Air Pillows | Protective Packaging | Beck Packaging

beck packaging salesman discusses switching a customer to sealedair air pillows

Air Pillows vs. Paper Fillers

I have been with Beck a very long time, and have seen quite a bit in the world of shipping. Some of the things I have seen were very creative, but not very effective. Others have been nothing short of genius. However, I have found that with Beck, quality and customer service has always been what separates us from the rest of our competition. If I can do right by the customer, and give them exactly what they are looking for, then they will be back as a repeat customer time and again. A lot of businesses are so robotic these days, it’s tough to find a personal touch that resonates well with our current clients in a day of automated technology.

One instance that I can recall was when I assisted a customer in creating an effective way to package products using air pillows instead of filler paper. Not only did it look unprofessional, it was a fuss to try and constantly rip and tear the paper to stuff boxes when shipping.  There were also multiple complaints of employees suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome as well as paper cuts. This was caused from the constant use of hands ripping the paper. So, I recommended using air pillows.

fill air pillows provide protective packaging for your products fill air pillows give your products protection during shipping

We began with running a “Pack Out”, which is our way of testing the effectiveness of the pillows against transportation and wear and tear through transit. Sure enough the product was intact and shipped effectively. Air Pillows also provide a significant cost savings when compared to the use of paper stuffing. We calculated that over the course of a year, we saved that customer around $50K a year on shipping supplies due to this minor change in protective packaging products.

That is the value that Beck Packaging is able to bring through to our consumers. In a digital world, it is so easy to lose touch with customers, but we will make sure that won’t ever happen. See all of our protective packaging products by clicking here.

About Kirk Harbrecht

Kirk grew up outside of Philadelphia and currently resides in Bethlehem, PA. Married with a daughter, Kirk actively works out and plays golf occasionally. Needless to say, Kirk is a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan. He recently has celebrated his 20th year at Beck Packaging.

How to Prevent Shipping Damage | Beck Packaging

how to prevent shipping damage with foam products in allentown pa

How to Prevent Shipping Damage

One popular concern that I come across on a regular basis is “how to prevent shipping damage”. My number one philosophy while meeting with a customer is listening and asking questions. By following this philosophy, I am able to provide the most cost-effective solution for a variety of businesses. One of my customers makes security doors for shopping centers; this customer expressed his concern about his products almost always arriving to the customer damaged. I knew how to fix the problem; however, it may be a trial and error situation. So, I decided to run a trial with the a foam in place machine to see if it would fix the problem. A foam-in-place machine provides on-demand customized foam cushioning.

How a Trial Works
If the customer is buying a specific volume of product for a specific machine, the machine is free. In other words, the equipment is free if the volume of product purchased from Beck Packaging supports it.

What is Foam-in-Place?

Foam-in-place is polyurethane foam that is molded in real-time by combining two liquid foams in a pre-fabricated mold utilizing an external mixing gun. This is a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bag or film. The mixture expands rapidly around the product being protected, creating a custom protective shell. It is a great solution to prevent shipping damage on high value and irregular shaped items.

Prevent Shipping Damage Checklist

When working on shipping damage reduction initiative, be sure to include the following tactics to assure success:
1. Take Time to test a proper sampling of items and send several trial shipments.
2. Use Impact and shock indicators as a measure of success.
3. If your company has a generous return policy, be sure the package can withstand a return shipment.
Inbound logistics provides an excellent overall checklist in this online article . I highly recommend reading it and creating your own custom checklist. Feel free to call me at (610) 264-0551 if you have a shipping damage problem you need resolved. I am happy to help.

Beck Team Member: Chris Fabian

Chris Fabian of Whitehall, PA has been working with Beck Packaging coming 6 years in October 2017. He attended Northampton High School followed by Lincoln Tech studying electronic engineering. “And now I sell packaging” states Fabian. He is a father of two boys and a shepherd mix and married to his wife whom has a lot of patience. Snowboarding is his #1 winter sport. He is also a fan of the NY Giants and the NY Yankees.

