HP shatters excessive packaging world record



  •  This was recently linked by Slashdot. Just in case someone here doesn't read slashdot, here it is again:

     http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/18/hp_packaging/

    HP shatters excessive packaging world record

    17 boxes to protect 32 A4 sheets

    Published Friday 18th July 2008 10:27 GMT

    We've just had an email from a shaken Stephen Strang who this morning took delivery of a very, very large box from HP:

    The very large box from HP

    Stephen said: "Imagine our excitement as we opened it, hoping against hope that it might contain a copy of some c-class virtual connect firmware that actually works."

    Sadly not. What the überbox did contain was 16 smaller boxes "which in turn [each] contained (wrapped in foam so they wouldn't get broken) exactly two sheets of A4 paper":

    A smaller box containing two sheets of A4 paper

    Yup, so that's 17 boxes in total to protect 32 pages. A world-class effort there from HP. ®



  •  What, no lead lining?  What happens if World War 3 breaks out?

    HP just doesn't provide the quality of service they used to... 



  • @DOA said:

     What, no lead lining?  What happens if World War 3 breaks out?

     

    Didn't you know? It already broke out! I received this email from a random concerned person on the internets, so it must be true!


    "Just now US Army's Delta Force and US Air Force have invaded Iran.
    Approximately 20000 soldiers crossed the border into Iran and broke
    down the Iran's Army resistance. The video made by US soldier was made
    today morning. Click on the video to see the first minutes of the
    beginning of World War III. God save us".




  • @Dalden said:

    Didn't you know? It already broke out! I received this email from a random concerned person on the internets, so it must be true!
    Fine by me, I just ordered something from HP. Let them blow each other up. I'll be safe in my home made HP packaging body armor.



  • I've seen this behaviour from many large hardware manufacturers/distributors.  In one case there were some small things missing from the original shipment (screws or clips or something of the sort), we asked them to ship some and we got a giant box about the size of a tower, except it actually contained two heavily-padded wallet-sized boxes with two screws each.  Of course we had to dig around for those boxes in and amongst all the styrofoam peanuts lining the mother box.  This wasn't HP - I'm pretty sure it was IBM, but it was a few years ago so it's hard to remember.

    It is pretty funny when it happens, but it's understandable in context.  These companies ship so much that they have to turn their shipping departments into assembly lines with a very specific process.  They give a part number to their warehouse or parts department, then (assuming the things aren't pre-packaged to begin with) they pack them 2 per small box because that's what they normally send out (they may not even realize it's for a single order).  Finally it gets to the shipping clerks who have no idea what's in the small boxes, but do know that it costs less to send one big box than two small ones, so they throw it into a bigger box (probably the smallest they have on hand) and pad it with bubble wrap or peanuts just in case there's something delicate in there.

    No doubt this could be avoided if they passed along certain contextual information to the various departments, but they deal with these situations so infrequently that it doesn't pay to add new wrinkles to the process.

    Any process optimized for huge scale will always look silly when you're trying to do something small.



  • Your explanation is probably correct with one little exception...

     @Aaron said:

    costs less to send one big box than two small ones, so they throw it into a bigger box (probably the smallest they have on hand)

    Note in the picture in the OP that they've clearly taped two large boxes together.  Thus it's still pretty ludicrous.  Maybe the shipping dept was bored that day and having a little fun.



  •  I'd guess their warehouse management software sucks. It probably has a rule that each license agreement has to be packed in a little box, but the rule "... and 16 license agreements still got into one small box" is missing. Or maybe the license agreements are already pre-packed in small boxes, one each, so the workers have to pick 16 little boxes. Of course those 16 little boxes are then put into one big box (or in this case, two big boxes glued together).



  • I used to receive a lot of hardware, both new and replacement parts, from Dell. This was almost always over packaged, although not to this level. We had an agreement to keep any dead hard drives for destruction, but were constantly receiving the prepaid shipping labels to return them. I was also a bit bored.


    Being as I was in possession of a lot of large boxes, prepaid shipping labels, and extra time, Dell received a lot of items they probably didn't want. Broken, decade old CRT's. Empty pizza boxes. Joke e-mails from the spam folder. Autographed take out menus. An entire box fan, disassembled and spread across 2 or 3 boxes. Broken parts left on my parts shelf from Non-Dell machines. Furniture, again disassembled and spread amongst multiple boxes. Leftover Halloween candy. Coupons. Shredded newspaper. Comics section of Newspaper. Half completed crossword puzzles. Flowers. Mostly empty boxes of office supplies. Origami/Paper Airplanes. Crayon drawings of the hard drives. Books on NT3.51. Voltron Stickers. Green plastic army men. Unopened bags of chips. Burger King game peices. Serial mice. Other boxes. 


     My email address was associated with most of it, and I never received any questions or comments. Interestingly enough, should I fail to ship them something, I'd get a call/email about the hard drive I failed to return, which would result in me digging up the "Keep your Hard Drive" documentation. Should I ship them an empty pizza box, no call came. Should give you some insight as to the tracking methods used. Note that this was a few years ago, and they may have changed.


     I always wondered if the parts return department was amused or annoyed by my antics. Perhaps a bit of both, depending on what I sent that day.

     



  • @Cyrz said:

    Being as I was in possession of a lot of large boxes, prepaid shipping labels, and extra time, Dell received a lot of items they probably didn't want. Broken, decade old CRT's. Empty pizza boxes. Joke e-mails from the spam folder. Autographed take out menus. An entire box fan, disassembled and spread across 2 or 3 boxes. Broken parts left on my parts shelf from Non-Dell machines. Furniture, again disassembled and spread amongst multiple boxes. Leftover Halloween candy. Coupons. Shredded newspaper. Comics section of Newspaper. Half completed crossword puzzles. Flowers. Mostly empty boxes of office supplies. Origami/Paper Airplanes. Crayon drawings of the hard drives. Books on NT3.51. Voltron Stickers. Green plastic army men. Unopened bags of chips. Burger King game peices. Serial mice. Other boxes.

    Wow, how very mature of you.  We are all impressed with your awesome abilities. 



  •  @Cyrz said:


     I always wondered if the parts return department was amused or annoyed by my antics. Perhaps a bit of both, depending on what I sent that day.

     

    They must've thought you were such a cool-guy.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Note in the picture in the OP that they've clearly taped two large boxes together.  Thus it's still pretty ludicrous.  Maybe the shipping dept was bored that day and having a little fun.

     

    I was speaking of large-scale shipping in general and not specifically about that picture, but since you mention it, only one of the taped-together boxes seems to have a packing slip, so perhaps they did save on shipping (possibly they didn't have a single box size that would accomodate all the mini-boxes).

    Of course it's also possible that the clerks were bored, or annoyed with having to send out 16 copies of the same document and making a statement, but I honestly wouldn't expect that level of creativity from a low-level HP employee.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Wow, how very mature of you.  We are all impressed with your awesome abilities. 

     Thank you. It's always a pleasure to know I've impressed some random guy on the internet.



  •  I used to work in a small company somewhere in the Black Forest. We urdered some 20lan cables. Eventually they came, not with the normal parcel post ubt with a carrier whose driver told us he was driving some 15km to give us the cables. The funny thing is that these cables did not come in one package but rather some came on nearly every day the next ten day.



  • Heh. I read it in The Register.

    Somebody wasn't following common sense when packing...



  • @Cyrz said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    Wow, how very mature of you.  We are all impressed with your awesome abilities.
     Thank you. It's always a pleasure to know I've impressed some random guy on the internet.
    Pay no atention to the grouch. That story made for a nice break from work. If you've got them, keep them coming.


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