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03/16/2022

Dick’s Sporting Goods shifts to sustainable packaging

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Dick’s Sporting Goods is applying innovation to packaging.

The country’s largest sporting goods retailer is transforming how it packages e-commerce orders.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. is deploying the Packsize right-sized Packaging on Demand solution to provide customized, corrugated packaging for e-commerce shipments of varying shapes and sizes. By rolling out Packsize technology, the retailer intends to reduce packaging waste while improving the overall online customer experience.

Leveraging a Packsize EM series system, Dick’s now uses an estimated 26% less corrugated packaging. This allows the retailer to reduce costs and environmental impact, while optimizing sustainability, efficiency, and the performance of its packaging process. Dick’s finds that the new packaging solution especially enhances e-commerce fulfillment performance during periods of peak customer demand.

By using the Packsize system, Dick’s creates boxes that are perfectly fitted to the over 2,000 SKUs it ships to stores and customers. At the company’s 600,000-sq.-ft. Smithton, Penn. distribution center, employees can now scan and load SKUs into the system to ship products out in the correct size and style boxes, reducing the likelihood of damage and increasing packaging efficiency.

Dick’s joins Amazon in packaging focus
Amazon has also been actively working to improve the sustainability of packaging. The e-tail giant is taking part in the BOTTLE (Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment) consortium – a research program launched by the DOE in 2020 to develop a new technology that could break down existing plastic materials to create a new, more sustainable material.

In November 2021, Amazon unveiled new sustainable insulated packaging, made from recycled paper and curbside-recyclable, for delivery of select grocery products in time for Thanksgiving. In January 2022, Amazon revealed it is using machine learning (ML) and a combination of natural language processing and computer vision technology to determine how to use the right amount of packaging for the hundreds of millions of products it ships.

According to Amazon, these tools have helped it reduce per-shipment packaging weight by 36% and eliminate more than a million tons of packaging, equivalent to more than 2 billion shipping boxes, over the past six years.

"We recognize that our athletes want their products in a timely fashion – and they want us to create less waste with more efficient packaging,” said George Giacobbe, senior VP, supply chain at Dick’s Sporting Goods. “Packsize has been a critical partner in efficiently meeting our customers’ needs and sharing our vision for a more sustainable future.”

“Meeting the demands of Dick's Sporting Goods’ customers who have driven rapid e-commerce growth over the last two years requires packaging technology that takes every step into consideration — from the warehouse to the customer’s hands,” said Rod Gallaway, CEO of Packsize. “As a partner and trusted advisor to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Packsize continues to boldly innovate and create a positive experience for warehouse employees and customers alike.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods operates more than 850 namesake stores, Golf Galaxy, Field & Stream, Public Lands, Going Going Gone! and Warehouse Sale stores. It also owns and operates Dick’s House of Sport and Golf Galaxy Performance Center, as well as GameChanger, a youth sports mobile app for scheduling, communications, live scorekeeping and video streaming.