Product packaging is sometimes an after-thought – just an additional product cost that companies don’t have time to optimize. The reality is that secondary operations such as packaging are well worth the effort to improve. When partnering with a single-source provider such as Crescent, product packaging becomes an extension of the production process, providing customers with a complete manufacturing solution, and providing value by minimizing the number of vendors involved and enhancing product reliability and consistency. Single-source providers that offer packaging services streamline manufacturing by improving efficiency - saving OEMs time and money on various costs such as transport, storage, product damage, and materials.
But the packaging world is often complex with a myriad of options to choose from - so how do OEMs determine the right packaging for a product? Below are a few factors to consider when deciding on product packaging, but before diving into those let’s first discuss the types of packaging. There are basically two categories of packaging: function-focused and experience-focused. Function-focused packaging is usually brown, simple, no frills, and is not meant to be an experience for the customer; this style is common for bulk and industrial packaging. Quite the opposite is experience-focused packaging where the goal is to provide a memorable experience for the customer that encourages repeat business and builds a brand; for example, box contents are often color-coordinated and displayed purposefully, and hand-written notes may be included to give more a personal experience. In addition to the factors below, companies desiring experience-focused packaging need to be especially aware of their audience. These companies should research the target audience to understand their likes and dislikes, and prepare the packaging accordingly since you want the package to scream “I am meant for you”! This personalized feeling will build brand loyalty and keep customers coming back again and again.
Most shipping costs are based on size and weight of a package; thus, the goal when selecting package size is to choose the smallest package possible while still providing sufficient protection to ensure the product arrives undamaged – this approach will minimize shipping and packaging costs. If you manufacture products in multiple sizes, design packages that fit as many product sizes as possible – this will make your packages more consistent and better streamline your process. Package standardization not only improves packaging efficiency, it also lowers storage and shipping expenses since consistent, stackable packaging reduces the empty space and maximizes the number of packages on each pallet.
The primary purpose of packaging is to ensure the contents travel well and arrive at the final destination without damage. Most products require some degree of protective material to minimize damage during transport. First determine how vulnerable your product is to rough-handling and assume the package will be handled very roughly! If you conclude your product needs protective material, there are many options available to fill void space such as packing peanuts, foam, bubble wrap, and air pillows. These materials are light-weight, and prevent package contents from shifting and colliding with each other, avoiding scratches, dents, or other damage. Generally speaking, it is cheaper to invest in the proper packaging from the start instead of paying to replace damaged goods – as well as risking customer and profit losses. From a numbers perspective, packaging is considered optimal when the cost of product damage is roughly the same as the cost of protective packaging (of course this does not account for the impact of customer loss).
There are many packaging materials available and it is well worth it to get a sense for the different options available. So which cardboard or film should I use? The answer depends on your specific application. Your packaging partner can guide you through the material selection process but here’s a few ideas to point you in the right direction.
- Odds are that you will need some form of a box to hold the product during storage and transport. In general, there are two main categories of packaging that form boxes: corrugated boxes and paperboard, or boxboard. Corrugated boxes contain a wavy middle layer that gives the box its superb strength, allowing it to carry heavy products such as electronics or appliances as well as more delicate goods such as fruit and wine. Paperboard is a thinner and lighter box that is often used for packaging single items for retail such as toys or grocery store products like cereal; paperboard provides an excellent surface for printing and is often cheaper to transport due to its lightweight.
- There are several types of thin, plastic film packaging available as well as chemical formulations to create the desired film properties. The film you select will depend on the functionality and properties you desire as not all films are created equal or are suitable for every application. For example, flexible film can be used to provide a more attractive presence on the shelf, or additional protection from moisture, light, or oxygen in order to reach the desired shelf-life. Also, stretch wrap and shrink wrap are films that can be wrapped around products once they are loaded onto pallets for added stability during storage and transport and to protect from dirt and dust.
- The environmental impact of your packaging is another consideration. Many companies are trending toward more sustainable product packaging so you may wish to consider the recyclability and amount of waste generated from each packaging option.
Crescent’s Packaging Capabilities
If you are interested in optimizing packaging for your injection molded product, contact Crescent today - use of a contract packager increases productivity and reduces overall cost per product. Crescent is your partner for all your packaging and other post-production needs! More than just an injection molder, we provide the most comprehensive kitting, assembly, and packaging solutions to our customers. By investing heavily into our post-molding capabilities, we have the ability to be a single source partner for our customers and offer competitive pricing by taking some of the workload off their plate.