UPS and packaging company Sealed Air Corp. this month unveiled a new Packaging Innovation Center near the parcel giant's air cargo headquarters in Kentucky.
The companies entered a strategic partnership late last year to enable supply chains, shipping and packaging to adjust to the growth of e-commerce. The packaging facility occupies more than 6,000 square feet in UPS' Supply Chain Solutions center and includes numerous packaging developments from Sealed Air.
Company officials said that the complex could allow e-retailers and other companies to take advantage of new efficiencies, as well as reduce costs, bolster brand awareness and minimize waste.
"Our partnership with Sealed Air, and the new Packaging Innovation Center, will allow UPS to bring a more complete set of solutions as we help customers re-imagine their entire supply chains, including packaging," UPS executive vice president and chief commercial officer Alan Gershenhorn said in a statement.
The companies said that current packaging largely mirrors the decades-old system that served brick-and-mortar retailers, who received standard-sized boxes from a warehouse, then unboxed the products and placed them on store shelves.
As e-commerce continued to boom, however, customers increasingly see, touch and dispose of packaging — which could present another opportunity for companies to engage with consumers.
“The at-home delivery experience is more important than it has ever been," said Sealed Air president and CEO Jerome Peribere. "Consumer expectations for fast, free, on-time delivery leave businesses and retailers with very little room for error."
E-commerce, the companies noted, also requires three times the logistics space of brick-and-mortar retailers and introduced new fulfillment options and additional pressure on labor resources.
The new facility also aims to address a range of additional issues, including automated systems capable of scaling both up and down depending on demand.