Big Savings With Multi-D

by Shawn Tyler

9 March 2009

Cutting Costs by Cutting Boxes

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In such taut economic times as these, anything that can alleviate shipping and packaging costs is a big help. Especially with yearly postal rate increases and the likelihood of Amazon increasing our shipping allowance pretty much wishful thinking.

One of the more recent trends in packaging has been the awe-inspiring Multi-D. It is a great, low-cost product that is not only light on the wallet but also incredibly protective of the products we ship. What a great combination! With that being said, I would like to suggest a method that could further enhance your savings with the Multi-D.

Let's face it - the Multi-D is a whole lot of cardboard. Especially for the average 9" x 6" book. The small Multi-D (the size I use about 80% of the time), weighs about 3.9 ounces by itself. The medium around 4.9. As such, it is not uncommon for the combined weight of the book and the Multi-D together to push the weight of the package into the next pound rate. That's a big deal because if you can keep the package from going into the next pound rate then you are saving yourself $0.35 cents (Media Mail) each time you do it. It may not sound like much savings, but believe me - it adds up!

Now - what if you can decrease the weight of the small Multi-D from 3.9 ounces to just 2.3 ounces? Could be a big difference and more money in your pocket if you can. I've done it, and saved lots of money doing it (we'll get to that later).

Let me show you how. First, let's take a look at a Multi-D.

Notice how it has kind of an 'H' shape to it. What if we take the section on the left with the company logo, and cut that off with a simple pair of scissors (there is already a perforation there, so cutting it not only takes all of a few seconds, but the cut-line looks very natural, straight, not messy and frayed). We now have two sections of one Multi-D:

Let's say we package a book using just the larger section and put the smaller section with the logo off to the side for later use. The larger section only weighs 2.3 ounces. Here is what a package using just the larger section looked like after I packaged an order with it:

Doesn't it look pretty similar to a package using a full, 3.9 ounce Multi-D? One might say that the package, with less cardboard, is now more susceptible to bending. Not so. Not much difference at all, in fact. In order to bend this package, I would literally have to put it over my knee and try as hard as I can to bend it. Even then I might not succeed; even with a soft cover. The package has the same sturdy, protective, integrity as one packaged using a full Multi-D, but with added value - it weighs less!

This same method can be applied to all sizes of Multi-D, not just the small. This, in itself, will not result in a mind-blowing amount of savings. In fact, I would say, should you ship 20 books, that using this method would probably prevent about 1-3 packages from going into the next pound rate. So you save about $0.35-$1.05 every 20 packages.

What's the big deal, right? Well, we aren't done yet. What about the other section of the Multi-D that we didn't use - the smaller section with the logo on it:

We can accumulate even more savings by packaging another order with this section. Granted, not a large book by any means. Not even an average 9" x 6" book. In fact, most books will not fit well with this small section of Multi-D. However, some will and why not take advantage of it when the opportunity presents itself.

Before you package a book using this section, please use common sense. In an effort to save money, do not sacrifice your professionalism. Most books will not fit with this section of Multi-D. Maybe as much as 95% will not. So use good judgment and by all means make sure that all your packaging looks as professional, safe and secure as any other package that you would normally ship to a waiting customer.

I have packaged some 8" x 5" books using this section. Many others, even smaller books, I have not. Thickness plays an important role in this. A bigger, but thinner book, may well fit better than a smaller, thicker book. The reason is obvious. This is a very small section of cardboard and therefore attempting to package a book that is too large for this section to cover can result in very poor packaging. Sometimes I even use two of these sections to package an order (why not; this section was essentially 'free' so using two of them doesn't increase my shipping costs).

On some days I find myself not using any of the small sections. Other days I end up using a bunch. It all depends on the size and thickness of the books. I also would not recommend packaging brand new or valuable books with this section. CDs are a great fit for these, though! Here's a CD I packaged recently using the smaller section of Multi-D:

Looks great. Nice and small package. Plus it ships First Class. I recently packaged a CD using this method and the total weight of the package was 5.6 ounces. Shipped First Class the CD cost $2.02 to ship. If I used the full Multi-D to package the CD it would have cost me $2.36. Not too hard to figure out the savings:

My CD packaged w/full Multi-D: $2.36.

My CD packaged w/retrofitted small section of Multi-D: $2.02.

Savings: $0.34

Through the course of packaging CDs with this method I was under the impression that all normal, average-sized CDs would end up weighing about 5.6 ounces when finally packaged. I was surprised to see that CDs, even though they look the same, can vary in ounces. So I would not expect every CD packaged using this method to hit exactly 5.6 ounces. One CD I packaged looked exactly the same size and weight as the 5.6 ounce one but ended up being a little over six ounces in total package weight. I recently packaged a VHS with this section of the Multi-D - except I used two sections to package it.

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