On Feb. 26, 2019, Walmart announced a new initiative for plastic packaging. One key area of focus is to, “eliminate the non-recyclable packaging material PVC in general merchandise packaging by 2020.” Walmart also introduced a new recycling playbook and recycled content goals. The sustainable initiatives by Walmart inspired other large retailers to adopt similar goals.
Walmart continues to target polyvinyl chloride (PVC) packaging, but the reality is, manufacturers should want to make the change regardless of what Walmart or any other large retailer mandate. Here is why:
Costs PVC is more expensive to produce and convert than PET. Although larger retailers are heralding the ecological benefits of PET, the bottom line is always the bottom line. The bottom line is PVC IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN PET. This one fact alone should be motivation enough for manufacturers to switch to PET. Savings (and profitability) can be realized by switching to PET. To compare your current PVC packaging to PET, enter your info HERE.
Eco-friendly PET is the most widely used and recyclable material used in packaging today. It can be easily recycled in most municipalities. PVC is not considered a sustainable material and is considered an environmentally poor choice for packaging materials.
Versatility PET materials excel in a wide variety of applications including, clamshells, trapped blisters and sealing to paperboard, however, PET really shines in food packaging solutions. There are also PET designs that can reduce or eliminate the need for sealing the clamshell.
The switch to PET is an easy and beneficial change that can help with profitability. Start the process today by filling out the Request for Quote Form.
I answer my cell phone and on the other line is my customer. They have a new product and need some ideas on how to package it. How do I know I am offering the best packaging options to fit their needs? The answer…by asking the right questions.
In the first post of this series we reviewed some questions to ask about the product. Now that we have the information needed about the product, we can move on to determining the best method or style to package the product. Although this method is usually driven by cost, it is important to ask the questions so that the right packaging is developed.
There are many questions to ask in this step, the list is long and detailed, but here are a few worth mentioning…
1. What type of protection does the product need? One of the main responsibilities of packaging is to deliver the product to the customer without damage. Certain packaging types are needed to be able to protect the product better. It is important to understand how the product needs to be protected and design styles of packaging around those features. Packaging a screwdriver will be much different than packaging a light bulb.
2. Is there a certain style of packaging desired? Carton, clamshell, blister, trapped blister, envelope, etc. Even though a lot of questions are asked to determine the right style of packaging, it is always a good idea to get the manufacturers thoughts on how they would like to see their product displayed.
3. What materials are desired? Which types of materials should be avoided? Available material options include certified boards, recycled plastics, microwavable, dishwasher safe, etc. It is also good to find out if certain materials should be avoided. Some retailers do not like certain materials and it is important to know where the product is being sold so the right materials can be selected.
4. Who is doing the assembly? Depending who is doing the assembly and what type of equipment they have will dictate or eliminate some types of designs if purchasing capital equipment isn’t an option.
5. What type of visibility does the product need? Some products have multiple components to them and some need to be visible while some do not. Understand the visibility requirements. It is typically always better to show at least some of the product when possible. This helps to ensure the customer is buying the right product. Try to show the product when possible.
6. Does the packaging have a use after it’s purchased? In some cases the packaging will be used to hold a product for multiple uses by the consumer. Examples are: screws, eggs, cereal, etc. The product will most likely not be used in one use, so the packaging has to be designed for multiple uses. In this case, open and close features become very important.
The full list of questions to ask when designing packaging is significantly longer than listed here and continues to grow as technology and processes evolve. The goal is to ask questions that are relevant to the product you are packaging so that greater success is achieved.
At the end of this series, I will be sending out a complete list of questions to all who are subscribed to my blog. Visit http://www.brianpankratz.com and subscribe to this blog if you are interested in receiving the full version.
For questions or if you would like help with designing your products packaging, contact Brian Pankratz
This is the second post in this 3 part series on why packaging designs fail. Don’t forget to sign-up to have each post sent directly to your inbox. You can subscribe at http://www.brianpankratz.com.
In the last post we talked about three areas to consider when packaging designs fail; design, structure, and marketing. Last week we focused on design, this week we are reviewing structure. To read the first weeks post on design, click here.
We all need to be on the same page when talking about “Structure”. Structure is defined as the materials, construction, and shape of the packaging used to package the product.
