Reverse Engineering Current Boxes: SCO will analyze current complement of boxes right down to the caliper of the paperboard and type of corrugation used to construct the boxes. For example, corrugation can range from narrow and thin for high vertical strength to wide and large for improved side cushioning. Which is better? It depends on the material in the box and how it is shipped. We also evaluate the ratio of length, width and height for each box because some ratios are inherently more inefficient and thus more expensive to construct and ship.
Computer Aided Box Selection: The largest e-commerce shippers have had a distinct advantage because of software which identifies the best shipping case for each order. The benefit comes from the fact that the computer can pinpoint the best box every time whereas those operations relying on an employee to choose the shipping box get the wrong box as much as 25% of the time increasing costs in box material [corrugate + filler] and freight because the box is larger and weighs more than it has to. The computer supported operation has another big benefit because there is no limit to the number of boxes being used; a manual operation is usually limited by human capability to about six boxes. SCO will install free-standing computer aided box selection software which can interface with any order management system and make smaller operations as efficient as the mega-shippers.
Identification of best array of boxes: Once we have collected several months of shipping data [specific boxes used for each shipment as well as weight and cube of every item in the box] we use mathematical modeling software to pinpoint the specific sizes of boxes that will deliver the lowest total cost considering packaging material, packaging labor and freight to destination.
Packaging Engineering: SCO has a team of engineers each with a master’s degree and more than 25 years of experience. Our team is composed of three internal associates and four free- lance resources we can call on when workload requires. Our engineering assets far surpass that of most Fortune 500 companies. Because one of our engineers teaches at Rochester Institute of Technology – perhaps the world’s top school for Packaging Science – we have access to their packaging laboratory to line test complex packaging issues. Lastly we have a working relationship with another consulting firm that specializes in engineering of packaging lines, especially for health and beauty aids products.
Software: SCO developed its own analytical tools when we started the business because there was no commercial software available at that time. Over the years we have enhanced our software as we gained more insight with each project. Today, for pick-pack operations we are able to evaluate millions of possibilities to pinpoint the lowest cost combination of boxes. Our high water mark is the account for which we evaluated 400 different boxes against 2 million unique shipments the client made each year. This entailed 800 million separate analyses to complete the project. It is impossible to do work like this without software because manual effort would take years to complete.
The computer aided box selection software we install for clients was not developed by SCO but we have tested the product and use it in some of our work. SCO is the only agent representing the software which is in use at many companies in North America.
SCO also utilizes the most widely used commercial packaging software which is used by many major manufacturers; we have used the product since it was introduced over 20 years ago. The co-founder of our company served as the beta site tester for the software when it was first released and today is a certified trainer and installer. He is considered the world’s most experienced user of the software after using it for consulting at more than 500 companies.
Experience: Based on the number of consulting projects we have completed in 25+ years, SCO is the undisputed North American leader in packaging optimization. Our clients include some of the most recognized companies including General Electric, Target Stores, Toys-r-Us, Office Depot, United Stationers, Nestle, H J Heinz, Rich Products, ConAgra Foods, Pinnacle Foods, Covidien. We have also been active in Europe working on packaging projects there as well as conducting packaging workshops in Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and UK. Although we haven’t worked in Asia we have developed packaging specifications for many Asian producers on behalf of their North American customers who hired us to advise them. Note that SCO’s staff includes a PhD in mathematical modeling since our analytics is based on complex mathematics.