Overstock.com® Experiences Increased Productivity and Cost Savings
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SADDLE BROOK, N.J. (June XX, 2008) – In 1999, Patrick Byrne founded Overstock.com® to sell the huge quantities of excess items left over from the dot-com bust. Since then, the company has grown to become the premier online retail outlet, offering more than 700,000 products ranging from furniture and bedding to books, electronics and apparel. Quality assurance for Overstock products is of the utmost importance to its fulfillment manager, Dyke Simmons, who also is a graduate gemologist and responsible for ensuring the jewelry Overstock sells is the quality the buyer expects.
At the company’s 360,000 square-foot facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, Simmons began looking for a new automated packaging machine to package jewelry, as well as DVDs and CDs. Prior to discovering Sealed Air’s PriorityPak® automated packaging system, Overstock was using specialty boxes and non-cushioned, paper mailers, a process which required up to six people to package the jewelry, CDs and DVDs shipped daily.
Overstock researched several systems before choosing Sealed Air’s PriorityPak® automated packaging system. The speed and versatility of the PriorityPak® system, along with the tightness of the packages it produces, set it apart from the other alternative under consideration. In addition, the PriorityPak® system allowed the operator to accurately place the right label on each package.
The speed of the PriorityPak® system was most important to Simmons. The previous packaging process took six people up to eight hours to package the equivalent of what just one operator can package using the PriorityPak® system in the same time frame. The new system allowed the other packagers to work on alternate packaging lines that experienced backup and needed extra help.
Aside from the speed of the system, Overstock was evaluating the movement of the product inside the package, product protection and overall appearance. Simmons packaged and shipped numerous items to the corporate office to determine if the package could hold up.
“We have several different packaging solutions, each depending on the type of item being shipped,” stated Simmons. “It is important for our jewelry to be packaged quickly and shipped in a tight-fitting package so there is minimal shifting and less damage.”
Simmons noticed with other packaging methods, there was excess space inside the package for products to shift, which often caused damage. The PriorityPak® system utilizes patented technology which compresses the material around the product to be packaged, putting it ahead of the others in the testing process.
The new packaging process is simple and allows Overstock packers to package and label products in a single-step process. Once the jewelry items are brought to the packaging area with the PriorityPak® system, the packaging operator works with one order at a time to remove the label from the packing slip with the item and apply it to the top layer of the PriorityWrap® Bubble Laminate. The PriorityPak® system is designed to allow the packaging operator to apply the shipping label to the top material web of PriorityWrap® Bubble Laminate, and then place the item with the packaging slip on the bottom material web of PriorityWrap® Bubble Laminate – providing 100 percent pack-sequence verification that ensures the right label is always on the right package. The PriorityPak® system senses the item and begins the packaging process.
As the item moves through the system, the smart-sensing technology on the PriorityPak® system scans the item’s dimensions to deliver the correct amount of the Cold Seal® cohesive-coated PriorityWrap® Bubble Laminate from two supply rolls to the system. The specially formulated Cold Seal® coating sticks to itself, not the product, to create a seal adjacent to all four sides of the item – creating a secure seal that suspends the product in the middle of the packaging, minimizing product shifting and providing additional corner protection.
The protective package locks and seals the product in place, providing superior protection from the rigors of shipping and handling. The package is then dropped onto a conveyor belt where it is automatically sorted and delivered to a bin for shipping. The whole packaging process takes only seconds.
“We are pleased with the PriorityPak® system,” said Simmons. “There was very little training involved, and the new system allowed for a better sorting process.”
Employees previously had to package carts of products into paper mailer envelopes. These packages would not convey down the line, so they went into totes and traveled to another station where they were weighed, scanned and sorted into bins before they could be loaded onto trucks for shipment. With the PriorityPak® system, all items are packaged, weighed and sorted quickly and automatically.
During peak season, the PriorityPak® system typically packages up to 2,500 shipments per day. Two people can easily package this amount in about eight hours. The prior method of packaging would have required approximately 64 hours of collective labor to package the same quantity.
In addition to saving time, the new PriorityPak® system helped Overstock eliminate wasteful excess packaging.
“We were over-packaging our products before, but not anymore,” said Simmons. “With the PriorityPak® system, the operator does not need to think about which box to choose for different products. The PriorityPak® system delivers the perfect amount of material every time.”
“Although material is slightly more expensive than mailers, the PriorityPak® system actually saves us money,” stated Simmons. “We tried to shut down the system for one day to see the effects, but the lack of proficiency without the machine was so great, we had to run it.”
Overstock also uses Jiffylite® cushioned mailers for manual shipments. A 53-foot trailer constantly supplies Overstock operators with rolls of Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning for protection around various items such as dinnerware sets, digital cameras, MP3 players and iPods.
“We added two Fill-Air® inflatable void-fill systems with overhead delivery to speed up our packaging process for small, bulk and multiple item shipments,” said Simmons. “One Fill-Air® system can be used for two different high-speed tape lines, and the overhead delivery allows multiple people to pull cushions from different angles.”
Sealed Air will continue to provide Overstock with other efficient packaging alternatives for just about all of the company’s packaging needs.
About Sealed Air
Sealed Air is a leading global provider and manufacturer of a wide range of packaging and performance-based materials and equipment systems that serve food, medical, and an array of industrial and consumer applications. For more than half a century, Sealed Air employees around the globe have applied deep understanding of customers’ businesses to deliver innovative packaging solutions. Operating in 51 countries, Sealed Air’s widely recognized and respected brands include Bubble Wrap® cushioning, Cryovac® food packaging technologies, Jiffy® protective mailers and Instapak® foam-in-place systems. For more information about Sealed Air, please visit the Company’s web site at www.sealedair.com.
Overstock.com, Inc. is an online retailer offering discount, brand-name merchandise for sale over the Internet. The company offers its customers an opportunity to shop for bargains conveniently, while offering its suppliers an alternative inventory liquidation distribution channel. Overstock.com, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ Global Market System and can be found online at www.overstock.com.