Over-packaging?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jegenes, May 17, 2020.

  1. jegenes
    jegenes Member
    Is it just me, or does some of Shapeways' packing seem excessive? I'm in New Zealand, so I expect to pay a bit more for shipping. However, I'm ordering very small plastic parts (1" X 2") and they come shipped in a 6" X 8" X 6" box, crammed full of bubble wrap and plastic. Sometimes its even hard to find the part amongst all the packaging material. Is there a way I can request just shipping in a padded envelope? These are not fragile parts, and in this day and age boxing up a piece of plastic the size of a USB thumb drive and putting it in a big vox full of bubble wrap seems excessive and wasteful. thanks.
    --je
     
    starbuckshollow likes this.
  2. SemperVaporo
    SemperVaporo Well-Known Member
    Some may seem excessive, but other times I feel they could have done better.

    I have seen some items that could just have an address label and postage stamp affixed to the item itself and dropped in a mailbox, no need for a box or envelope at all. Other items should be shipped in a fitted foam block in a box, in a padded box, in a wood crate, but such an item might not survive being removed from the 3-D printing machine.

    There is another thread on this forum complaining that an item appears to have been just crammed into a box and that broke the item. I think the item broke in post processing and all the pieces were put in a box and shipped.

    I figure they are not paying the person doing the packaging to make the determination of fragility, but to just use standard packaging materials that are designed to protect the most fragile items. Standardization reduces costs and speeds production.

    Are you willing to pay an inspector to make a determination as to packaging suitability and for more packaging options to be available in the system? Personally, I think their prices are too high now and if they are going to improve some aspect of their operation, I'd rather improve the post processing to preclude breakage there. I think that previously, they would reprint an item that broke in processing, but it seems today they are processing all items as if the purchaser has selected 'Print it anyway' and we get items that they used to remake if they were damaged in post processing.
     
  3. jegenes
    jegenes Member
    Hi. Thanks for the answer. As far as paying an inspector to determine packaging? Wouldn't that be a bit over the top? I mean, how difficult is it to package something and ship it off? I ran my own business for years and shipped all manner of items, big and small, fragile and non--fragile. Each one required a decision on packaging, but it didn't need a special "inspector" to determine that. So, if it took an extra minute or two to decide to place my items in an envelope instead of a box? Yep, I'd pay for it. And since I live in New Zealand, where a single 1" X 2" X 1/2" plastic piece costs me $4.75, but shipping costs more than $18.00? Yep, I'd pay to reduce the shipping size. And the upshot is, for me: it's not so much about saving money on shipping. It's more about the idea that the company seems to have no feel for their own carbon footprint, nor the amount of waste-vs-product that they produce [HINT: the waste FAR exceeds the product].
     
  4. SemperVaporo
    SemperVaporo Well-Known Member
    Yes, I agree with your points and have wondered about the "carbon footprint", and often paid more to ship than the item itself cost. (That has always bugged me, even when ordering any product from any vendor... really rubs my wallet the wrong way! $6 to ship a $2 item -- grrrrr!).

    I can see that you, as the owner of a company, will take the time to make decisions as to quality, but in my experience, unless the simple employee has a strong stake in the decisions, (at least see that their job hinges on the decisions) they will opt not to make any decisions at all. I wish I had the power to fire a few people I have worked with; they stated unequivocally that they were not paid to make decisions, they were just paid to stick tab A in slot B all day. "If it don't easily fit right; change the process, don't tell me to be more careful."

    Unfortunately, if you impress upon some people that they need to make some decisions, they may not be qualified to do so and will make the wrong decision every time (oh boy, he made the wrong decision EVERY time!)

    I was also the lead programmer on a large software project and one programmer would not document his software such that another programmer could maintain it later. "I'm not paid to make it easy for the next programmer, I just write what is needed at the time, the next guy can just figure it out on his own!" (I knew I was that "next guy", having to maintain and debug the blending of the various segments of the system. I pointed out that the contract required documentation and he was not meeting the contract. But his output was never good enough and I don't think an increase in pay would have helped!)

    I have the thought that Shapeways has grown to the point where those that started the company are no longer the ones on the factory floor, doing at least some of the work. That has all been given over to employees that have no pride in ownership or even an understanding of what they are working with.
     
  5. barkingdigger
    barkingdigger Well-Known Member
    If SW stocked a range of smaller boxes that would complicate their own supply chain, require more storage space, and add to the overall cost of their shipping regime because it would be less efficient than having only a few sizes ("small/medium/large") to worry about. This seems unimportant until you scale it up to hundreds or thousands of items a day - then even the slightest inefficiency becomes big enough to measure.

    Of course you are already on a hiding to nothing since everything you order has to cross half the globe from NYC or Eindhoven to reach NZ - package size is mostly irrelevant compared to the cost of 12hrs in a cargo jet!
     
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  6. jegenes
    jegenes Member
    I agree with you, Semper Vaporo and thanks for the the observations. I like SW. They have good service, their parts seem better made than other 3D printers I've used, although they're certainly more expensive. That's okay. And Barkingdigger, package size is certainly NOT irrelevant when shipping to NZ, I can tell you. A box, no matter how small, costs many times more than a padded envelope. And the idea of them having to scale up with various sizes of shipping boxes/envelopes isn't really that big a deal. If it were, Amazon would have been out of business a long time ago. So would Ali Express, Alibaba, Wish, and half the stores in eBay. In this time of turmoil and devastation, I know my complaint is insignificant, but I thought I'd raise it, if only to see if SW might consider their carbon footprint. Thanks for your input. best, --je