Five Supply Chain Changes that Prompt a New Off-Season Packaging Workout Plan

By Rob Kaszubowski, CPP | Senior Packaging Engineer | Chainalytics Fall is in the air and football season is officially underway. But how well has all...

By Rob Kaszubowski, CPP | Senior Packaging Engineer | Chainalytics

Fall is in the air and football season is officially underway. But how well has all the hard off-season work paid off? The first few weeks of the season will tell. Players and coaches often question and second-guess their off-season decisions: Did I choose the right off-season workout? Did I work with the right trainer? Was my workout challenging enough?

At Chainalytics, we’re also gearing up for the season by helping clients to assess their packaging health and muscle power. Every company has a different off-season and it is important to check your packaging workout to see if your packaging:

  • Can hold up against a grueling-long distribution channel
  • Is truly designed for distribution, since the product it contains may have been quickly pushed through its development cycle without being fully optimized for the current supply chain

Here are five supply chain areas that–if changed–may prompt a new off-season workout plan:

  1. Logistics or distribution channel processes: A new handling method at the DC (fork truck vs. clamp truck vs. manual handling) may exert different forces and create new potential hazards for your packaged product. This can also happen when you move from traditional GMA pallets to slip sheets (push-pull). Oftentimes, this new process requires different handling equipment and transportation methods.
  2. Manufacturing, distribution or retail locations: Adding or removing a node in your manufacturing and distribution network changes the distance your product must travel to reach your customer and the amount of packaging needed to adequately protect it.
  3. Raw materials: Like #2 above, if one of the main raw materials in your product has changed, it could change the level of strength and protection needed in your primary and secondary packaging materials.
  4. Product design changes: Seemingly minor changes to the product design–think increasing the thickness of a material or adding a stability bracket–may allow you to decrease your packaging requirements.
  5. Transportation mode shifts: Moving from truckload to LTL or from LTL to small parcel or adding a final mile drop ship delivery mode significantly changes handling methods and mode-specific hazards. Switching to a harsher transport mode may mean your product is under-packaged, and more likely to sustain specific types of damage. A change to a more-forgiving mode may mean you are over-packaging your product and leaving money on the table. It’s always a balance.

These are just a few of the areas that Chainalytics’ packaging engineers check when identifying cost savings opportunities, packaging optimization and damage avoidance. If any of these sound familiar, it may be time to call your personal trainer…err, packaging engineer, to make sure your packaging is optimized for the season ahead.

Rob Kaszubowski is a senior packaging engineer in Chainalytics Packaging Optimization competency, where he is focused on reducing product damage and implementing packaging cost reduction initiatives.

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