Author Archives: Mathew Bell

Lessons from Management and Boxes

If you are in the U.S. than you know that the economy has changed.  We are now massivly focused on online and getting packages through the mail.  Due to the massive amount of different regulations from state to state companies are struggling to keep up with the change.  Many companies have moved from a brick-and-mortar store to a more e-commerce focused business almost overnight. This has changed the backend and in many cases the front end of many stores.  If this change is happening to your company or you are pondering moving to a larger e-commerce focused business then I want to go over some things that could save your business because they worked for mine.

Foot traffic is going to be lowered for most of the country in all of these brick-and-mortar stores.  In our business, this meant a total revamp of our company.  We ended up moving many of our staff into different positions and at different times in order to allow us to keep our staff. Since our front-end staff was no longer needed to sell directly to customers we transitioned them into working on our newly focused e-commerce section.  This was not as easy as we imagined it would be.  We have to not only train these employees to do shipping but we need the safe space.

Delivery concept. Boxes on pallet in the warehouse. 3d

When you are limited by rules and space is an issue you have to find a way to overcome that.  We now moved from foot traffic sales to almost all online.  This big switch meant that we needed to move our front-end store into a much smaller section.  The easiest way was to get a hold of the landlord and make sure it was fine to put in a temporary wall that took the floor space on the front end and made it much smaller.  We lowered the floor space by about half and started to create more space for everyone involved and the things we needed to place there.

We knew that we had to change and we made a priority to be able to store the products more efficiently and be able to find and move them in and out of our system more reliably.  See with a brick and mortar store display and showing products correctly takes priority.  The other thing to think about is to eliminate inventory issues such as theft.  That can ruin your number fast.  So in order to do this, we ended up ordering lots of shipping supplies in order to organize our new back-end store better. We looked up some articles and other staff remembered that most big box stores simply use cardboard bins that they ordered as shipping supplies.  It was a good plan. 

It is all about making things easy and workable.  So, we move the back end of the store into aisles that allowed us to use a numbering and letter system to categorize each product in more detail.  We had a good system but since our inventory was going to double and need to be a bit more efficient it was necessary.  The staff understood the system really quickly.  This was a wonderful thing because the alphabetical aisles and numbers for each shelf sped up each order gatherer in finding a product. With any luck, these tips will help you out.

Packaging Items for the home

This year has been a bit of a wild ride so far.  The local lockdowns in 2021 are still happening and the economy is an absolute wreck.  Unemployment is on the rise and our new president is tanking our economy even worse.  I work from home now thanks to draconian laws and so does my wife.  This means that we also spend lots of time working on the home as well since we have so much extra time on our hands.  This has taught us many lessons. From working on bathrooms to cabinets we have learned that there are some items that are a must-have for the house.  Shopping smart is key and going online and purchasing from a shipping supplies store has been the best pricing we have found.

When things go wrong sometimes you need a quick fix and that is all. Many situations have to have quick solutions to save disaster from happening.  If you want to not waste a day shopping for a part at a big box store or simply watch your house start to flood, quick fixes are important.  One of the things you need to have on hand and lots of types of it is tape.  The amount of problems you can solve with tape is incredible.  In the end, the quick fix can save hours, money, and sanity. 

So let me begin by telling a story.  This last year we painted the exterior of our home.   It was a terrible task and took many weekends.  The time came when we had just gotten back from the store and began painting.  We broke an extendable pole and were unable to reach the top of the home to paint.  This was because the part that broke was what screwed into brushes and rollers.  Instead of taking an hour of the day and forty bucks for the part we instead improvised.  I pulled out some trusty duct tape and went to town putting a brush on the end of that pole.  It took five minutes and a total of a few cents.  We were right at it again and that part of the house was painted just fine.  This was not only a time and money win, but a psychological win as well.  The more these problems don’t get fixed quickly the more disheartened you get and the less likely you are to do more projects.  So the best place to get this product and all tape is actually at shipping supplies stores.  Just batch order it all and save some cash that way too.

It doesn’t matter what you are ordering, do it all at the same time and ask for a discount.  It usually works and is a great way to save money. We wanted to make sure our attic was stored and ordered correctly. But plastic cartons cost a lot of money when you need 20 of them.  Instead, when we ordered tape we added thick heavy rated boxes to the list.  These were pretty cheap in bulk purchasing of twenty and they did not flex at all getting heavy items up the attic ladder and stored away.  Plus they will help keep out bad things and keep the items safer because they are a bit thicker and deal with the weather a little bit better. 

