By: Nathan Dube on October 4th, 2022
The Top 5 Mistakes When You Buy Packaging Materials
Everyone wants to get their packaging when they want it, but that often won't happen when you make any of these common mistakes when you buy packaging.
From extended lead times to the multitude of global supply chain problems plaguing the world today, you have to consider many things before you try to buy packaging materials.
Failing to do so may result in your inability to acquire the packaging materials you want or, more importantly, need to run your business.
However, you can avoid the many costly unwanted problems that come along with packaging purchasing mistakes.
But, what are the mistakes people everywhere make when trying to purchase the packaging materials they need?
And how can you avoid these mistakes to prevent your business from falling into the same lousy purchasing habits?
This article will review the top five mistakes buyers make today when placing orders for the packaging materials required to keep their business running like a well-oiled machine.
What Are The Top 5 Mistakes When You Buy Packaging Materials?
At first glance, buying packaging may seem like a straightforward process. But this is hardly the norm.
Purchasing managers and buyers are extremely busy people, and buying packaging is only one small part of their responsibilities.
Many buyers will go to the internet, search for the materials they need, find the most affordable option and purchase what they need a couple of weeks before the materials need to run on their packaging line.
But, as noted above, making light of the packaging purchasing process can lead to all kinds of headaches for buyers when they try to simplify the act of buying packaging in this way.
And the hypothetical situation above is just one of several bad packaging purchasing habits that can lead to heavy stress, excessively costly orders, and other significant problems.
Below we will review the top 5 mistakes people make when buying packaging materials today.
1. Waiting To Buy Packaging Materials At The Last Minute
In today's market, this is one of the absolute worst mistakes you can make when trying to purchase the packaging materials that you need.
As mentioned above, many buyers will research the price of the packaging materials and place an order only a few days prior to when they need the materials on site.
In the past, this mistake may not have been as costly. But, in today's world, where we have a global supply chain that has been decimated by one black swan event after another, buying in such a way can produce severe negative repercussions.
Because of events such as the COVID pandemic, the great resignation, trucker shortages, the war in Ukraine, the ever-given container ship debacle, and multiple other similar events that have caused significant supply chain disruption, waiting till the last minute to buy what you need is a terrible idea.
This is because all the elements mentioned above have pushed lead times for many different packaging materials to anywhere between seven weeks and, in some cases, beyond thirteen months!
So if you wait to order packaging materials that have a seven-week lead time until the week before you need them to arrive at your warehouse, you will not get what you need, and you will have to incur weeks of downtime until the materials arrive at your business!
Need help buying packaging materials and supplies? We can help!
2. Buying Packaging Materials Based On Price Alone
Another major mistake many packaging buyers make today is purchasing packaging materials based exclusively on cost.
Many assume that one of the best ways to save money when buying packaging materials is to buy the cheapest materials possible.
Sometimes, this actually does save people money, but more often than not, the reverse is true. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
It is super easy to find the cheapest packaging material that you need with a simple google search. And while it may seem like spending as little as possible on your packaging materials would be a great way to keep costs down, most of the time, this is not the case.
When you buy the cheapest packaging materials, the total cost of ownership for these supplies almost always ends up costing you a lot more money in the long run.
This is because the lowest-priced packaging supplies are often the lowest quality materials. Using said materials on your packaging line will usually lead to poor packaging, machinery issues, breakage, and other common problems.
Furthermore, when you buy the cheapest packaging on the market, these materials often come from overseas vendors who do not offer customer service or return services in your native language, if they offer these items at all.
And, if your material quality ends up being too low to run, the downtime you will incur from returning the materials (if you are even able to do so) will take much longer than if you had purchased a premium product from a trusted vendor.
So while you may pay a notably higher price upfront when buying premium packaging materials, the money you will save from avoiding the unwanted headaches mentioned above will almost always result in a lower cost in the long term.
3. Trying To Buy Packaging Materials When You Don't Know What You Need
This is a much more common mistake than you would think. It is made by countless packaging materials buyers regularly.
I can't tell you how many people come to our live chat or contact one of our reps explaining that they would like to buy packaging for their product.
Of course, we are always happy to help and excited to bring in new business. But, when we ask new prospects what type of packaging material they would like to buy, the answer is often "I don't know. I was hoping you would tell me what I need".
When we hear this, we usually follow up the question with, OK, what is the length, width, and height of your product, to which the answer is often "I don't know."
We will continue with questions relating to the prospect's product, such as, is it heat sensitive? How will you be shipping your product?
When do you need the materials by? How many products are you looking to package, and what is your budget for this packaging project (and various other related questions)?
Repeatedly, the answer is often "I don't know." And this makes for a very frustrating and time-consuming experience for the buyer.
That is why when we get new inquiries from new prospective clients, we always ask that they answer a set of questions and some additional queries before they try to make a purchase.
By answering all these questions in advance and having that information available when you reach out to speak with a packaging expert, you will have a much easier, faster, and enjoyable conversation that will result in you getting the ideal packaging supplies for your specific needs.
4. Buying Packaging Materials After Previously Announced Price Increases
This is one of the more confounding mistakes that packaging buyers make on an ongoing basis. It is no secret that packaging prices have increased over the past couple of years and will likely continue to do so.
Due to various issues, including international conflict, pandemics, natural disasters, labor shortages, and other similar events, the price of various packaging supplies has increased more than half a dozen times over the past couple of years.
Whenever these prices increase, we receive information about these price increases at least a couple of weeks or months in advance of the increase.
We send announcements of these price increases to our clients and prospects, urging them to purchase now so that they can get the lower price for the packaging materials they need.
But, low and behold, many people choose to wait till after the price increase to make their purchase. This is often accompanied by their lamenting over the higher prices they have to pay.
It pains us to see this, which is why we send out our price increase notifications and product content such as this blog post to help buyers to buy sooner next time.
Suppose you do not want to pay more for your packaging supplies. In that case, it is well advised to speak with a packaging expert to discuss the current prices for the packaging materials you need and when and if the costs will increase.
This will allow you to purchase before the price increases and save your business money.
5. Buying The Wrong Packaging Materials
Another common mistake could be avoided by answering the questions in the articles linked above. New packaging buyers sometimes purchase the wrong packaging materials for their business.
This is often a byproduct of them researching their packaging needs rather than speaking with a packaging specialist to ensure they get the correct type of packaging materials.
Failure to speak with a packaging specialist for these reasons, especially if you are a first-time buyer, may lead to buying the wrong shape, size, width, or length of material.
In some cases, uneducated buyers will buy a material that cannot even be used to package their product.
So, it is imperative that you talk with a packaging expert before you buy packaging materials, especially if you have not bought packaging materials for your company before.
How To Avoid These Common Mistakes When Buying Packaging Materials
With all the information above, you should be well equipped to avoid making the packaging mistakes mentioned here.
But, how can you be sure that you will not make other packaging purchasing mistakes too? Would you like to ensure that you will not make any mistakes when ordering packaging materials for your business?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you would want to speak with one of our in-house packaging specialists.
They will be able to help you buy the suitable packaging materials for your needs without falling into the traps and common mistakes mentioned above.
About Nathan Dube
As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.