By Sangeet Kumar
E-Commerce has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. According to a report by the India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian E-Commerce market is anticipated to reach US$ 200 billion by 2026. The E-Commerce market has seen tremendous growth in the past years. Though the offline unorganised and organised retail industries got severely affected due to the lockdowns, the E-Commerce industry thrived. Since then, not only are the online stores preferred by people, but they have also impacted every consumer’s life for good.
Even after two years, E-Commerce is still growing rapidly, and there is no turning back. Consumers’ buying habits have significantly altered, and their rising propensity for online shopping has raised the demand for packaging, shipping, shorter delivery timelines, and warehousing distribution systems. Having a technology-forward reliable system in place is imperative to fulfil e-commerce orders seamlessly.
In the distribution phase of the supply chain, packaging and shipping are crucial. Accurate and timely order fulfilment are the hardest part of establishing an e-commerce business. Consumer needs are evolving with time and are becoming unpredictable. Businesses are adjusting their operations to accommodate these expanding demands, and autonomous packaging has emerged as a result.
Businesses can gain from the automation of the packaging process in a number of ways, including reduced labour costs, decreased waste, and enhanced productivity and throughput. This comes at a time when the market is experiencing a challenge with the growing demand for online shopping. The packaging procedures can be entirely or partially digitalised with automation equipment.
With an automated packing procedure, the workforce would also be utilised more efficiently, rather than in the repetitive packaging process. More advantages of automation include:
In comparison to manual packaging, automation speeds up the packaging process. Since manual packaging takes a lot of time, fulfilling the orders become time-consuming and decreases the order fulfilment rate. Automation enables agile packaging which consequently results in higher productivity.
The repetitive nature of packaging raises the risk of injuries and musculoskeletal disorders in workers. Automation of the packaging process lowers the risk of such accidents and frees up staff to concentrate on more analytical jobs that need cognitive abilities.
Reduced Labour Cost
Automation speeds up the packaging process as one machine can perform multiple tasks like folding, sealing and labelling in one single step freeing up two-three labourers at a time. These machines can operate non-stop for 24 hours without becoming weary or exhausted. As a result, the expense of hiring more labourers and paying overtime to the employees is reduced.
In addition, big discounts offered throughout the holiday season drive demand for products on e-commerce platforms. Instead of relying simply on seasonal temporary workers to handle peak season pressures in this consumer-driven climate, firms and their logistical partners need to plan long-term solutions.
The method of quality inspection has evolved as a result of technological innovations. Automated packaging systems today include AI capabilities that make error detection simple. Consistency and homogeneity in packaging operations are provided by modern packaging solutions. As a result, there are no errors in addresses and quality standards are maintained. The errors are decreasing dramatically when this technology is used in conjunction with packing machinery, thus resulting in accurate output.
Customers may also want to return a product for a variety of reasons, such as disliking the way it appears or not being happy with the way it fits. Returns are now a typical occurrence in e-commerce. Resealable boxes can be made using warehouse-automated packaging machines. In the event that a package needs to be returned, these are simple to open, close, and reseal.
Environmental and Cost Concerns
The demand for sustainable packaging is increasing. Consumers are more environmentally conscious and prefer environment-friendly packaging, and automated packaging machines give brands a great chance to make a good first impression on their customers. Packaging plays a very important role in the e-commerce ecosystem.
Variable package sizes have been made possible through automation, which solves the problem of limited space. Small products frequently arrive in huge boxes, which results in waste and raises the cost of packing and shipping. The automated packing system aids in selecting the proper box size and in preparing and packing goods in accordance with their size.
For the e-commerce industry, automated packaging offers several benefits that not only boosts the throughput but also gives businesses a competitive edge. All these elements work together to speed up product delivery, which in turn improves customer satisfaction.
(The author is Co-founder & CEO, Addverb Technologies. Views are personal)