Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

Bespoke boxes

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Bespoke boxes
Staples has turned to cutting-edge technology to improve its packaging efficiency and reduce waste
In Use – n/a

Packaging Reduction, Resource efficiency (e.g. filling line efficiency), Storage and Transport efficiency

Product Categories
Drinks, Food, Home Improvement, Household & Personal Care, Other

Relevant Materials
Corrugated, Plastic – Flexible

Relevant Packaging Formats
Corrugated box/case, Flexible & Films

Supply Chain Phase
Filling, Home delivery, Packing, Storage, Supply Chain handling systems and store replenishment, Transportation


Office-supply giant Staples has turned to cutting-edge technology to improve its packaging efficiency and reduce waste. It has installed ‘on-demand packaging’ equipment, from Packsize International, at some of its US fulfillment centers (FCs). The machines automatically create a custom-size box for every less-than-full-case order (also called ‘break-pack orders’) it ships. In its FC in Secaucus, New Jersey, approximately 30 percent of the 20,000 to 40,000 orders shipped each day are break-pack orders. The four package-converting machines produce between 6,000 and 8,000 custom-sized boxes every day.
The program has so far reduced the firm’s average corrugated cardboard use by more than 15 percent; cut air-pillow use by about 60 percent; and reduced the volume of break-pack orders by nearly 20 percent, enabling Staples to accommodate more customer orders in each truck delivery. And because the boxes are made to order, Staples has reduced its inventory – improving its cash flow and reducing the storage space required for boxes by 50 percent.

While reducing cardboard volumes is one of the most commonly used ways to cut costs, Paul Young, Director and Head of Packaging Services, Europe at DHL Supply Chain, cautions that this shouldn’t be the default option. “One of the biggest expenses in the supply chain is transporting goods,” he says. “A lot of fresh air is moved around in trucks at the moment, so think about reinforcing your products’ packaging so they can be double-stacked. Increasing your packaging specifications might actually reduce your transport costs, because you can move more goods in the same space on a truck.”
The approach won the 9th Annual Supply Chain Innovation Award competition presented by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and SupplyChainBrain -
The content in this entry has been obtained from publicly available information sources only (e.g. press releases, website and trade press articles) and is subject to completion of a validation process with the technology supplier. Source: 

Potential Benefits

Carbon saving; waste reduction; improve storage space; improve packaging design.

Intellectual Property


Consultant View


Contacts and Further Information

Packsize LTD
Sales Office – UK
1 Chapel Street
Warwick CV34 4HL
United Kingdom

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