Japan firms reduce packaging size for greater delivery efficiency

Delivery businesses across Japan are grappling with a severe driver shortage. They will have another problem to contend with next year when limits on driver overtime take effect.

Companies that rely on delivery trucks to get their goods out to the country are responding by focusing on efficiency. They're making their products more compact so they can load more of them onto a truck.

Daily goods maker Unicharm says it used special technology to reduce the packaging size for its diapers for elderly people by 10 percent.

Officials say this will likely slash the number of 10-ton trucks needed for deliveries each year by about 1,000.

Another daily goods firm, Kao, has taken a simpler approach. The company made the packaging for its cleaning wipes smaller by taking out some of the air. It also changed the way it puts the packages in boxes.

Kao officials say the two changes have cut box space by half. That means a truck can carry twice as many units.

Food and daily products maker CGC Japan is another firm focusing on saving space. The company trimmed the height of its cooking oil bottles by four centimeters without reducing volume. It says the change has delivered big efficiency gains.