Cutting your budget on boxes, tape, and bubble wrap

This year has made everyone think about things a little differently.  We are now all forced to wear masks or be arrested in almost every part of the United States.  We can no longer even shop in person without one.  It has changed the fundamentals of freedom and enjoyment of the United States.  This is all over a virus that is 99/7% survivable to everyone.  That is pretty sad and to survive the rules and regulations and no go bankrupt the people and not the politicians have had to pivot to survive.  Thinking about boxes and tape is something that I never thought could help stay afloat.  The reality is that our company has made a whole lot of changes and our entire marketing section just was told to do everything in the house.  That means that we are working on projects that we never have and are learning just like major marketing companies how to purchase items from the best location in order to keep costs low and our business sales high.  

Our company started where we knew it was important and that was corporate gifting.  We knew we needed our products to be of high quality and they had to look fancy.  This is a complicated task when it comes to making regular cardboard look good.  This meant being smart and methodical. 

We started off by knowing our needs.  We looked at what we had purchased last quarter from marketing companies and had sent out previously to see what products we would have to purchase.  So we learned that we needed a specific type of box, filling, and tape.  Those were the three main items to send these gifts which we would order separately depending on the company we were gifting to.  Now that we knew what we needed the plan was to find the best price, shipping, and availability.  That was a certainly complicated task but worth the time invested due to the cost savings we could get each quarter.  The goal was to save money so we knew we needed to get all of these shipping supplies cheap and fast. 

Obviously we started on Amazon.  The idea was to find something that we could ship within two days and get in high quantity for a good price.  This was indeed what we found, but the shipping for large quantities actually was about a week because it was not on prime for most of the products we needed.  The other thing was that the custom great looking boxes were really not available.  This was a viable option and I kept all of the prices in the cart because I like to be precise.  We gave local stores a try as well. 

The local options were not really that great.  The convenience was nice because if we had an issue we could get any box, tape, or filing right away by driving down the road.  But options are flat-out limitations if there are few and that is what we found.  The prices were also much higher than Amazon and that was a sad thing.  There were issues with the cost and that was not worth it to us for limited options. So we went online instead and that is because we had to in order to survive. 

Let’s Talk About Warehouses in 2021

It is now 2021 and eCommerce is king.  The fact is that we are not all slaves to the new economy and regulations that are totally changing how we live and how we shop.  The changing economic platform that continues to hit the United States can be hard to keep up with. This goes doubly for companies that are focusing on eCommerce.  It has been seen that one area that your company needs to thrive in is its warehouse.  In order to rock the best eCommerce service having a warehouse that is firing on all cylinders is really important. Money can be lost on the smallest of things and you can lose competitive advantages by simply using the wrong tape. I must say that there is no way you can keep up with the competition unless your warehouse is rocking. So let’s go over a few areas to make sure your warehouse is operating in peak condition.

Don;t overlook the small things and realize that the biggest thing you do is get rid of your items. One simple area to look into is the supply section of the warehouse.  This can be a huge budget area and if you are doing well in this area you can cut down on lots of costs.  Now depending on your company, you may be shipping tons of boxes out.  If this is so then you need to be checking all of your shipping supplies and focusing on cutting the costs of those areas.  I have to say that finding the best price on boxes or tape can be a life-changing experience for a warehouse.  The difference in using the right tape on 500 boxes a day can be tons of money so be wise.

When you are shopping buy in bulk.  I have found that even ordering all your products together at the same time can give up to 25% discounts on thousands of dollars of merchandise a month.  That adds up quickly and can allow you to spend more in other areas or simply operate more lean in the future.  

Be cognizant of the efficiency of work.  Another area that you can look into is literally how your employees are working.  If you don’t have a system for everything that they are doing then you are most likely losing money and time on how they are working.  I like to put multiple teams or people to the same task and ask them to solve the same daily tasks and see what they do.  I may tell one to try to do it faster or however, they want to do it.  It helps to see professionals do what they want how they want to do it.  Most teams won’t find anything new, but some will create a faster more efficient warehouse and end up saving you tons of money. 

Be kind to all your shipping providers as well.  These men and women actually are the heart of your company.  So get to know them and help them out if you can. If they like to have boxes stacked one way to pick up then oblige them.  They keep your packages safe and ensure your shipping supplies get to where they are going safely. So be kind and be smart with them. 