Stay tuned for more interviews with our sales staff about common shipping problems companies have and how they solve them. Stay up to date with how our staff stays involved with the community on our Facebook page.

Small Business Management

Small Business Management Tactics to Help your Business Grow Successfully

This month’s new series will be focused on Small Business Management and some tips on how to create a cohesive, well-balanced team and organization. An overview of this months list includes time management, task management, delegation, and communication. All of these skills are necessary to achieve the most out your team. This blog series will provide a foundation for any manager to be the most effective at getting their operation running efficiently on a daily basis.

Time Management

Managing not only your time as an owner or manager, but managing the time of your employees on certain projects, can create a multi-tasked mindset. This action will provide an ability to start multiple projects simultaneously, but not overwhelm your employees. Taking small chunks of time for each project will keep the employee motivated and focused shifting from one task to another, while continuously working throughout the day. Prioritizing these tasks will make it easier to determine what takes precedent over another. This effectively will create an element of task management, which leads us into our next topic.

Task Management

After managing your time effectively, you have now created a standard for valuation of tasks. What takes most of your time? What are your team’s strengths? Weaknesses? How long will each task take to complete from start to finish? All of these questions are important to valuate and express in increments of not only time, but monetarily. This will help budget for a monthly expense. Helping you, as the owner, assess how much you spend in time, materials, or labor to produce such a product or service.

Delegation of Responsibilities

Unfortunately, not every one of your employees will be amazing at every task you assign them to. In this case, you match your tasks to mimic the strengths of what your team is good at. To delegate responsibilities is crucial to not just accomplishing a job, but creating a type of brand quality that you want as an owner. The image and quality of your product is the most important aspect of your business. Delegation of tasks means that you are the floor captain and having the right people in the right position to do the absolute best job possible is the optimal goal for any business owner.


To delegate is to be able to communicate as well. Communication could be considered one of THE MOST important aspects of being a successful small business owner. To lead a team, is to lead by example. Setting the tone and creating an environment of constant quality through communication is paramount. As an owner, cascading authority isn’t just telling people what to do, but expressing an importance to everyone’s roll. Their job would not be what is it without the small pieces to help keep it together. So express the value that each role provides when communicating tasks on a daily basis. The team is what keeps the company successful, not the individual.

These are only a few tips on developing small business management skills that will build a foundation of success for you and your company for years. Next months blog will pick up where this one left off and we will discuss more tips and nuances of how to run a well balanced, and organized team.

Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series – Free Concerts

Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series Free Concerts in Bethlehem PA

The Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series presented by Coordinated Health and the TD Community Stage at the ArtsQuest Center offers more than 750 free performances for the community. They’re two words that are music to everyone’s ears…Free Concerts!  Whether you love rock or reggae, country or Celtic music, you’ll find sensational sounds all year long, and always at everyone’s favorite price!

This is the third year Beck Packaging is a sponsor for this event. We are sponsoring two concerts this year – one on June 9th and another on July 7th. Be sure to visit our sponsorship table (stage left) for promotions and giveaways!

Neil Young Tribute Band – Broken Arrow

A Neil Diamond Tribute Band will be Playing in the Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series Free Concert

We will be sponsoring this band on June 9th. This Philadelphia-based Neil Young tribute band, which grew up listening and singing Young’s music, stays true to the melodies in their own way as a true homage to the rock legend. Named after one of Young’s albums, Broken Arrow can handle the full range of Young’s repertoire—from country acoustic to electric rock. Its show is sure to remind you of the emotion and passion of Young’s music.

Randall Bramblett Band

Randall Bramblett Band will have a Free Concert at the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series

We will be sponsoring this band on July 7th. Led by Randall Bramblett, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been performing since the 1970s, the Randall Bramblett Band is a fusion of folk, pop/rock, acoustic and alternative genres. Set apart by unique melodies and philosophical lyrics, the southern group pulls from half a century of musical influences and excites with its bluesy rock made up of vocals, saxophone, guitar, percussion and bass guitar.

Click here to see the  Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Summer Concert Series schedule. We hope to see you there! Visit our sponsorship table located stage left. Like us on Facebook to keep up with our latest events and new products.

