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Thread: Order Packing Station/Table/Bench - What are your clever items and time savers?

  1. #1

    Question Order Packing Station/Table/Bench - What are your clever items and time savers?

    Of course for an online business, logistics and the process of getting stuff into boxes and labels on those boxes is an important aspect of our business. For the last several years, I've used just a folding table with a 4'x8'x1/2" Coroplast top along with a area under the table for storage of papers (instruction sheets mostly) and for tools (cutters, card board scoring, pens, markers, sand paper, etc).

    I've now decided that it's time to have a serious packing table. I do about 5 (off season) to 25 (peak season) orders per day. About half my items are smaller, usually they'll ship in USPS Region Rate A/B or padded envelopes and the other half are usually 48" x 24" x 3" boxes which I custom make on the fly from 4x8 cardboard pads.

    I'd like to get any tips or tricks others have incorporated into their packing station that help make processing orders quicker and more efficient. Here is a list of a few improvements I plan on making:

    * Overhead storage for standard padded envelopes and boxes
    * Localized Zebra printer, scale and computer for shipping from the packing station (currently this is done at another location in the shop)
    * Cardboard pad storage (currently located on a storage rack away from the packing station) below the table
    * Quick access to pre-printed labels (order 1 of 2, Thank you, etc)
    * Slots for storage of paper inserts/instructions

    What other suggestions (photos are even better!) or tips do you have before I start out building my new packing station?

    Thanks,
    David

  2. #2
    We do about 10 to 25 shipments a day ranging from 2" x 4" x 6" to huge boxes. We mostly use UPS Worldship installed locally on a specific PC with a zebra printer. We don't have anything special for a table. We use a table similar to a laundry folding table you might see in a laundromat (that's our business) One side of the table holds all our free USPS boxes and associated label/etc. We reuse as many boxes as possible from incoming shipments both to reduce cost and environmental conservation reasons. We store these "used" boxes in an area of our warehouse that is pretty close to the table. We reuse all the incoming packing materials, peanuts, bubblewrap, kraftpaper, foam, etc. We do buy from Uline tape rolls, various boxes that we normally don't get as incoming shipments. Most of these item fit under the shipping table. For USPS shipments I login to USPS and print labels via a networked laser printer close to the shipping table. We have a mechanical laundry scale next to the table. I also have a 150lb digital scale close by as well.

    We are not exactly very well organized but and we tend to run around to different areas to get a package ready but the current method works for us.
    Last edited by Marc_NY; 12-03-2012 at 05:07 PM.

  3. #3
    Do a Google Search on packing tables and you can get some great ideas. Getting the right height is a big issue. Find a place you can buy parts for shelves, and you can get the parts you need for your own custom packing table.

    It's amazing the price to buy a real packing table!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ritchey View Post
    Do a Google Search on packing tables and you can get some great ideas. Getting the right height is a big issue. Find a place you can buy parts for shelves, and you can get the parts you need for your own custom packing table.

    It's amazing the price to buy a real packing table!
    The simple stuff is easy to find - some shelves, a sticker holder, a filing cabinet, etc. It's all those little "tricks" - I know for me there are a number of them:

    * Printing (via CNC in my case) shipping costs, product numbers, commonly referenced items on the table directly
    * Using a magnet (super strong) attached below the table to hold the tape gun and other metal items. That way I can just "slap" them on the side of the table when they are not in use
    * Storage area in the end of the table for my t-Square (for making custom boxes)
    * Binder clips to hold orders to the table while assembling them

    That's the kind of stuff you don't find out on google for the generic units. While in some cases this may only save a few seconds per order, they add up.

    David

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc_ASN View Post
    We do about 10 to 25 shipments a day ranging from 2" x 4" x 6" to huge boxes. We mostly use UPS Worldship installed locally on a specific PC with a zebra printer. We don't have anything special for a table. We use a table similar to a laundry folding table you might see in a laundromat (that's our business) One side of the table holds all our free USPS boxes and associated label/etc. We reuse as many boxes as possible from incoming shipments both to reduce cost and environmental conservation reasons. We store these "used" boxes in an area of our warehouse that is pretty close to the table. We reuse all the incoming packing materials, peanuts, bubblewrap, kraftpaper, foam, etc. We do buy from Uline tape rolls, various boxes that we normally don't get as incoming shipments. Most of these item fit under the shipping table. For USPS shipments I login to USPS and print labels via a networked laser printer close to the shipping table. We have a mechanical laundry scale next to the table. I also have a 150lb digital scale close by as well.

    We are not exactly very well organized but and we tend to run around to different areas to get a package ready but the current method works for us.
    Am I the only that gets excited anytime they get a package and see a whole bunch of air pillows inside?? My husband thinks I have a problem because I'm elated to get these things for "free." We also try to resuse any packaging we get personally.