So, how can the structure contribute to packaging that fails? The list below are some examples…
1. Damaged Packaging: Nothing says, “Don’t buy me,” more than a damaged package. I am not talking about the consumer inflicted damage by ripping open a package after purchasing it and then returning it to the store. I’m talking about the packaging not being able to withstand the shipping and handling process involved with getting the product to the retailer. Choosing the right materials when packaging a product is critical. Whether it’s deciding the type or thickness of either plastic or paper board, the wrong materials can affect the sale of a product. Choosing the wrong materials can result in damaged packaging or in some cases, damaged product. Everyone wants to save on costs, but when packaging doesn’t maintain integrity, the sales of the product suffer.
2. Over Packaged Product: Not only is not protecting a product bad, but over packaging products are also costly. I remember walking down the aisle in my local big box retailer, and seeing a product the size of my fist packaged in a sealed clamshell that was about twelves inches square in size. The product was grossly over-packaged and not sustainable in the least bit.
Note: How can the first two be resolved without issue? Packaging testing! Know the specifications needed for your packaging and do testing to ensure the product and packaging will arrive without issue.
3. Poor Security of the Packaging: One of the main responsibilities of packaging is to protect the product from theft. Failure to do this can result in huge losses for the retailer and result in higher theft rates of the product and may jeopardize the products ability to be sold at the retail level. On the other hand, food containers that have tamper-resistant features provide added security. I was working with a new client, and they informed me that before working with us, nine out of 10 of the products they sent to the retailer were stolen. The retailer had a clear message for their product that sold for $25 ea., “Get new packaging, or I’ll get new product!”
4. Shelf Presence: When designing packaging, one of the questions we ask is, “Does this package need to hang, stand, or both?” It is amazing how many out there seem to skip that question. Once we understand this question, we now need to find a way for the packaging that we design to POP. Gaining the attention of the consumer can be done several ways; shapes, colors, graphics, etc. Determine what would gain command on the shelf and then create something unique.
5. Poor Usability: Usability refers to packaging that facilitates the use of the product. Whether it is the perforations of a chip board carton to allow easy dispensing of the product or locking features on a clamshell, it all provides either a positive or negative experience for the consumer. The key is to create functional packaging that properly assist the consumer with the use of the product. Creating a positive experience for the consumer shouldn’t end after the purchase is made.
When packaging is designed with the proper structure, it can attract consumers, properly protect, and even prolong the shelf life of the product. The idea is to create packaging designs that do all of the above. Create an experience for the consumer that makes them appreciate you for how you have decided to package your product.
The next three posts are going to be dedicated to defining the elements on why certain packaging designs fail. If you want to get the next post sent directly to your inbox, subscribe at http://www.brianpankratz.com.
Before we get started talking about why some packaging designs fail, we all have to come to the realization that somewhere just under our ego is opportunity for improvement. It’s pretty tough to admit failure, but it becomes even tougher when we don’t admit it and learn from it. Another thing to understand is that there is a level of opinion that goes into what makes a design a failure or success.
Areas to consider
When we talk about packaging design, there are three different areas to consider; design, structure, and marketing. We are going to talk about the design aspect in this post, and then cover structure and marketing in following posts.
It’s important to understand what we mean when we talk about design. The word design could have several different meanings, one could argue that the whole make-up of a products packaging could be its design. I would like to define design as simply, how you have decided to package your product (stock clamshell, carton, blister pack, etc.)
So, let’s start with design, what factors of the overall packaging design can contribute to failure?
1. Packaging costs – Start with an understanding of what the cost of your packaging should be. Understand what equipment is necessary to assemble each style. There are many factors that affect the overall cost of packaging your product. Make sure to review all of them. Not doing this could result in higher costs and make you uncompetitive in the market.
2. Poor Protection – Packaging has multiple functions. It needs to help sell the product, but it also has to successfully transport the product to the consumer without being damaged. Nothing screams, “Don’t buy me,” more than damaged or worn packaging.
3. Where’s the product – Very few products should be kept out of view from the consumer. When possible, you need to show the product. The more creative way you can show the product, the more attention it will gain. Hiding your product in the packaging will make it harder to locate on the shelf.