How to Save Shipping Costs for Small Businesses Part IV – Frozen Foods

How to save shipping costs for small businesses part iv in a series by beck packaging allentown pa

In this month’s series of how to save shipping costs for small businesses part IV. We evaluate perishable transported items. A small business that specializes in food transport is critically dependent on the food being at the peak of its freshness. If your business is perishable related (ie not canned, preserved, or has an expiration) you will need an effective way to pack and transport your goods it is as fresh as it can be when it arrives at its destination. Whether it’s an hour away or a week away, perishable goods can be protected and packed in such a way that they remain fresh the duration of their trip. Saving money in this process is always critical for small businesses because it’s another method of spreading their goods to further customer span. Especially with technology where it’s at, its easy for someone from California to want something from Pennsylvania delivered to them and taste as good as if they made it themselves.

Dry Ice

The trick to keeping business costs low and efficiency in transportation high is being able to utilize the perfect amount of “dry ice” so that the ice is just about melted by the time it arrives. Dry Ice is the frozen chemical compound of carbon dioxide. It is used primarily as a cooling agent to keep things cold. It melts, just at a rate much slower than ice. A formulated rule of thumb when transporting large quantities of frozen goods is for every 10lb’s of product you add a block (roughly 5lb’s) of dry ice. The method behind a cost savings is that you don’t need unnecessary amount of dry ice of you know you will have a slower period in shipments. For instance, a holiday may increase business by 20% for 2 months with an additional 2,000lbs of food to be shipped per month. This increase can be forecasted as such, by acquiring 1,000lb’s of dry ice for the surplus along with the current regimented amount. Understanding and being able to forecast an influx in dry ice will be dependent on the forecasting ability of your inventory.

Packaging Dry Ice

To move such materials as dry ice, it is important that you know how to pack this component. Dry Ice is considered a hazardous material, and as such, must be treated like one or it will sit if your food is going airborne. Airlines are meticulous with frozen foods and dry ice shipments. If they are not properly packaged they will sit at the airline and it will cost you $$ to recover and repack. A corrugated box can be used and lined with Styrofoam. As discussed in part I of this series, dimensional value plays a key role in the valuation of the shipment. The bigger the box, the bigger the cost, potentially due to weight and space limits. Along with Styrofoam, a plastic liner is used to line the box as an insulator. The frozen items are placed in the box appropriately and dry ice will be placed on top, side, and bottom of all products. The “open” space will be filled with packing peanuts or some material to use as filler so as the product does not shift and possibly puncture the box during transport.

Labeling Perishable Items

All freight containing dry ice will need multiple stickers verifying quantity and class of hazardous material (dry ice is a class 9 hazardous material making it eligible for large quantities and flight travel). Labeling of the freight is critical also with packing slips as to the contents for multiple stops if same product is going to different locations.

Stay tuned for more of a series on how to save shipping costs for small businesses part IV. Like us on Facebook to stay up to date with our latest events and new products.

Beck Packaging Employers Receive Honorable Mention for their Community Involvement

Beck Packaging Corp. Employers received honorable mention for their community involvement by the Manufacturers and Employers Association. The Northeast Pennsylvania division of MAEA hosts an annual Excellence Awards to the companies and professionals that deserve them most in several categories.
Beck Packaging Employers receive Honorable Mention for their Community Involvement in Northeast Pennsylvania

“We strive to put the greatest in our community and will volunteer our time to help in what we can. We are always looking out for opportunities to be involved with our community” states President and CEO Greg Stoudt. Investment in the community is just one of many ways Beck Packaging and their employee owners demonstrate their commitment to be a good corporate citizen.

Community Involvement

Community Involvement is a long-standing objective at Beck Packaging. The company and its employee owners have invested countless volunteer hours raising money for local organizations including; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lehigh Valley, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Eastern PA Chapter, Pets for LLS, The Lehigh County Humane Society and St Luke’s Hospital Network Night of Heroes.

