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Packing: Have you got it covered?

Jun 18, 2012
Packing feature.
There is not a single moving company in the world that does not buy packing materials of some kind.

In this feature we provide information and comment from two of the leading packaging companies that serve the removals sector: Haywoods and Simpsons.  As moving companies strive to achieve the optimum between quality and price, the choice of the right materials is vitally important.  Here is a little guidance.

New trends and increases material costs

Andrew Simpson from Simpson Packaging, has advised that there seems to be a trend developing for movers to use more re-usable packing materials rather than the traditional disposable types. 

“In these testing times people seem to be buying materials such as the fitted Ecowrap covers, plasma TV bags, and mirror picture covers,” he explained. “These are initially more expensive than polythene or paper covers but save both money and time in the long run. This is also the case with plastic wardrobe cartons and crates.”

Andrew also said that his company had noticed a trend away from the use of bubble blankets for export wrapping back to traditional paper blankets which are roughly 30% cheaper. “Our group company Dependable Packaging, as one of only two UK manufacturers, is able to offer significant cost savings, stock holding, and personalised in line printing,” he said.

Simpsons has also introduced a valuable new service to movers allowing them to make profits on materials supplied to customers without the need to hold stock: its direct-to-client pick and pack service. “Removal companies can sell packaging through their websites (we provide product images free of charge) and when an order is placed we despatch the order directly to their client’s address. This means the removal company does not need to stock product and does not waste precious time delivering to clients themselves. Also this provides a very easy form of extra revenue with very little work involved.”

Many customers, however, prefer to sell their materials from their own receptions. For these companies Simpsons supplies display stands for selling materials to the general public. A stand occupies half a square metre in reception and can hold up to a £1,000 worth of retail product, again providing extra revenue.

Andrew warns of higher prices all round for materials both those made from oil and paper.  “The oil price is increasing month after month driving up polymer prices (plastics, bubble, tape and transport/manufacturing cost),” he explained.  “Also the increasing dominance of a few major players in the European paper market is driving up

Right: Simpsons provides its customers with packaging materials they can sell on to their customers, without the need for stockholding.

Photo: A display stand for selling packing materials to the general public; a plastic wardrobe carton; Plasma TV Bags are increasingly popular.

Haywoods of Leeds

Over the last 100 years Haywoods of Leeds has seen good times and bad.  But, even with its long memory then company admits that the last few years has been pretty poor.  However, the family business that started from a tiny living room in Leeds in the 1920s, has come through and is thriving again, although the market has changed.

It was with the supply of specialist paper blankets for removals that Haywoods kicked off its relationship with the moving industry, which quickly led on to the supply of other items such as webbing, tape and boxes. It was during the 1970s that the packaging side of the business took over from workwear sales as the mainstay of the business.

From the boom years of the 80’s through the tougher times of the 90s and the recent recession, Haywoods has seen in a 30% downturn in its packaging business. “This has been the worst economic time in the history of our business,” said Martin Haywood, the company’s Managing Director. “We are seeing significant price increases on our materials several times per year which is very difficult to manage.”

Haywoods, like many companies has had to work harder to get better deals and now has a sales team headed up by Brendon Jones, devoted entirely to packaging sales. The company’s e-mail and other marketing campaigns are working well and Haywoods is now on the way to increased profits year on year.

The packaging industry is extremely competitive and there is no option other than to buy in bulk and shop around for the best deals. The pressure on pricing has meant that commodity items like boxes have had to be sold almost at cost with profits being made on the additional items that are not so price sensitive.

“Our customers shop around for the best price on the boxes and we always try to give them what they want. We make our profits on the additionals such as tape and specialist covers that we supply,” said Martin.

It is these high quality items, such as the reusable specialist covers that are now widely used in the industry, that provide Haywoods with the revenue it needs.  The company has its own equipment making padded sofa and mattress covers and packaging for delicate items such as TV screens and computers.  Although the company recognises its responsibility to the industry to provide a full packing materials service, delivered nationwide, it is these new types of handling materials that will provide its future prosperity.

Kraft paper price increase

Mondi Kraft Paper, a business unit of Europe & International Division Vienna, has recently announced a price increase of 8-10% for all unbleached and bleached sack kraft grades in Europe.  The increase will be implemented for deliveries effective June 1, 2012.  This will inevitably put further pressure on carton prices.

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