4. Easy Access/Easy Open – Know your target audience and how they use your product. Some consumers will avoid certain products due to hard-to-open packaging. Understand the security aspects that are required and build in easy open features when you can.
5. Lack of Creativity – There are many options for creating attention in the simplest of packaging designs. Plain packaging designs may be overlooked and run the risk of never being found. Understand the different design options that are available at no extra cost that can and will draw attention to achieve added sales. There are several companies out there (including Mercury Plastics) that offer free packaging design evaluation. Do your homework and ask questions! Be creative!
The goal of every packaging design is to match the needs of the consumer with the abilities of your product. Good packaging should attract attention and then explain what makes your product unique and better than your competitors. Not doing so can result in a level of packaging design failure that could have been avoided.
For more information on how you can creating winning packaging designs that create attention and resist failure, contact Brian Pankratz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to week 3! Let’s recap…in week 1, we talked about the Scanning step, creating a package design that attracts the attention of the consumer. In week 2, we talked about Price, making sure the consumer agrees with your price point.
This week we are going to talk about what happens after the consumer finds your product and then processes the price. This step is called the Comparison step.
The Comparison Step
In the comparison step the consumer wants to make sure they have selected the best product for their money. So, even after they find what they like and agree with your price point, the consumer will still compare their choice to make sure their selection is the right one.
It is important to know what role packaging plays in this step. The way product is packaged can either bring additional value, or give the consumer hesitation in making a purchase.
Things To Think About…
Here are some things to think about when packaging your product:
Is your product the highest or lowest priced compared to your competition?
How does your competitor pack their product? If in a bag, a blister pack or clamshell may offer your product a higher perceived value.
Does your packaging help the product stand out among the other products?
Is your packaging unique?
Are the specifications or benefits of your product clearly mentioned?
There are many things to think about when creating packaging for products that will be compared to one another. The goal is to design packaging for your product that has a loud but comforting voice to the consumer.
Each product is different and special consideration should be given to each product before assuming how it should be packaged. The goal of the comparison step is to offer security to the consumer that your product is better. Consumers aren’t afraid to spend more money if they know they are getting a better product. How does your product compare?
Welcome to Week 2 of “The 4 steps to every consumer purchase”. If you missed week 1, you can find it here.
When consumers shop they follow four steps before they make their purchase. Understanding the pattern and focusing on how this relates to packaging can help to sell more product, while increasing profits. In week one we talked about the first step, scanning. Consumers start the purchasing cycle by letting their eyes scan the products until one specific product wins their attention.
The consumer has now found a product they like, what do they do next? They look at the price. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Well it is…but the important thing in this step is to understand what questions the consumer asks after they see the price.
After the consumer views the price of the product, they ask themselves the following questions:
Is the price what I expected to pay for the product?
Am I getting the best product for the money?
Before the consumer looks at the price, they have an idea of what the cost should be. So, how does packaging play a role in this step? Simple, more affordable packaging can reduce the overall cost of the product. The cost of your packaging can help you to be more competitive and win more sales.
There are some simple ways to get cost of out your products packaging without sacrificing quality or overall design. Reducing the product to package ratio and using alternative recycled materials are good places to start, but there are many other ways to reduce cost. New designs that can attract more consumers should be considered as well.
The goal is to improve each step of the process. Creating a new design that is more attractive along with reduced costs in packaging is a great combination that will help to win the sale.
Join us next week as we learn what happens when the consumer isn’t satisfied with the price point of your product.
Don’t miss a week! To get the next post in this series sent directly to your email, subscribe at, www.brianpankratz.com.
To learn more about creating packaging designs that save you money and increase profit, contact Brian Pankratz, email@example.com.
So, how exactly do products get from the store shelf to the checkout? Understanding the steps of what happens when a consumer enters the store until they reach the check out may help you to sell more product.
Over the next four weeks, I am going to break down the four steps that the average consumer takes before they make their purchase. With every consumer there is a sequence of events that takes place before a purchase is made. Understanding what they are and how to capitalize on them will be key if you want to sell more product.
There are three types of purchases: impulse, wants and needs, and predetermined. I will be covering these later in future posts, but for now we are talking about purchases that may be impulse or wants and needs.
Week 1: Step 1 – Scanning:
The first thing consumers do when they look for product is scan. They stand in front of the available products and their eyes scan across all of the choices they have.
