commodity, and also affects which kinds of packaging can be used on the packing desks. Having tape all over the place, along with bubblewrap, voidfill, scissors, craft knives and more is just impractical. Using Lil Packaging options means that all they require on the packing desks are our one-piece mailers, and perhaps a tape gun for the ‘0201’ style cardboard boxes, with minimal voidfill materials. Maximising packing desk efficiency is one of the key wins when using a Lil Packaging solution.
- When storage space is also in short supply, the luxury of being able to keep large supplies of packaging on-site and ready to use in the warehouse suddenly gets beyond expensive or acceptable. The Natural History Museum found itself in this position. So they needed a way of minimising the impact on storage space from their packaging materials. By using fewer types of packaging materials, and then deploying new ones that stack better when stored, and are carefully pallet-wrapped, we helped them reduce the volume of packaging they held on site. The best solution we provided however was that we could stock-hold for the Natural History Museum. With our large warehouse in Huntingdon, the NHM simply called off small chunks of their stock when required, meaning they did not impact on their all important storage space on-site. This made a huge impact on their warehouse efficiency.
The Natural History Museum went from an outdated and inefficient packing and fulfilment operation to a far more up to date and efficient solution. Their packing desk efficiency improved, requiring less packer hours, improved packaging spend, and better quality deliveries. Far too often we see organisations facing these kinds of problems, with no thought given to how their productivity can be improved by changing or improving their packaging choices. The Natural History Museum approached the situation carefully and sensibly – and have benefited hugely as a result.