It’s no secret that tremendous advancements have been made in the areas of packaging technology, design and sustainability over the past 20 years. What’s equally amazing is the speed with which they have taken place. And, in looking into a crystal ball to try and predict the future, it would appear that innovation and speed-to-market timelines will only continue to accelerate.
Keeping pace means accepting this on-going change and the rapidly shifting packaging landscape as “normal.” It also can mean adopting a progressive approach to finding unique solutions for your packaging and embracing a forward-thinking perspective that will best serve your customers and their rapidly evolving wants and needs.
To many of us, addressing these challenges means thinking “outside the box” to find smart solutions for packaging projects. But even if your package is round in shape, your future packaging success may also come from occasionally thinking “inside the box.”
Whether square, round or oval, here are four essential elements to consider for your future packaging project needs:
Mix and match. Lots of smart benefits can be achieved by considering alternative lighter weight components made of the same or different materials. So mix it up when matching containers and closures. Materials options and stock-but-unique shapes offer solutions that can result in a great look and significant “weight loss.” And, when your package is shipped in today’s innovative, lighter weight packing and shipping materials, significant reductions in to-market costs can be further realized.
Strength through technology. With all the innovative resins and polymers available in both stock and custom, there’s no reason to sacrifice the strength of your package to gain a weight advantage. These advanced materials also offer a variety of shapes that provide products with brand distinction and personality.
Thin is in. Change from a thicker, heavier material to a lighter one, or from one plastic to another resin, which can provide significant savings based on material costs and auxiliary charges, such as machine set up (see #3).
Think ink. With the right ink formulation you can virtually eliminate the environmental issues associated with traditional labeling. Recent advancements in ink and printing technologies eliminate having to choose between great decorating and sustainability. Direct printing enhances package recyclability and can minimize associated costs.
Make the right travel plans for your package. Consider a solutions partner who can source your components from locations in a tight geographic supply chain. Being environmentally smart isn’t only about the package itself. By sourcing “local,” you’ll be transporting your package shorter distances and that means less pollution, reducing your company’s carbon footprint.
Put on a green “face.” Many companies pride themselves on being responsible, environmentally concerned “citizens.” And their packaging reflects their values. It becomes a tangible way for these companies to engage with their customers and maintain strong relationships based on far more than a retail purchase. If your company has an eco-friendly philosophy, take advantage of opportunities, big and small, to demonstrate this in meaningful ways to your customers.
3. CHEAPER (aka spending less and getting more):
One size fits all. This classic “inside the box” problem-solving approach is one that’s gaining more relevance every day. And, it’s not just because of the potential cost advantages. There can be savings in availability and shipping time for in-stock items. So, consider a stock package. One shape with many different sizes or one size with lots of color options. Combined with a unique decorating option, it can take a “stock” solution and make it an eye-catching winner.
Think backwards. This may sound like heresy to some, but with the outstanding selection of stock packaging choices, thanks to the materials, shapes and decorating techniques available, one of your smartest moves may be to “pre-source” the package before it’s designed.
“Custom” stock. Your creative decorating options increase almost every day thanks to continuous advances in the packaging arts arena. Color and design can take on a whole new meaning when you substitute silk screen-printing for pressure sensitive labels for decorating your containers. It’s more sustainable in terms of the environment, and it avoids scrapping large inventories of unused labels due to copy changes.
A bigger brain is better. Work with a trusted resource that has the ability to meet your needs today and in the future. A distributor who understands where the packaging industry is today and where it will be in the future can help you with smarter and more effective packaging solutions.
The need for speed. Look for a distributor who has outstanding capabilities, resources and services - from sourcing your containers and closures to stocking them, if that’s what you require, to providing decorating and labeling services. You’ll save on time when your package’s production and timeline are more efficiently managed by a single distributor, enabling you to take your product to market faster.
Space: your final frontier. Partner with a distributor who has the ability to warehouse excess quantities of your order until you need them. This can result in considerable savings because you can buy in greater quantities and free up your warehouse space for other uses.