During the scanning step, the consumer has an idea of what they are looking for. The consumers eyes scan until the attention of the consumer is attracted to one product. Unless you can get the attention of the consumer, you will most likely miss the sale.
To help get your product discovered, you must…
Design packaging in a way that demands the attention from the consumer and that can be easily spotted or recognized.
Create features in your packaging that are unique.
Add interactive features that draw the consumer to pick up the packaging to further inspect the product.
Have a clean and clear message that relates to the consumer.
The reality is, if the consumer doesn’t notice your product, they won’t be able to buy it. Uniqueness and creativeness need to drive your packaging design. When a consumer sees something that is new or different from what they expect to find, their attention is captured.
When consumers scan, the packaging design needs to be the connection to help them discover your product. Creating a packaging design that helps the consumer to find your product is the first step in getting your product to the check out. Stay tuned for Week 2: Pricing.
Don’t miss a week! To get the next post in this series sent directly to your email, subscribe at, www.brianpankratz.com.
Have you ever been in a store and shopped the product you manufacture? Not only shopped your product, but also shopped your competitor’s product?
If so, what did you learn?
Maybe a better question is…what can you learn by shopping your own product and why would you want to do this?
Here are five reasons why you should shop your own product…
1. Know what the retailer is saying about your product: Sales associates help consumers make decisions on what products they should buy. They offer their opinion and in most cases, their opinion will sway consumers to purchase certain products. Understand what the retailers are saying about your products.
2. Understand what your competition is doing: It is always a good idea to stand in the aisle where your product is offered to see how it compares to your competition. For example: if your competition is packaging all of their product in clamshells and you have made the decision to use bags, your presentation may lose the sale.
3. Shelf placement: Does shelf placement matter on how you package your product? The answer is…Yes. This will help determine how you show your product in the packaging. It’s not easy to always know where your product will be placed, but some items are commonly placed in certain areas. Whether in a bulk bin, end cap, or stand alone in-aisle display matters. Maximize your products visibility by using packaging that helps show your product better from all angles.
4. Product presentation: This one is easy…walk up to your product as if you were the consumer and determine if your packaging has something that grabs your attention. Features can be added in the packaging design that spark curiosity and draw the consumer in. Also look for anything that takes away from your product, such as a glare on the plastic that makes it tough to see your product. Make sure your packaging, “POPS”!
5. Knowledge of your product: This one may not be for everyone, however, if your product requires the sales associate to know certain features that will help them to sell your product better, make sure they are offered information with supplemental training to inform them. This can be as easy as inserting an extra instruction sheet into your master carton with your product that is titled, “What you need to know,” or a customer care phone number to call and get more information. At the least, put all major selling points in your graphics so the consumer can be made aware of your products benefits.
There is a lot to learn when going shopping, do not take this environment for granted. When designing packaging, we personally use this practice to determine how to create packaging that makes an impact on the store shelf. After going shopping, answer the most important question of all, “with the many choices of products similar to yours, would you buy your own product?”
Welcome to week three of, “How to cut costs and maximize profit in the New Year.”Let’s start with a question: How important is profit to your company? The ability to keep the doors open depends on your ability to create profit. Not only is being profitable important, it allows organizations options to produce additional growth. Investing in new equipment and launching new products is dependent on the ability to create profit.
A quick look back…
To summarize where we have been in this series…in week one, we reviewed ways to design your packaging to increase profits. In week two, we covered how being sustainable can increase profits. This week we are going to focus on how planning can either increase or take away profit.
Regardless of what industry you are in, the same goes for all…poor planning will contribute to increased costs. The better planner you are, the more you can eliminate added costs. How orders are placed, how packaging is designed, and how much time is allowed to complete projects are all examples of areas planning is important.
In the year 2013, company ABC plans on launching five new products. They are similar in size and shape, but do have features that make them different. The method of packaging will be a clamshell with an insert card.
Poor planning: Create five different clamshells to custom fit each product.
Good planning: Create one clamshell that can hold all five different products. (If needed, create a smaller insert tray to better hold the product in place.)
