No matter the industry you work in, if your brand manufactures physical goods, you know that production is a massive, multi-faceted process. The production of your packaging is but one step—albeit an important one—in this process. Production optimization is the practice of optimizing the entire process to save your business money, speed up timelines, and earn you more customers.
Here, Impak Retail provides a short overview of production optimization and its vital importance as it applies to your packaging.
Production optimization is a mixture of brainstorming, research, design, outreach—and sometimes, good old-fashioned math. It involves taking an in-depth look at each phase of production and thinking critically about ways to cut costs, reduce timelines, highlight your brand, and ensure your products are made the right way. This same critical lens applies to packaging, where there’s a tremendous opportunity to save money, safeguard your products, and highlight them for prospective customers.
So, what are some of the key factors to consider when optimizing your packaging production?
First, you should be designing packaging that reflects your brand aesthetic and keeps the products within the package safe. Is your product fragile? Perishable? Hazardous? Does it have an odd shape?
All these simple questions are a great place to start when designing your packaging — and answering them can pay dividends. For instance: designing custom packaging to your product’s unique shape may save you material costs and shipping pallet space over one-size-fits-all boxes.
The market and the supply chain are the two arenas where your packaging will have to perform—so it’s important to know both before you get started. When doing market research, find out what kind of packaging is selling best in your industry. (After all, there’s little use in designing custom-branded packaging that won’t move units.)
As you consider your product’s journey to the shelves and beyond, get the most detailed picture of the supply chain possible. That way, you’ll know what your packaging is up against (such as open air, humidity, and rough handling). You’ll also have a better idea of your product manufacturing infrastructure and pipeline, which your packaging manufacturing demands should complement.
As you begin to finalize your designs, you’ll need to choose the right materials for your packaging. This choice is two choices—one for each type of packaging:
• Primary Packaging: This is the packaging closest to your product. In most cases, designs for this packaging prioritize standing out on shelves and providing an impressive unboxing experience for your customers—while balancing product safety, space concerns, and material requirements.
• Secondary and Tertiary Packaging: This is the packaging outside of the primary packaging. It provides a secondary (or tertiary) protective layer to keep your products safe during shipping.
With these two types of packaging in mind, which materials should you choose for your product’s packaging? As you may have guessed, the answer depends on your unique product, your brand identity, and your shipping constraints. Many brands make the mistake of overpackaging; but just as many underpackage. When getting into the details, here are a few material specs you may encounter:
– Corrugated board strength and flute
– Foam or protective padding thickness and other physical properties
– Types of film or rigid plastics and their thickness
– Stretch wrap and the number of winds you’ll need
– Tape or adhesive and its location and amount
Both on shelves and in shipping containers, your packaging needs to fit in and hold up. It’s a theme we’ve touched on in the sections above, but it deserves its own section here. Production optimization for packaging must take storage into account. While contours and interesting shapes may attract eyes, they also may lose space in shipping containers. Likewise, overly large packages can take up space in your warehouse, costing you more over time.
Environmental concerns are reason enough to make your packaging sustainable—to say nothing of public perception of your brand. Beyond that, however, sustainable packaging options may be able to save you in the long run. In some cases, recycled materials are cheaper than new ones. And should you choose to make the recycled packaging part of your branding, you may save on design and material costs for primary packaging, too.
Every e-commerce packaging product optimization effort must consider packaging. Learn more about Impak Retail can save you money and create the best packaging possible with our in-house product optimization services, used by hundreds of companies worldwide. Ready to get started? Contact us today!