6 Product Packaging Mistakes That Are Costing You Money
Product packaging is important! You've heard this before, and it's still true. If your product packaging isn't the best it can be, it's probably costing you more money than it could be.
In honor of helping your brand shine on and off the shelf, here are 6 packaging mistakes that are costing you money and how to remedy them!
1. Lack of Package Testing
Have you ever purchased a product and found that it was damaged inside the packaging before you even opened it? Sometimes it is because of a production error of the product itself, other times its because the package was not properly protecting the items within.
Maybe you've seen a package on the store shelves that was damaged either by crushing or by the environment it had been subjected too prior to making it to the shelf. This may have deterred you from buying the product altogether. Product damage from improper packaging is a major cost faced by many businesses and it's important to minimize the chances for this occurring with yours.
Testing your product packaging after design and production is extremely important before bringing it to market. Test for shipping durability, handling and product protection before launching a new package design, and make it a point to test this periodically to ensure your product and the package it resides in is safe throughout its lifecycle.
2. Outdated Packaging
Keeping up with the Joneses, if you will, or won't; will keep your products moving off the shelves. Not doing so can be a major burden on increasing revenue. Keep an eye on consumer buying habits at least annually to see how your packaging stands up to the needs of your target market.
If your competition is upgrading their packaging design to increase usability, you are behind the ball. The more research you do on your target market and the people that will find the most benefit in your product, the more informed you will be when making a strategy for your package design.
Can you be the trend-setter for your product in the marketplace? Pay attention to the colors, shapes, and textures that you use in your packaging design. Do they speak to your product? Do they speak to your target market and the consumer trends that make sense for your brand? Do they speak to your brand? Find alignment in all of these and you will have a winning package design.
3. Labor Force Vs. Automation
Let's face it, manual labor costs money. Though we want to help the economy by employing our people, the jobs in almost any manufacturing and packaging production can be done with machinery for less money. If you have the opportunity to reduce labor on your packaging lines with automation, it is worth review. Though a capital investment in automated packaging machinery may seem expensive up-front, a longer-term outlook will show the benefits; often in a much shorter time frame than you may expect.
New technologies and robotics can make the entire packaging process fully automated, but if full-automation is not feasible right now, partial automation can reduce the manual labor required to package your product. Make the time to break down each part of your packaging process to find which points make sense to automate now and make a plan for future automation.
If you are looking to start small with new technology, a semi-automatic pallet wrapper can reduce the costs of your packaging process and reduce the manual labor (and literal running around in circles) that your employees must endure.
4. Using the Wrong Film Specifications
The size and specifications of the film you use to package your products has an impact the overall cost of packaging your product. Shrink film is priced by gauge and width, so a thicker film gauge has a higher cost than a lower gauge film.
The increased cost isn't only felt in the price of the film itself but also in the packaging process. In addition to higher price tags for thicker films and widths, the heavier the gauge, the longer they will take to make a proper seal. This will make your machinery wear faster and require more frequent maintenance. Thinner, stronger shrink films are available today that have the same strength and durability as the thicker film gauges.
It's worth sampling a down-gauged to run some film tests on your products to see a reduction in your total packaging costs. Make sure that the lower film gauge still provides the proper protection for your product before diving in! A lower film gauge can positively impact costs of material and maintenance while also providing you with energy savings, but it won't do much for you if the product isn't protected.
5. Skipping Preventative Maintenance
When business ramps up, it can be easy to dismiss a proper preventative maintenance plan to meet demands for product. This can cost you. When things get challenging there's one thing to remember:
DON'T SKIP PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE!
A regular preventative maintenance plan for your packaging machinery should be a requirement in any production.
Plan ahead for it.
One issue that may seem minor will not only cost you in the long run with unanticipated downtime, but that minor issue could lead to a larger issue or a complete breakdown that will cost many times the initial issue may have caused.
Depending on the part (or parts) that breaks down on your machine when you least expect it, they may have long lead times to receive. In many cases a qualified service technician can identify common parts that wear faster for your machinery during a planned PM and provide you a list of spare parts to keep on hand to be safe.
Talk to your machinery or material supplier, or a technician that you trust to discuss which parts you should have on hand for emergencies and for regular maintenance. If you don't have a PM program in place at your facility or if you don't have in-house technicians, a service provider may have programs available for you to join. The Industrial Packaging Service team saves our customers an average of 32% annually on parts and service costs.
If you have new machinery, check if your supplier provides any training for your team on using and maintaining the machinery. In-plant training may be available, and it can be a major cost-saver, helping save you on costs from improper use as well as regular maintenance
6. Using the wrong materials in product packaging
Sometimes a product may be looked over because the packaging isn't ideal. A package meant for easy access that needs to be re-sealed by the consumer but isn't in a resealable packaging, for example, may be passed up for a competitors that has the ease-of-use built into their package.
Does your product have additional and unnecessary packaging that is turning off your target market? Think about how the consumer will use your product and how you can make their experience better with a package design that helps them access and dispose of the product more easily.
Maybe you can reduce the size of your overall packaged good by eliminating parts of the package that aren't necessary, making it easier to store. Research your target market before selecting the packaging materials you use. You may find that a positive package experience will increase revenue growth and consumer perception of your product and your brand.
Want more ways to improve your packaging costs? If you are using shrink film for your product packaging, take a look at our shrink film cheat sheet to trim your costs easily!
About David Roberge
I am grateful for my 9 years as part of the outstanding Industrial Packaging team. I was able to hang out with some of the most knowledgeable folks in the packaging industry. I feel even luckier that I was able to share that knowledge with you. I love learning, hiking, and growing people and teams both personally and professionally, and helping companies grow better.