Result: The “Good planning” example will have the same packaging for all five parts. Since the packaging is similar for all five, the quantities will be more, which will allow for better pricing and will result in one part number being used over five parts. The insert cards will be a common die line which will result in better pricing for printing. Also, it will reduce the chance for obsolescence packaging costs.
There are several examples similar to the one above that can lead to increased costs due to poor planning. The goal is to work with suppliers that can identify these areas and help reduce your costs resulting in increased profits. Sometimes, identifying these areas can be difficult, so it is important to partner with those who have a track record of reducing costs while increasing the value of your packaging. Create profit in 2013 and do it by being good planners!
For questions or for more information on how you can increase profits in the coming year, contact Brian Pankratz at Mercury Plastics, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Yes, the title is right…packaging your product in a way that communicates your companies care for the environment can help profitability. Why? The reason is…consumers like manufacturers that care about the environment.
A common problem
If a company cares about the environment, but doesn’t relay that message out to the consumer, how are they to know? Another question…if you package your product with 100% recycled materials, do you think it helps to say this on your packaging, or should you just have your customer guess if you have made the
decision to be sustainable? You guessed it, if you are taking a position to use recycled materials, tell the consumer. For some consumers it may be the deciding factor with two like products at equal price points.
Some areas to focus on
There are easy ways to package your products to promote sustainability. The raw materials you use, the use of certified materials or paper boards, keeping a low product to package ratio, possible down-gauging thermoformed plastics, and the best way is to actually tell the consumer verbally on your packaging. Use easy to recognize symbols and verbiage that tell the consumer that you are focused on the environment.
Consumers desire products from companies that they know are doing their part to help the environment. My advice is…be sustainable and communicate clearly how you are helping the environment with the way you are packaging your products.
For more information on how to cut costs and maximize profit with your products, contact Brian Pankratz at Mercury Plastics, Inc, email@example.com.
A recent article was sent out by State Farm Insurance. It was titled, “11 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday.” It stated an amazing, yet alarming statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the amount of U.S. household waste increases 25 percent (1 million tons).
What they said…
The article by State Farm covered a variety of areas to be more eco-friendly, from replanting your Christmas tree, to giving away your left-overs (my favorite). The suggestion that got my attention was #6, “Pay Attention To Packaging- Try to purchase gifts with the least amount of packaging.”
Plain and simple
Is it just this simple? The way to be more eco-friendly is to just buy smaller packaging? Is this even good advice? Although we know that there is much more than size that makes packaging eco-friendly, none of that was discussed. Either way, it is good to note what the message was that was communicated. We need to be aware of the messages that are being sent by those not in the industry that may influence the consumers purchasing decisions.
How do you get the attention of those who want to be more eco-friendly by what they purchase? The answer is through communicating this with your packaging. Although size of packaging is one area, consumers are looking for those companies who communicate through their look, verbiage, or graphics, etc. that they are concerned about the environment.
This statistic is good for us to know and should push us to create more eco-friendly packaging designs. We need to be aware corporately and personally on what we are doing that contributes to the increased levels of waste, and make changes where it makes sense.
The environment is a serious issue. My advice would be to make yourself aware of ways that you can improve your product’s packaging to be more sustainable. If you need help, there are many manufacturers that stay current on new materials and process that can help. Whether you contact me or someone else…doesn’t matter, just make the effort and do your part to help the environment.
As product “XYZ” sits on the shelf collecting dust, the marketing and design team for the unpopular product go to work creating new packaging designs to replace their recent failed attempt. Excitement flares with each new design that gets passed around, but wait…did anyone ask, “What’s the problem?” Is there a reason product lingers on the shelf and attracts zero attention?
Before any new design is produced, research needs to be conducted on why the current packaging is not performing. Many factors contribute to the success or demise of a product; including: cost, shelf visibility, quality of raw materials, graphics, colors, etc. Before a new design is created, research should be conducted to determine what the problem is.
A lot can be learned from visiting your product in the retail environment. If you walked up to your product on the shelf to find all of your packaging slightly damaged or dented, you may have just found some answers on why your product isn’t selling. Maybe the right materials were not specified creating packaging that is deteriorating prior to purchase. Knowing this information would certainly be helpful when creating new designs.
Know Your Variables
There are different variables that need to be acknowledged when creating new packaging. Variables such as visibility of product, “try me” features, benefits included, etc. Know what type of information the consumer is looking for and then provide those features or options.
