In an earlier post, I lamented receiving an order from Staples where the box was way too big for the product. I had a vague idea of why that had happened, but reader Andrew Roberson did us one better, tracking down the company that provides Staples’ fulfillment machinery.
One example is the machine you see at left, which takes predetermined widths of corrugated cardboard and turns it into boxes. They’re produced by a company called Packsize and, as suspected, they do indeed reduce waste in the long run (with my case being an outlier).
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I looked into the company’s system of “on-demand packaging,” and found it edifying to learn exactly what is going on inside a fulfillment center:
Here’s the video Roberson linked to, which shows the inside of an actual Staples facility incorporating the machines:
So it appears that Staples has chosen the sizes of corrugated Z-fold most common to their order, with my tiny battery being an anomaly.
Finally, here’s a toy company explaining how Packsize’s system totally changed their fulfillment game, with some helpful explanations from the company veep on how things used to work versus how they’re done now:
I was surprised to hear that they did not have to pay for the machines, but just need to buy the corrugated from Packsize. It looks like the razor-and-handle business model works well here.