As the old adage says, great packaging is key to selling a product the first time. That’s why businesses go to great lengths just to make sure the factors that affect packaging are meticulously curated. They painstakingly consider materials, designs, and other details hoping to make the process and the output as efficient as possible. And a lot of that entails working with the most reliable box and packaging suppliers.
The alternative is worse. Without this kind of attention to packaging, costs may skyrocket, products may get destroyed in the various steps of the supply lines, and the brand’s image may take a hit despite the merits of the actual items inside these packages.
There’s also the issue of sustainability. As the world moves into a more progressive future, businesses are trying to cut down on unnecessary use of resources. They try to reduce their carbon footprint wherever they can – whether it’s out of advocacy, pressure from their customer base, or a mandate by regulations.
Because of all this focus on packaging, there are now some common best practices when it comes to making the process more efficient, the productivity maximized, and the outputs better overall. If you own or manage a business, here are the improvements you can make to your packaging that will have huge impacts on your savings, sales, and the bottom line.
Understanding the Factors that Impact Packaging Costs
The materials used in packaging is a huge indicator of the costs of packaging overall. But it’s not the only contributing factor. In fact, there are still several other considerations when it comes to packaging costs. These include:
Design affects which materials and how much of them are used in packaging. It also heavily impacts the storage and transportation of packages. Poorly designed packages may save on material costs, but if they cannot be stored and transported efficiently, those savings will be outweighed by additional costs in money and time.
Even if you have the most cost-effective materials and designs, without a realistic processing time, you would still lose money because of all the delays and backlogs in shipping out products. This is arguably more damaging to your operations than flimsy design.
The most durable materials still don’t stand a chance against careless shipping. It’s important to carefully manage shipping because it affects product presentation when it arrives at the end user. Issues with the packaging, at this point, will still be attributed to the company’s or at least in their choice of shipping partners.
Looking at these cost factors is a good exercise to pinpoint where the process can still be improved.
Steps to Improving Packaging Efficiency
There is no single ideal material for all products. Some materials work best for specific products than others. Corrugated cardboard has been enjoying its spot at the top when it comes to generic packaging. For the most part, it has done its duty well enough. It’s reasonably durable, it’s cost-effective in its own way, and it can be very sustainable.
But polyolefin materials are also gaining traction in the packaging world. It promises flexible designs while also being environmentally friendly. If your business is big on going green, poly packages may be more of a fit.
The efficiency of any system is dependent on its moving parts. In packaging lines, even the layout of the factory or the warehouse is of utmost importance. Every second you save adds up and you’ll be surprised how much they can impact productivity and ultimately, revenue. Organization of materials, tools, and equipment is also critical here. Here are some helpful steps.
- Evaluate your current process and the steps it takes from product to package. Identify steps in the process that can be grouped together whether due to the materials used, or the order of the steps.
- Grouping items together may also be a game-changer in your packaging process.
Although this can easily be a part of the packaging lines item, automation deserves its own spot on this list based on its sheer potential to drastically improve any process. Investing in equipment that is able to perform packaging tasks automatically will definitely pay off down the road.
Automated systems have proven beneficial in various stages of the supply line. In fact, according to Forbes, even automated deliveries help preserve packaging which also brings down costs.
In the packaging lines, automated systems mean faster processing times, more precise outputs, and longer operating hours. And unlike a decade ago, the barriers to entry for these technologies are no longer as discouraging today, especially since success stories have been on headlines left and right. According to Reuters, Amazon’s initial investment in packaging bots are expected to pay off in only two years’ time.
Smartphone giants like Apple and Samsung have made headlines recently because of rumors that they will no longer ship chargers with their brand-new phones. Some claim this is a move to make their packaging more sustainable. But the fact that this will save them significant expenses in packaging is also undeniable. Smaller packages overall save a lot of money in transportation and storage as well. It’s also safe to assume that smaller packages are more durable in most cases.
Storage and Transportation
We mentioned storage and transportation earlier. Although they’re not directly related to the process of packaging goods, they are also part of the overall journey of every packaged product. Making sure that storage and transportation are also efficient and reliable, can help maintain the integrity of every single item in the supply line. In fact, one of the leading causes of damaged products ending up in people’s homes is poor storage and/or transportation of these products. Working with trusted partners is a good start. There is also the budding delivery gig economy that smaller-scale businesses can explore.
Although packaging is designed to be the first line of defense of your products, its durability can also depend on the inherent durability of the product itself. This means if the product is strong enough to endure transportation, a more durable packaging strategy (like using a crate) would not have much contribution to the process. Instead, consider the strength and durability of each product before deciding on how it will be packaged. You should also look into the steps these packages will take before reaching the end user.
The rate of innovation in different facets of business is staggering. This is because technology is always being leveraged to get the most out of production. This is also true in packaging. In fact, the polyolefin material mentioned earlier is an example of this. The development of this cardboard alternative promises more efficient and cost-effective packages. These are the kinds of things that you should always watch out for. These innovations will bring substantial benefits to your processes and your revenue.
Packaging will always be a major component of business. For many, it’s their first real encounter with a brand. For this reason, small businesses and established enterprises alike pour significant resources into making sure their packages are at least on par with their products and branding.
This is also the reason there are a lot of benefits to improving packaging in your business. It will improve everything from productivity and efficiency to brand perception and retention.
If you have more questions about streamlining your packaging, reach out to us today.