E-commerce and shopping changes in 2021

We are now seeing the record number of businesses that incorporated in eCommerce this past year and the online sales are absolutely skyrocketing.  It has been a change in how we think, how we shop, and how we flat outlive.  Trash companies are having to cope with the massive amounts of extra shipping supplies coming in.  So this year was a huge year for the entire economic environment of the world.  The Covid-19 pandemic took place this year and it legitimately changed the world and how we produce, ship, and shop. 

The majority of the world ended up moving into its own version of social lockdowns and social distancing and it forced a good portion of the world to be on house arrest.  House arrest means that you are not able to leave your home without the fear of being arrested.  This was a worldwide acceptable compromise for health.  It did turn out to be the liberty killer that took away the freedom of much of the world for a virus that turned out to be not what we were told.  It was actually similar to the common flu and just like the flu people who have complicated health issues are susceptible to it.  Now we are still adjusting to the new normal of purchasing. It has been a new normal of success for many as well and if you are not selling online then you probably should look into it. 

We are now seeing the effects of the new world order.  The change in shopping and purchasing has caused a rise in shipping supplies and use all across the world.  Deliver jobs have become one of the most essential and hired positions across the world.  Sales for online shopping almost doubled in the two-month lockdown in the United States and Amazon profited like none other even after a 40% stock market drop. Companies that sell shipping supplies ended up selling more boxes, tape, and supplies than ever before.  This is due to the change in how people were purchasing. Now companies like Shopify are struggling to keep up with all the new people selling. 

It is sad to see the destruction of so much local business though.  It was not as easy for a walk in store to be told by the government that they could no longer be open.  Brick and mortar stores changed to e-commerce stores overnight. People were not able to leave their house for fear of being arrested and they ended up purchasing through fear from their home for several months. This fundamentally changed a large majority of stores.  They had to move from the mindset that they would be able to sell face to face and change up to the fact that people would be searching online.  So signage marketing completely went caput.  SEO became one of the most sought after marketing products. 

Marketing is now the most important tool.  It is simply the fact that people cannot buy your new brick and mortar, turned eCommerce products if they cannot find you online.  This means you need to budget quickly for the change in order to stay ahead of the competition.  If you are new to the game it costs money and takes time to hit the top of the search pages so get on it fast.

Sending Packages in 2021

We all have had to really work on a new model for life as the year has changed.  It is more complicated to go shopping in person and that is why eCommerce has really changed the whole game for the United States.  The times are getting a little crazy as retail stores have had to change.  The Covid-19 Pandemic has systematically altered the American Economy and many stores are having to adapt quickly.  Lots of stores have gone from open storefronts to only being allowed to operate as e-commerce companies.  What the unforeseen effects have been is that now every item is being shipped instead of having a customer pick it up in the store.  This is creating lots of extra costs in many different areas.  

Many companies are really learning to flex and become more online-focused.  This is not the easiest transition though and truly the unforeseen cost in all of this is time.  Changing a company from a brick and mortar store to an e-commerce business takes lots of time.  Now entire departments have to be created or changed in order to actually ship out orders. There now is no longer a cash register but a computer telling you to gather up an individual’s order.  This could be lots of products from all around a store.  There now has to be essentially a new position of shopper created to gather all the orders. This takes time away from current employees doing their normal jobs because the orders have to actually be gathered and then moved into a new shipping area. 

It is also true that you can help survive in this new time by being wise and learning to cut costs anywhere possible.  One area that many stores did not quantity in their change to becoming e-commerce retailers is the cost of shipping supplies.  Products that were once going to be sold directly on-off the store shelf and put into a bag are having to be packaged into shipping bags or boxes. Each and every box or bag now comes with separate costs.  The retail stores purchase the shipping back or box.  Some products require extra cost due to their weight.  Some heavy-duty boxes cost between10and 200 dollars just for the box.  Then each package must then be sealed.  The costs go up because many different types of tapes have to be used.  Before they can be sealed some products are fragile and have to be packaged with extra materials.  So stores must now purchase packing peanuts or air bubble products, and in some cases massive amounts of paper to make sure products won’t shift during shipping.  

Now don’t get caught up in other people’s issues.  See their failings as an opportunity to jump into the market with full force and heart.  The shipping supplies stores are having trouble keeping up with demand.  Amazon just hired 100,000 workers in order to keep up with demand and now prominent packaging stores are struggling to create enough boxes and packages themselves to ship to all these new e-commerce retailers. So take into account that there will be extra time for supplies to reach you. Try to keep up with the correct quantity of orders coming in and purchase ahead of time. And know that you are in the best possible place and that is supplying where others stores are simply failing. 