Packaging design should never detract from the product, it should always add value. Prior to creating a new design, know why your current packaging is not performing. Always start with identifying the issues of your current packaging so that those same issues can be avoided in future designs and you know what your problem is!
If your packaging could talk…what would it say? What would it say about both you and your company? Some of us are thinking to ourselves that we’re very happy our packaging can’t actually talk. A smaller percentage of us wonder what would actually be said. Regardless of the side that you take with wanting your packaging to talk, there is a sobering truth that lingers.
The truth is…packaging does talk. How we package our products tells a lot about us. This is consistent with many things in our lives…how we dress, the car we drive, the words we use, etc., all tell a little bit about who we are. This goes the same for how you package your product.
Write the Script
Determine what you want your package to say. Certain colors, textures, fonts, and shapes all communicate different messages. Being unique and creative is essential and will help your packaging to speak loud and clear.
Great manufacturers understand that every detail matters. If you want to be regarded as a top innovator, your packaging should be as innovative as the product inside. Doing this gains confidence with the consumer that attention has been given to every detail, even the packaging. Do consumers notice this? Absolutely!
Your packaging is talking…did you tell it what to say or is it telling everyone that you are a !@#$%^!
As the 2012 holiday season approaches, shoppers prepare to rush the stores in search of gifts for family and friends. A survey conducted by BIGinsight reported that the average holiday consumer will spend approximately $750/person on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more this holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales are projected to increase this year 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion.
Do Not Waste!
With such a huge market for products to thrive in, manufacturers cannot afford to waste a holiday! Each manufacturer needs to understand how they can package their products to reach the holiday consumer. I understand that some products do not lend themselves to a holiday market, but for those who do, capitalize on the opportunity.
I was recently discussing packaging ideas with an established candy manufacturer for one of their everyday items. When I asked what they do for the holiday season, they answered, “nothing.” To my surprise, I couldn’t figure out why they would let the holidays go by without some sort of offering. They have so many different great products, a holiday variety package including some of their best sellers could be a huge hit. Unfortunately, no thought was given to creating a product offering for their faithful following.
Time for Ideas
Start planning now for ways your product can capitalize on the 2013 holiday consumer market. Be creative…there are many different segments of the holiday market that need good gift solutions for those “hard to buy for” people!
Whether your product can be packaged for corporate gifts or stocking stuffers, find the packaging that offers a great gift idea. Generate cost effective ways that you can help others make shopping this holiday season easier.
If you have been following the “Buyers Guide to Packaging” series from the beginning, I hope you have learned some valuable information that will help you be more successful. I invite you to continue to follow along each week as I continue to uncover new subjects that help you to understand the packaging industry. Don’t forget to subscribe at www.brianpankratz, to have each week sent directly to your inbox.
One of My Favorites:
One of my favorite movies is “Good Will Hunting.” There is a scene in this movie that’s absolutely awesome. In a previous scene, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) talks bad about a painting that his psychiatrist, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) painted. Later in the movie, Robin Williams meets Matt Damon on a park bench and Robin Williams returns the favor speaking directly into the heart of Matt Damon.
Although Matt Damon is considered a genius on many levels, Robin Williams asks him if he has ever been inside the Sistine Chapel, or knows what it smells like when you walk in the door, or what it’s like to stand and look up at the magnificent painting with your own eyes. He then continues to ask him if he knows what it’s like to wake up next to a woman and feel true happiness.
Although Matt Damon understands what he has read and been told, he lacks the first-hand knowledge that you can only get by actually being somewhere. This specifically goes for your suppliers as well. In order to get a true understanding of your supply base, you need to take the time and make the visit.
What Can You Learn?
Yes, we are all busy, however, by taking the time to visit your suppliers, you can learn a great deal about them. If you are new to the industry, it is good to spend time with your suppliers to get an understanding of how each manufacturing process works. If you have been in industry a while, then put your experience to work to determine if your supplier is operating to meet or exceed your expectations.
Tips for Your Visit
I want to equip you with some questions to answer during your visit. The answers to these questions will help determine how effective the supplier is:
– What capabilities does the supplier have?