Beck Packaging represents some of the leading packaging material and equipment manufacturers in the industry, including – Sealed Air Corporation, Intertape Polymer, 3M, Shurtape and Signode. Beck Packaging values each customer and provides one-on-one personal service. Beck’s value proposition includes an experienced team of packaging sales professionals and customer service representatives that ensure they provide effective and cost saving solutions. They take great pride in maintaining a close, consultative relationship with their customers to ensure the best solutions and gain your trust. In 2002, Beck Packaging became an employee-owned company. Their ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) affords employees the opportunity to have a direct financial stake in the business.

Like us on Facebook to see how we stay active in the community.

How to Save Shipping Costs for Small Businesses Part III

This months beck blog discusses how to save shipping costs for small businesses part III in a series. Establishing the best shipping plan for your small package business is paramount to your success. In fact, shipping is one of the most challenging aspects of business for many entrepreneurs, as no one shipping vendor or shipping policy fits all. Exploring all the possible paths before jumping into a fixed policy can dramatically reduce not only the cost of shipping itself, but the man hours spent managing the logistics. For small packages the primary carriers in the United States are USPS, FedEx Ground and UPS.

how to save shipping costs for small businesses at beck packaging allentown bethlehem easton


Many small business shipping small packages begin their journey using USPS as their carrier of choice. If your business is close to a post office and has great service from USPS this may be a good choice. USPS offers an array of free boxes and envelopes for shipping Priority Mail, a major plus. The downside arises when your postal carrier requires you to drop off packages at the local post office. The cost of time and gas can quickly erode the savings of a $1.00 box. Additionally, it is important to compare USPS costs to UPS and FedEx Ground. The costs can vary greatly depending upon the destination zip code. Keep in mind USPS and FedEx Ground include robust tracking software not offered by USPS. The maximum weight UPS will ship is 70 pounds.


UPS is the goliath in the small packages shipping industry. Established in 1907 UPS has dialed in the details to provide shipping Worldwide and offer support serves geared toward busy businesses. This service does not come cheap however, and meeting with a sales representative to discuss your tariff options is critical to get the best rates. UPS does provide select packaging materials and will pick up at your facility for a fee. They are a great choice for a bustling small business that is equally interested in simple service and customer support. They are typically more expensive than USPS for shipping, but can save you payroll dollars due to their support and tracking infrastructure.

FedEx Ground

FedEx Ground offers less expensive pick up rates in general. They also can be less expensive than UPS in select areas. It is important to meet with your local representative to get your rates and compare to UPS. The difference between UPS and Fed Ex Ground is that Fed Ex Ground drivers are not employees of Fed Ex, rather they are subcontractors. This may result in a variation in the level of service from location to location.
Exploring these possibilities will help to establish the best shipping plan for your small business to reduce the costs of shipping small packages.

#Shipping #SmallBusiness #SmallPackages #BeckPackaging #MachineMatchMakers

How to Save Shipping Costs for Small Businesses Part II

How to save shipping costs for small businesses part II in a series by Beck Packaging

This month’s article begins with a focus on how to save shipping costs for small businesses part II in a series.

Avoid Damage

Avoiding damage in the first place goes a long way to reducing margin erosion for any business. Select a properly sized box for the item with minimal airspace and proper test weight goes a long way in ensuring an undamaged delivery. Here is a link to an extremely helpful guide designed by UPS that outlines the steps in determining the proper carton for your product. UPS recommends using a new box for each shipment to ensure optimum strength. When securing the box for shipment tape in an “H” pattern to add strength to the box.

Select the Proper Carton Construction

Understanding the choice of single wall or double wall construction can be primarily based on the weight of the box. A good rule of thumb is select a single wall box for items that weigh up to 80 pounds. Double wall construction is generally accepted in the weight range of 60 to 150 pounds. The delicacy and the value of the item being shipped also should be considered. Double wall construction should be preferred for high value fine China and glassware for example. Selecting the proper wall construction for your carton is crucial.

