Packaging specifications must tick so many boxes (excuse the pun!) that it presents daily packaging challenges to manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers. Castle are very aware of the need to provide solutions and advice throughout the supply chain. We know that the right packaging can help increase warehouse capacity, reduce costs and improve lead times.
The complexities begin with three different levels of packaging:
- Primary – the packaging containing the product
- Secondary – the packaging containing multiple products in their primary packaging
- Tertiary – the outer packaging used for distribution
All have different functions, all have different requirements.
What are the packaging challenges facing the supply chain?
Protection of goods and brand
Guaranteeing the protection of goods at the same time as maintaining protection of a brand can become rather tricky.
To ensure that goods are transported from A to B intact, consideration must be given to factors such as size, shape and weight, how the packages are to be distributed, how they are to be stored and whether the goods are fragile or hazardous.
Balancing all of that with branding the packaging for promotional purposes is a common conundrum. The design for primary, secondary and tertiary packaging may all be different. The primary packaging must be enticing, which may mean different shapes and board – but will the secondary and tertiary packaging offer sufficient protection?
There are many distribution factors to consider when it comes to packaging:
- Health and Safety: The weight and dimensions of packages must fall within H&S guidelines to ensure they can be lifted safely. The packaging must be sturdy but as light as possible.
- Pallet size and safety: Goods must be packaged in such a way as to stack safely on pallets if this is how they are to be transported.
- Transportation weight: If packages are unnecessarily heavy due to excessive packaging, less packages will fit on the pallet or in a container, making the distribution of the load less cost-effective.
- If goods are to be transported through different countries the packaging must withstand all climate conditions.
Consumer habits have a direct effect on packaging and its design. Ecommerce is now the shopping method of choice due to its simplicity. Ironically it is that simplicity that causes more complex packaging challenges for the retailer as they balance the practical requirements with the design:
- Durability: A package bought on the internet goes through many touch points on its journey from supplier to consumer. The packaging must be tough enough to withstand its brutal handling.
- Consumer experience: The end consumer only has a virtual relationship with the retailer so it is important that they experience the wow factor upon receiving and opening the goods, so the packaging design is key. Luxury brands particularly try to maintain their kudos through their packaging.
Providing practical but innovative packaging must be done with the constant backdrop of environmental responsibility. Excessive packaging is often criticised, particularly when multiple goods are purchased for home delivery. The packaging industry is working hard to establish new eco-packaging solutions, but coming up with the answers will be a lengthy and complicated process.
All suppliers and packaging companies must adhere to environmental guidelines which can impose restrictions on how they reach their packaging designs.
These are just some examples of how packaging requirements and design impact upon businesses. Would you like some help in overcoming your packaging challenges? The team at Castle would be delighted to help. Please contact us for a no obligation chat.