It is good to use suppliers that can be utilized for many different disciplines. Suppliers that have more capabilities can cut down on the number of suppliers needed.
– Who else does the supplier currently work with? How long?
It is important to know who the supplier’s customer base is and how long they have been working together. It is also important to know who the supplier worked with previously and why they are not working with them any more. Good suppliers should have reputable sources that they work with. My company creates packaging solutions for nine out of the top 20 companies on the Fortune 500 list. We couldn’t do that if our organization was riddled with quality issues and a lack of ability to perform!
– What Strengths and Weaknesses Are Visible?
Cleanliness, lighting, clutter, clear labels on materials, good work/product flow, etc., are all areas to look for. One of my favorite questions to ask someone who is manufacturing product is…“how do you know you are making acceptable product?” If the operator cannot answer this question…beware!
– Ask Questions!
When I give tours of our facility, I don’t expect our customers to understand all the details of what we do. I would rather them ask questions so they can gain a full understanding of our operation. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. It is the ability to understand the operation that will give you the knowledge to be a better buyer.
Yes, visiting suppliers takes time, energy, and money for travel. Ensure that you are working with good suppliers, not by hearing about them, but by visiting them. Walk the floor and create a learning experience to enhance your knowledge on how to better serve your company and your products.
If you would like more information about Mercury Plastics new products or are someone looking for packaging solutions and want to learn more about the packaging industry, contact Brian – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There are several factors that contribute to how product is packaged; size, shape, weight, how many components, etc. One of the more important factors that manufacturers need to consider is to know where the product will be sold.
Let’s get right to the point…grocery stores like product on shelves, where hardware stores like to hang product on peg hooks. The point is, retailers like products they sell to be packaged a certain way, if you fail to package your product to their specifications, you will be left with two choices…either spend time and money to redesign your packaging or search for stores that will accept your packaging as is. The key is to know your retail environment and to design packaging around the retailers expectations.
Knowing how big or small to create your packaging is important to the retail environment. You may have a desire to create a large package creating a billboard telling everyone about your product, but for retailers, oversized packaging decreases profits. Big retailers, such as Wal-Mart, have every square inch of their store accounted for. If they can’t get the profit they need because your packaging is too big or bulky, you won’t see the hook or the shelf!
Stand or be Hung:
Retailers appreciate products that arrive with options. When the exact retailer is unknown, try to create packaging that fits both situations. Several packaging designs offer both the ability to be hung from a peg hook or to stand alone. Knowing these options will help your chances of a successful product launch and less issues at the retail level.
The key to designing packaging that retailers appreciate starts with providing the right information to your packaging provider. More information is always better. Specifications and guidelines will help ensure that the correct packaging is designed and success is achieved at all levels from concept to the customer experience.
As a buyer, it’s important to get the best price for your packaging. Price is by far the biggest factor buyers consider when choosing packaging for their product. The mistake some buyers make is they use price as their only factor in determining who to buy from. They assume that just because two parts look alike, they are the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Veteran buyers have seen this first hand and can tell you that you need to do more that focus on price. Here are some things to consider…
Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Price
Have you ever bought something that was inexpensive, got it home, used it once, and then it broke? Your good deal didn’t seem like a good deal anymore, did it? In all industries, you need to pay attention to the quality level your suppliers can perform to. Does the supplier’s packaging meet the expectations of your brand, or are you sacrificing the look of your brand because you are getting a good deal on packaging? The thing to understand is…consumers know quality when they see it. If a products packaging is damaged on the shelf, red sirens and flashers signal to the consumer, “beware of this product.”
Understand the Consumer’s Expectations For Your Product
As consumers shop, they have an expectation of how something should be packaged. For instance, do you think it makes sense to put a pair of blue jeans in a clamshell? Consumers have an expectation that blue jeans will be folded neatly and accessible so they can be easily tried on. Toys will be packaged so kids can try them out, and electronics will be packaged so they don’t get damaged or stolen. My point? Know your product so you can meet or exceed the consumer’s expectations!
Know the Part Specifications
When comparing similar packaging, ask for specific material specifications along with the price of the components. Don’t fall victim to down gauging for price reductions when the material quoted will not meet the requirements or keep the integrity of your product while on the store shelf.
