There are many kinds of dunnage. From the typical elements to even things like wood chips or twine. Dunnage is there to protect. It doesn’t really matter what it is made of, just as long as they protect the product to create the best shipping experience. Although it doesn’t necessarily matter, there are standard elements that in specific instances they perform better. A few of the most common types of dunnage that are used for order fulfillment are:
Now who doesn’t know about bubble wrap? It is perfect for protecting fragile items while they get shipped off. Once the product is unwrapped, bubble wrap is fun for the kids, or can be used repeatedly. This is good for the environment as well as the customer!
Not into bubble wrap? Foam wrap is a great alternative. Foam wrap is made specially for fragile products. It’s thin and super light while still providing the padding the product needs. You can order it in sheets and some specialty items, having a custom sleeve would ensure save travel for the product. You see these sleeves with wrapping china and dishes. It can be used repeatedly, although it cannot be recycled
Kraft paper is flexible and large. There are multiple methods you could use kraft paper for. You can wrap it around the product, you can bunch it up and put it in the empty spaces in the box or rip it up and use little pieces of it. Kraft paper provides medium protection, but it is incredibly cheap. You can find it anywhere and it is recyclable after receiving.
Air pillows are plastic pillows that are inflated to give cushion. They are relatively cheap and very lightweight. Having them be so lightweight makes them a very popular for ecommerce because you aren’t adding too much weight (and cost) to the shipments. They keep your products protected without adding too much to the weight of the whole package.
Molded foam is commonly used for the dunnage that is set inside of the product’s box. Rarely is it in the larger box that they are shipped inside of. Most of the time it is used with electronics, like headphones, a tv, or even a computer. This prevents the sensitive equipment from moving too much while also providing shock absorption.
Shredded cardboard is just that, repurposed old cardboard that is shredded and put into the new box to make sure the fragile products are protected. You can recycle the cardboard yourself, if you have the machine that cuts them into accordion-like sheets. These sheets are easily wrapped around fragile items to provide strong protection. Their flexibility makes them very a common choice for bottles.
Packing peanuts are a classic box infill. These small Styrofoam balls are able to fit in basically every space and absorb significant impact. They are great to protect your products, but they stick to everything and are often pulled out of the box or bag when you take the product out. They get everywhere so chances are they will be all over the place for both you and your customers.
Hard plastics would be best used when shipping heavy or sharp products, especially in B2B and industrial settings. The plastic is usually molded to your specific product meaning there should be consistency when packing your product, the dimensions of your product as well as the box you are shipping it in should be the same not matter what. Hard plastic is more expensive and there might be specific requirements you will need to meet when using it for freight. Although it is more expensive and a little difficult to get right, it can protect the large and bulky equipment better than any other dunnage can.
Here at Launch Fulfillment we give you access to a large range of dunnage options. So, we can help our customers keep their products protected when being shipped, we stock many of the mentioned types of dunnage with things like custom-cut boxes to ensure your product is protected and secure in the packaging they are sent in. There might be moments where you need specific materials or are concerned about damage, or maybe just want to stand out. In those instances, you can always talk to us about custom dunnage solutions. We can work together to create the best custom packaging for you and your product. Things like tape or boxes with your logo on it can change the customer experience to create a great business to customer relationship.
Feel free to contact us and we can get you the right information to know if Launch is the right 3PL for you.