How do you eCommerce in 2021?

Now that the pandemic is full-blown rather it is or not has let us know that shopping online is the new normal.  We have to because of all the regulations being put in place.  The change in shopping has also left us with a change in how packages arrive.  Goods that are shipped across the country and internationally are something relatively new in the history of trade. It was only a century ago that most things were bought and sold in a brick and mortar shop. Sure, people would send items long-distance, but those were almost exclusively to friends or family members, not for business.

Now that times have changed and the whole industry is different it is pretty cool.  The problem wasn’t that we didn’t have the technology to ship containers or boxes or parcels. It was the technology of payment that was lacking. Think about it. Why would a company want to send you a product if you couldn’t pay them until after you received it? Similarly, why would you want to pay for something across the country and only be sent it after they received your check or cash? The whole international shipping and legal side of life were really working hard then. 

But with times comes change.  The internet, however, has solved this problem. Credit cards make it easy to put in your payment information in a matter of seconds, and before you know it, your items are being packaged in shipping supplies and loaded up in a truck to start their journey to your house. This has left us now in the pandemic with hundreds of boxes per house to get rid of. 

But bad things will always happen and the fact is that it’s taken quite a bit of time for our conception of trade to evolve to the state it has, but it begs the question: What will our business model be like in another 50 or 100 years? Will shipping be twice as quick? Will things remain as they are since our transportation is a pretty high speed and efficient as it can get as is? It’s too early to tell what will happen, but I can bet that autonomous vehicles will be a cog in the system that speeds the process up even more. Sure, everyone seems to be a bit timid or even afraid of the idea of vehicles driving themselves, but by taking the human component out of the model, business is actually faster, more efficient, and more objective. Yes, we’re gonna leave the whole can of worms that is jobs vs. AI out of this article.  That is simply something we don’t want to touch. 

Now when it comes to this whole new eCommerce world what do you think? Will our idea of shipping supplies evolve in the next century, too? Will cardboard be outdated by a newer, cheaper, sturdier substance that is just as eco-friendly? Will shipping become a cheaper thing overall, or will prices rise simply because the efficiency will increase? Has it really worked or have we just left our economy and also our environment in a bigger hole. If only we could peer just a few decades into the future, I’m sure a lot of these questions would be answered in a short fashion. But life is hard and the world keeps moving on.  

Holiday Packing Supplies that help

This is my favorite time of year.  The winter is here and the holidays bring about the best of times for most people in the United States.  This is also the time that you stock up on office supplies, many of those including stuff you can use to ship items, and then the supplies sit there unused for years. You forget about them, much like other home essentials that have been untouched for ages and they continue to sit there.  But really this is a time to take an account of all the things that matter. If you’re going to spend the money on supplies, you surely meant to use them at some point, right? It is wise to make the most out of what you have and where you are going to be getting them from so you don’t waste hard-earned cash.

In 2020 this is the time to get your eCommerce supplies in gear and spending too much is simply not an option.  Well, we all have good intentions for most of our purchases. Shipping supplies are no different. Life just gets in the way. But luckily, there are ways to make use of those supplies you once intended to use, and you can have fun using them this holiday season, too. It may take a tad bit of work on your end, but it almost always guarantees to make someone else (and yourself!) happy around this time of year.

Don’t forget to be thoughtful.  When life gets in the way of your household and items you don’t use, it also tends to impede close friendships. People move away. You fall out of touch. What better way to rekindle a friendship than to randomly send a small bauble or a book as a gift to an old-time friend of yours? Pack it in a box, tape it up, wrap it, label it, and ship it out. They’ll be surprised and see that you cared enough to think of them.

Keep in touch with your family.  Whether you choose to send one of these to your elder family members that you can’t always visit, family friends, coworkers, or someone you know who’s away at college, family Christmas letters are nice little surprises for people that may not always be able to keep up with your life. These also show you care when you send them to someone close, and it’s a great way to show off the family and home!

Take the extra gear and have some fun with it.  Use your scissors, tape, twine, and packing paper this year to spice up your decorations, whether you’re wrapping “fake” gifts as decorations with packing paper or using twine as draping on your trees.

