The importance of top quality packing benches

Packing benches are an important element of an efficient packing station that speedily packages goods ready for dispatch.

High street retailers are facing many challenges because of fewer customers, high business rates and increasing rents. There is also more competition from online retailers such as Amazon and ASOS. To remain profitable, many companies, like Crew Clothing and Joules, have expanded their online operations. This has meant adapting their warehouses to handle small individual orders as well as the large orders sent out to their shops each week.

Speed

Amazon has pioneered quick delivery with some items delivered to people living in large cities within hours of ordering, while the rest of the country enjoys next-day deliveries. This has raised customer expectations for all online orders to reach them quickly.

For this to work, order items must be picked quickly, then packed speedily ready for collection by Royal Mail or other courier companies. At the heart of the packing station are the packing benches where goods are wrapped or packed into boxes. A basic packing bench is simply a table-like object with four legs and a top. It may be tempting to use an ordinary table for this, but there are several reasons why a specialist packing bench is better.

Strength

In a busy warehouse, packing benches are in continuous use. A single packing bench can expect to handle between 140 and 180 units an hour, which can add up to over 4,000 units a day if the warehouse has a 24-hour operation. The average wooden table would not last more than a few weeks under that much pressure. This is why strong packing benches are required.

Strong packing benches are constructed from tubular steel lengths that are cut, shaped and welded together. Quality British packing bench manufacturers employ expert metalworkers who make sure that every welded joint is strong and will last. The top of the packing bench is made from wood or wood composite material, which is chosen for its strength.

Design

A packing bench needs to be the correct height so that workers can comfortably pack items on it without having to stretch or strain. It needs to be big enough to work on too. Extra-large benches can accommodate more than one person working at the packing station. Packing benches that are manufactured in Britain can be modified to a custom size to fit the available space.

Most packing benches will have a bottom shelf for extra storage space. When designing a packing station, thought needs to be given to how it will operate. Packers working on packing benches need access to material such as tape, boxes, padded envelopes and labels, and these items need to be within easy reach. Shelves and supports can be added to packing benches to accommodate packing materials in a way that means that packers do not need to stretch far to access them. The packing bench may also need to have a stand to hold a laptop or tablet that records when each order has been packed.

There should be an area where items picked ready for packing are stored. This could be another packing bench adjacent to where packers are working.

For a new packing operation, the packing stations design should be flexible. After trying out a design, it may be found that a modification to it can increase efficiency.

If the packing bench supplier also manufactures other warehouse equipment, it can be consulted about the design of the packing station. The firm may be able to suggest ways in which the warehouse shelving, trolleys, packing benches and tables can be part of a system that works together to make the warehouse efficient and organised.

Instead of focusing only on the packing element of the operation, consider how the whole process works, from receiving goods, to storing them on shelves, picking items, packing them and storing packed items ready for collection by delivery vehicles.

Bespoke packing benches

Packing bench suppliers will carry a range of standard packing benches and will be able to supply them in custom sizes. Not all warehouses are the same or handle the same type of goods. Online retailers that sell jewellery handle many small items a day. A furniture company has large, heavy, and awkwardly shaped items.

It’s not easy to design nonstandard packing stations. Fortunately, top warehouse equipment manufacturers have engineer designers who visit warehouses for an in-depth analysis of the picking and packing operation. After discussing what is needed with business owners, manufacturers and the packers who will work at the new packing station, a bespoke solution, including custom packing benches, will be designed. Prototype equipment may need to be tested, after which the bespoke packing station production will be finalised.

Warehouse equipment manufacturers are used to small production runs and no expensive retooling or moulds are required for bespoke designs. This keeps the cost reasonable.

Error-free packing

To keep afloat in challenging retails conditions requires attention to every aspect of a business to make sure that everything is running efficiently and no money is wasted. A well-designed packing station is essential. Businesses should aim for at least 99.9% error-free orders to keep customers happy and ready to buy more items.

Remember that any weak link in the packing operation can cause errors, so a badly designed packing bench could be the weak point in the system that makes life difficult for packers and causes to them making mistakes. Customers may expect fast delivery, but they won’t be happy to accept more picking and packing errors as a consequence.

To be 100% error-free, many warehouse operators are looking to automation, replacing packers with robots. The era of fully automated warehouses is some way off, and even a business the size of Amazon relies on thousands of human pickers and packers as well as automated systems.

Warehouses need human packers working with packing benches and other equipment that helps them achieve the error-free packing that customers rely on. Physical shops may be facing challenges but online retailing is booming and this has created a high demand for quality packing benches.

Get in touch with Steely Products via the form below if you would like to find out how we can create a bespoke packing bench for your business.

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Posted by Derek
30th July 2019
Packing

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