Caryn Espy

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2009

Capstone Advisor

Gary Lapoint

Honors Reader

Patrick Penfield

Capstone Major

Supply Chain Management

Capstone College


Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Operations and Supply Chain Management


This thesis explores techniques for efficient, sustainable packaging of high cube, low weight products. It is based on a project initiated at Macy’s Merchandising Group, a product development division of Macy’s Inc. The company challenged its interns to create an environmentally conscious business proposal that would also reduce expenses. This thesis is an extension of the original proposal.

As part of the production of soft goods at Macy’s, samples of each item are sent air freight from overseas manufacturers to theNew York Cityheadquarters. Sample shipping amounts to a significant expense because products are sent via air freight.

In the process of sample shipping, waste is produced as packaging, freight expense, and green house gas emissions. To reduce this waste, companies can utilize vacuum sealing of samples for high cube, low weight products, such as comforters, throws, and pillows. This technique reduces the volume of products in a sealed bag with the use of an everyday vacuum cleaner. This technique can reduce the dimensions of products up to 78 percent, a way to significantly reduce the dimensions of shipments.

Vacuum sealing decreases shipping expenses because of the structure of air freight billing. When traveling by air, rates are determined by the greater of two weights, actual weight or dimensional weight. Actual weight is the product weight in pounds or kilograms. Dimensional weight is the length, width, and height multiplied together and divided by a dimensional factor (DIM) of 366 (though negotiable, this is a standard number across the transportation industry). The dimensional weight can be several times the actual weight, resulting in expensive charges for low density products. However, when the dimensions of products are reduced, it decreases dimensional weight and results in lower shipping expenses.

According to calculations, hermetically sealed samples will save over $35,000 in operating expenses annually. Savings increase significantly when applied to in-store product. The following research explores the strategy of vacuum sealing products and its implications for samples and in-store product in more detail.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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