And for the decorations that don’t make it up this year, think about using some of your cardboard boxes and packaging tape to store what you don’t use. You can simply box up the clutter and store it in the attic, basement, or a closet, especially since it’s tough to throw certain things away.  There you have it. Three simple ways to repurpose the shipping supplies you once bought but never got around to using. Whether you’re making an old friend’s day, touching base with a distant family member, or decorating your home, you can be sure to get some use out of these common items that you’ve neglected for too long. Just remember to have fun!

Sell More Pay Less on Packaging

This year is super exciting for the business world.  It is truly fun to see so many new companies taking over the eCommerce world and learning how to sell online.  It is a huge part of the economy now and is becoming necessary for so many who may be susceptible to COVID-19.  That mostly applies to the elderly, but being able to have most items in the whole world delivered to your door and not having to go out is not only life-changing but maybe life-saving as well.  What we have seen in our company is that all the companies we work with are changing how they are doing work.  We are seeing tons of companies selling more online and learning how to send items to their buyers in the wisest of ways.  But we are also seeing a lot of failure in this whole area as well.  It is sad to see the failures of these companies and some of them are simply because they are buying shipping supplies at the wrong location and for the wrong price. 

What we are seeing is that many companies and business owners are so stressed and busy that they are not looking for the best deal on shipping supplies and are brushing off the missed savings as a necessary thing.  But I have to remind people that if your entire company is based around sending items to people then each box, bag, and every single sell could be losing you tons of money if you are not shopping for them wisely.  That is a huge thing to think about and it is so many times overlooked.  What we see most often is that the owner is moving from a brick and mortar company to an online selling business.

The online business is generally something they have done a little bit before but never full time.  So they have purchased their boxes and bags at a higher price from a local vendor and just keep buying them.  What they are not doing is shopping around for the best prices.  They are not looking for bulk deals or going to the source of the box makers or bag creators.  Instead, they are paying an upcharge amount because they are not willing to spend a little bit of time shopping for an actual deal.

I also see these newer business owners buying from Amazon for all of their products.  This is bad because they are instantly being charged 10% more for buying off a platform that charges the seller 10% per sale at a minimum.  This is so unwise to do in the long run because you are losing at least that amount on each sale.   The truth is that the major online packaging companies are willing to send you all the gear and supplies you need for 20-30% less than you are generally paying at the other location.

But they are also missing out on the advice they are not getting from buying from a company that simply does not have a chat or even a phone line.  If you go to a packaging company online you can at least get good advice on the packaging you need. I have found my company has saved 35% by making this choice and I hope you are able to do the same.

Is Your Warehouse Ready for 2021?

This year has been a big ball of change for much of our world.  The United States economy has completely changed and the way we do business has shifted into a whole new realm of shopping and buying.  People are now buying online out of necessity or in some cases even law.  It is a wild situation we are in thanks to the regulations put in place due to COVID-19 but there are some things you can do to make sure your company is staying ahead of the curve.  I have been working with a lot of businesses and they are all making changes to their warehouse to stay relevant and to stay on top of this crisis.  I know some things will not apply to everyone, but most of the changes are revolving around their shipping supplies and their ability to be able to be a more efficient business.  That is important when millions of new companies are jumping into eCommerce and you may be one of them.  So let’s go over a few things to make sure you are aware of some easy changes that can save a whole lot of money.

The first and most important thing is to make sure you are ready for getting your products to your customer.  This is a part that many people think they know the best or understand more than others.  The truth is that I have seen more companies struggle on the simple logistics side of getting products to buyers more than anything.  I have also seen more companies fail in this area and turn to bankruptcy because they refused to make changes or take just a few hours out to look for better deals.  When it comes to finding the best prices on your shipping supplies you must not settle for the easiest route. 

What is really happening is companies are moving from brick and mortar to eCommerce and they are slightly aware of packaging.  They have purchased small amounts of boxes, bags, and tape from the same company for years.  They are generally charged a large amount more than they should be and when they go to buy in bulk they get really hurt due to that huge upsell in prices. This sounds simple, but it happens over and over again and these guys who have been with teh same company for so long just think their prices are fine or ok.

The flip side to this is that a new company just orders all their stuff on Amazon.  It is simple to do this and fast, but the issue is that they are losing at a minimum of 10-15% every single item they purchase because Amazon takes that percent right off the top.  The truth is that if you shop and find the manufacturer or the major packaging stores online you can save a bundle of money by getting not only the correct products for yourself and your warehouse but at the best price with actual advice going behind them.  

These companies have departments that are ready to help you find the right item for your product.  They want you to ship the best so you ship more and buy more from them.  It is a win-win situation and you won’t get that from any other location at the best price. C