Automate Taping and Reduce Waste

Automatic tape dispensers are designed to increase operator productivity and reduce material costs by dispensing tape at a consistent length. A good quality tape head machine is designed to be easy to reload, taking only 30 second to pop on a new roll. Additionally, tape head machines are designed to automatically feed the amount of tape needed for the package. The result is a reduction in waste. At Beck, we find we can save 20% in total taping costs after an analysis by our packaging consulting team.

#Shipping #Tape #BeckPackaging #MachineMatchMakers #Cartons

How to Save Shipping Costs for Small Businesses Part I

beck packaging how to save shipping costs for small businesses part I in a series

This month’s article begins with a focus on how to save shipping costs for small businesses part I in a series. Businesses that ship items using UPS and FedEx Ground must be familiar with “Dimensional Weight Pricing”, which is based on volume versus actual weight of shipments. Balancing the cushioning needs of the item versus the ultimate box size can affect the cost of shipping the item drastically.

Finding out the dimensional value is critical to keep costs at a minimum. The concept of dimensional weight has been adopted by the transportation industry worldwide as a uniform means of establishing a minimum charge for the cubic space a package occupies.

The formula below is designated to help anyone with a weight to volume cost discrepancy. Also, visit any major shipping company (3 listed below) and use their “Dimensional weight” calculator to get a more convenient way to find out if your getting the best price for your shipment.  These fundamental tools can be the difference between over spending on shipping costs and maximizing daily operating potential.

Dimensional Weight Calculator:

(‘’Length” (L) x “Width” (W) x ‘’Height” (H))÷  “Dimensional Factor” (194*)= Dimensional Weight

*194 represents cubic inches per pound.

The dimensional weight formula was developed to equalize the cost of shipping weight versus space consumed in the shipping truck.  Below are website links to automatically calculate the dimensional weight.

FedEx Calculator

UPS Calculator

USPS Calculator

Understanding the dimensional weight is the first step in understanding your optimal packaging configuration for your items. Beck Packaging  provides shipping material to help optimize shipping safety of your product and assure you’re getting the most out of your money. Using package fillers such as packaging peanuts or inflated air bags to secure the freight will ensure a safe trip to the destination for most travel alternatives. Beck Packaging is the foremost leader in effective packing and shipping of your products. With state of the art packaging machines and supplies, they can help you think “inside of the box” when it comes to transporting your products cost effectively.

Increasing Company Efficiency and Profitability


Increase company efficiency and profitability

This is the first of a monthly series of articles, crafted to guide business owners to achieve maximum profitability with a focus on packaging, automation and efficiency. Each month we will delve further into specific initiatives designed to provide consultative guidance on achieving a healthy bottom line.

A constant challenge for a business owner is finding ideal solutions for improving profit margin that works best to enhance their profitability.  The solutions vary and can be complex to ascertain with each company having unique characteristics that affect the outcome.  Managers ultimately should look at the following areas to begin developing a plan of action:


  • Process optimization: Looking at the entire process to identify redundant or weak areas and identifying equipment automation opportunities to increase throughput.
  • Workforce optimization. Find opportunities to reduce overtime, increase output and reduce bottlenecks. Ensure equipment is maintained to work properly without break downs.
  • Energy consumption. Compare your demand versus costs and establish opportunities to reduce consumption. Updated equipment made to current energy standards can greatly reduce electricity use.
  • Lower cost of Quality. Make changes to products or systems that reduce the cost of the item without compromising the desired quality.
  • Reduce Waste.  Reducing overall waste by reducing quality errors, production mistakes and unnecessary packaging costs. Ensure products are properly packaged to avoid shipping damage.
  • Inventory carrying costs.   Whenever possible, manufacturers will benefit from nimble and responsive manufacturing operations. Purchasing smaller order quantities through local distributors can drastically reduce not only freight costs, but inventory carrying costs as well.

In addition, companies embracing “Green” initiatives save dollars by recycling, reducing waste and energy consumption. Seek the guidance of trusted vendor partners to offer expertise in potential savings, automation and improved product engineering. Beck Packaging provides consultative services to review packaging and packaging equipment utilized to help improve your bottom line. 


-Greg Stoudt, President and CEO