By Rob Kaszubowski, Packaging Engineering Manager, Packaging Optimization Practice
Clients come to Chainalytics’ Packaging Optimization practice for complex reasons: Some want to be sure they are choosing the right materials for their primary or secondary packaging to avoid or reduce in-shipment damage, improve customer service levels or reduce returns. Or they may want to attain cost savings or margin improvements through packaging optimization and smart packaging design.
Each unique customer challenge also carries it’s own unique set of frequently asked questions, or FAQs. But what about your firm and your products’ unique requirements? How can you benefit from better packaging? What are some of the FAQs you might have about your packaging’s viability or whether you need to amend your packaging approach as part of developing a more-efficient supply chain with less damage? Consider these scenarios:
- If you’re introducing new products to your product portfolio, have you thought about the best way to avoid over- or under-packaging your new product so that you balance packaging costs with possible damage? If you want to develop effective packaging inhouse, how can your get your packaging ideas on paper to meet the requirements of all key stakeholders? Determine if your in-house packaging design and engineering capabilities match your supply chain or packaging needs for the present or in years to come?
- If you’re already producing products, but have recently gotten the red flag that your in-transit damage rates are too high, how do you go about testing your product’s damage susceptibility? How can you get specifications for your packaging? What’s the proper test standard to ensure you develop the best packaging to protect your product as it moves through the supply chain?
Here are some questions to ask yourself, to get you started to better packaging and supply chain outcomes–whether that means less breakage and waste; less consumption of materials, transportation or fuel; reduced costs; or more-satisfied customers:
- Sustainability What is our package’s carbon footprint, and how can we make our packaging greener/more sustainable? How does greener, optimized packaging impact the environment? (# trees saved, water, CO2, etc.) and even our fuel consumption, as we ship our better-packaged products? What is the best material to use? How can we reduce our package material to product ratio effectively, so that our supply chain still saves money?
- Logistics & Supply Chain Efficiency & Savings How can I save on freight and logistics costs by leveraging our packaging systems? What is my current cube and trailer utilization as my product moves towards its destination via truck? Is it moving efficiently if by rail or last-mile delivery modes? If damage is a recurrent problem–especially for high-margin items–what is the best way to reduce damage? Increase my margins?
- Branding & Customer Service How can I improve our user experience with packaging?? How can I increase my product’s speed to market? How can we work better with co-packers, suppliers or vendors?
Packaging is an integral part of good supply chain design. But it’s also key to branding and marketing. And as many Chainalytics’ clients have found, it’s often better to plan packaging proactively for packaging, rather than re-engineer it after your manufacturing and transportation systems are already in place.
Rob Kaszubowski is the packaging engineering manager at Chainalytics, where he is focused on identifying and implementing packaging cost reduction initiatives while leading a team of packaging consultants.
Read more about how packaging supports better supply chains: