22 March 2017 //
by Matt Tresp
Packaging plays a critical role in how businesses invest their money. Beyond the actual product, it affects everything from labor and distribution costs, to whether or not your product is purchased, to environmental impact. Overlooking certain aspects of your product and supply chain can quickly result in increased costs. When designing primary and secondary packaging, keep costs in line by avoiding these nine common mistakes:
1. Not Updating Your Packaging Design or Materials for a Long Time
Primary packaging should be evaluated every few years to ensure the design attracts customers and aligns with the brands strategy and messaging. Subsequently, secondary packaging material should be made to accommodate any changes made to the primary packaging, or material technological improvements. For example, if your product is currently case packed, it may make more sense to place product in a tray and shrink bundle. If you are already shrink bundling and use a high-gauge film, advances in polyethylene and down-gauged films with higher strength equivalents, may offer additional cost savings.
2. Amount of Primary or Secondary Packaging
It’s not uncommon for products to be over-packed when first introduced to the market. Completing a variety of packaging test can determine the right amount of packaging for your product. Eliminating or reducing unnecessary material translates to more product on a pallet, reduced shipping costs, and ultimately more money in your pocket.
3. Lack of Proper Package Design Testing
When designing a new product package, make sure it meets shipping and handling requirements and expectations. One of the biggest costs manufacturers can incur is from returned damage product. Consulting with a packaging equipment manufacturer and materials provider to develop samples, along with proper testing procedure, ensures ideal packaging performance.
4. Designing Primary Packaging Without Thinking About Distribution Requirements
Designing primary packaging without considering the secondary packaging and distribution requirements early in the process can lead to unnecessary costs. Identifying the different stages of the products distribution from manufacturer to store shelf can help determine the best packaging material and type for your product.
5. Overlooking Shipping Costs
Switching from a corrugate package to a shrink-wrapped package can drastically reduce your product’s overall dimensions, which, in turn, increases the amount of product that can be shipped on each truck. Customers using shrink wrap for secondary packaging have been able to ship up to 25% more product per truck load, effectively reducing their shipping costs.
6. Locking into One Package Size
The ability to accommodate different pack sizes can open doors for new customers. For example, a large chain retailer prefers product shipped in packs of 12, but your current packaging materials and machinery limits you to your current package size of 24. When designed and programmed correctly, shrink bundling packaging equipment can easily be adjusted to accommodate different collations, often times even using the same film.
7. Forgetting about Inventory Costs
Shrink bundling can eliminate the need to maintain inventory of multiple corrugate shippers, each with different labeling requirements, when shipping the same product to different large retailers. In addition, LDPE film rolls takes up much less space than corrugated boxes.
8. Ignoring Packaging Sustainability
Is your packaging environmentally friendly? Plastic packaging compared to packaging alternatives reduces material costs and conserves natural resources. Low density polyethylene (LDPE), commonly used for shrink wrapping and bundling products is 100% recyclable and requires less energy to recycle than corrugate boxes. Manufacturers that invest in creating more sustainable package not only benefit from the overall cost savings of LDPE, they also gain a competitive advantage when marketed effectively.
9. Overlooking Labor Costs Associated with Packaging
Adding more labor to a line can quickly add overhead. According to a 2017 McKinsey Global Institute report, automation can boost productivity and save companies about $15 trillion in wages. Automating your packaging process with a single secondary packaging machine can many times produce the same package with little to no manpower. An example of one area manufactures can reduce production costs with automation is replacing manual case packing processes with tray-shrink or shrink wrapping.
Are any of these mistakes costing you extra money? Need help to resolve them? Contact us today to discuss how we can help.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted June 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.