The bottom line is to know what you are paying for. Don’t sacrifice quality for cost. Good packaging suppliers will be able to tell you what materials you need to keep the integrity of your product’s packaging. Quality packaging equals quality product!
For more information or for any questions, please contact: Brian Pankratz. email@example.com
We all have a list of things that we should do…but what about a list of things that we should never do? Chances are that if you have done even one of the items listed below, you regret it today.
Facing the Facts:
Let’s face the facts…we are all busy, right? Some companies are understaffed, overworked, and lack the tools to do the job correctly. New products and packaging need to be developed and there just isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done. Whether your budget isn’t big enough or you just don’t have enough time, cutting corners could lead to an unexplainable disaster.
I am sure that if I took a poll of the general packaging community and asked the question, “What things should you never do in packaging,” I would get a wide variety of answers. But, after all the answers were sorted, we would have some common themes that would be similar.
Here are 5 things you should never do in packaging:
1. Make environmentally false claims on your packaging.2. Never ship product you know is bad.3. Never copy packaging without understanding if there are patents involved with the current design.4. Skip valuable steps like ship tests to meet launch dates.5. Make material changes without informing your customer.
After reading the list, a high percentage of us will agree that the risk is not worth any short-term gain that is achieved by making an unethical decision. Making the wrong decision can affect you personally, your company’s reputation, and the industry as a whole.
Sometimes, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do, and can certainly keep you out of imminent danger for your product and your career in packaging.
New Series Starting Next Week!
Next week I will be starting a weekly series called, “Buyers Guide to Packaging.” Subscribe at http://www.brianpankratz.com to get it delivered directly to your email each week.
The Shocking News First:
In June of 2012, Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) released their “2012 Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging: A Focus on Flexible PVC from Discount Retail Chain Stores”. The samples were focused in the nineteen U.S. States that have laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of packaging containing intentionally added cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium. Although the findings for heavy metals were down from the 2009 report, flexible PVC is still failing at a rate of 15-39% of tested imported packaging. The category of “toys, games, and crafts” had the highest fail rate of 39% of total packages tested for restricted heavy metals.
The retail chains where heavy metals were found in their packaging were contacted and asked to remove the product from their shelves and to conduct corrective action measures to eliminate this packaging. With fail rates of fifteen to thirty-nine percent, we have to wonder how much is currently on the shelf that wasn’t tested and still remains on a peg hook today.
What to Watch For:
It amazes me how the U.S. continues to struggle with imported goods containing toxic heavy metals. According to Patricia Dillon, Program Manager at TPCH, the products to watch out for are those that are not packaged in the U.S. Flexible PVC and inks/colorants dominated the non-compliant packaging issues.
The best way manufacturers can protect themselves is to know their supplier and where they get their materials. Mercury Plastics, Inc. only uses materials that comply with all specifications for heavy metals and additionally strives to design the most sustainable packaging solutions for our customers. Partnering with innovative U.S. suppliers that certify their materials, as Mercury Plastics does, will help to eliminate costly recalls as well as protect the name and integrity of your product.
To read the full report from the TPCH, Click Here.
For further information on how you can be protected from imported packaging containing toxic heavy metals, contact Brian Pankratz at Mercury Plastics, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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There are many costs associated with packaging a product. While the raw materials of the packaging are mainly concentrated on in the beginning stages of development, an equal amount of emphasis should be put on the labor to assemble.
We’ve all been there; right…someone emails a great packaging concept to us for review. While reviewing the concept on your computer screen, you count 3 different insert cards, a plastic tray which goes inside of a plastic clamshell, an instruction sheet and then let’s not forget about the actual product we are trying to sell along with individual attachments to our product. You view the quote sheet and it lists all of the components, but where are the labor costs to assemble this masterpiece?
Being a designer, printer, thermoformer, and co-packer of packaging components, we place a high emphasis on the cost associated with the assembly of the packaging we design. Labor costs continue to increase; being able to design packaging that is easy to assemble is a key ingredient to the profitability of a product.
Don’t let it happen to you; be aware of the costs to assemble and seek guidance on any improvements that can be made to take the cost of assembly out.
For further information on if you can remove unneeded costs associated with packaging assembly, contact Brian Pankratz at Mercury Plastics, Inc. (email@example.com)
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