  6. #6
    D62ADC_web_detail.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by shamieya View Post
    Am I the only that gets excited anytime they get a package and see a whole bunch of air pillows inside?? My husband thinks I have a problem because I'm elated to get these things for "free." We also try to resuse any packaging we get personally.
    I use recycled news print from the news print "dumpsters" - are there other people that use newsprint for packing?

    Here is another item I couldn't live without:

    http://www.bostitch.com/default.asp?...oil+Box+Closer

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by shamieya View Post
    Am I the only that gets excited anytime they get a package and see a whole bunch of air pillows inside?? My husband thinks I have a problem because I'm elated to get these things for "free." We also try to resuse any packaging we get personally.
    Nope! My boyfriend even gives me stuff from packages he receives because he knows how much of a dork I am about free packing supplies. And I don't even pay for that stuff, my boss does! I think I have a problem, too...

  8. #8
    I found the following links useful for getting ideas. Height is a huge issue. For the table top, white laminate works well. The magnet I would worry about damaging electronics if it's that strong. You can also buy spacers to make a table higher from Amazon.

    http://www.cisco-eagle.com/catalog/c...g-station.aspx
    http://www.drillspot.com/products/34..._Packing_Table
    http://www.dehnco.com/work/ps.cfm
    http://www.uline.com/Grp_264/Packing-Tables
    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/EDS...ng-Table-6JG53

    A boltless solution is what I recommend for flexibility. This place sells components and I was going to create from scratch, before I got some used ones and refurbished them.

    http://www.actionwp.com/spv-72.aspx

    Finished product using a boltless system:
    http://www.actionwp.com/spv-247.aspx
    Last edited by ritchey; 12-04-2012 at 12:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dmoore View Post
    dmoore,

    what the heck do you do with that?!

  10. #10
    Great thread with great ideas for me to advance my packing station. Currently I use 4x8 1/2" folding tables that you buy at Walmart. I have 3 of them set in a U-shape. I keep some of my excess inventory in huge boxes under the tables. 1 of them holds my most used boxes/bags, another holds my packing supplies (tape,scissors, scales,etc) and the other is used for picking the items off the slat wall and laying it out for packaging. For now this works for me but I'm definitely interested in an all in one solution. I'd love to have the labels printed where the packaging takes place.

  11. #11
    Get these, your back will thank you! Look for a bed riser.

    http://www.amazon.com/KENNEDY-Home-C...ds=bed+raisers

    Target also has them. Before I went to my real packing table, I was using this with my ex Kitchen Table, Desks shipping solutions.

    [QUOTE=reigny;8921]Great thread with great ideas for me to advance my packing station. Currently I use 4x8 1/2" folding tables that you buy at Walmart.

  12. #12
    Thanks! But I'm 5'2" and only wear heels once in a while when packing orders. [QUOTE=ritchey;8936]Get these, your back will thank you! Look for a bed riser.

    http://www.amazon.com/KENNEDY-Home-C...ds=bed+raisers

    Target also has them. Before I went to my real packing table, I was using this with my ex Kitchen Table, Desks shipping solutions.

    Quote Originally Posted by reigny View Post
    Great thread with great ideas for me to advance my packing station. Currently I use 4x8 1/2" folding tables that you buy at Walmart.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by GGG View Post
    dmoore,

    what the heck do you do with that?!
    What CAN'T you do with it? I make custom boxes to fit a wide variety of items from standard 4x8 cardboard pads. The stapler allows me to end-fasten the flaps or in the case of thin boxes (less than 1.5" in height) build up an end using coroplast using staples.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ritchey View Post
    The magnet I would worry about damaging electronics if it's that strong.
    No problem with the magnet (which is very strong) since it is screwed to the side (below the top)

    Quote Originally Posted by ritchey View Post
    For the table top, white laminate works well.
    You might give some 10+mm coroplast (or it's generic) a try. It's white, you can write on it, plus when you cut things on top of it, it doesn't ruin the blade like harder materials do. Plus, after it's got all the junk on it after a few months, just flip it over and you get a new clean surface - just screw down with some screws and fender washers.

    What I like about the one above is the computer screen (abiet old..) on the arm. I'm planning on that with a unit from monoprice.

    [QUOTE=ritchey;8871]http://www.drillspot.com/products/34..._Packing_Table
    I wonder how this is worth $1,800. For the $1,800 you could buy the steel, paint it, purchase a welder and chop saw and STILL have money left over. Of course I guess there is the time factor.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by reigny View Post
    Thanks! But I'm 5'2" and only wear heels once in a while when packing orders. Before I went to my real packing table, I was using this with my ex Kitchen Table, Desks shipping solutions.
    I could see where it would be useful to have an adjustable table if you have more than one person packing orders. I have a customer that also sells online and he was telling me that his wife packs orders on the floor of a bedroom - I can't imagine having to do that. So, even I guess in your case, a kitchen table is an upgrade.

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