According to Google Trends, packaging services are the second most searched phrase in the whole packaging category. It may be connected to the fact that even though the most challenging times of the pandemic are over, the full recovery likely won’t happen anytime soon. 

Material shortages, price fluctuations, waste of resources and manufacturing delays are still significant issues worldwide. Seeing how disruptions have been recurring in the packaging industry for the past few years, it’s no surprise that businesses are actively looking for solutions to address the most pressing challenges.

In the search for some of the most enquired solutions, we’ve discussed with Packhelp, a custom packaging marketplace that offers such services. Check the list below and see if you considered at least one of the following to optimise your business processes. 

Structural engineering to right-size the packaging

Oversized packaging is wasteful, but it’s often a popular choice for many businesses that try to reduce spending by lowering unit costs. Such a strategy often leads to a reverse effect – companies end up shipping air and fillers, which is not only expensive but also redundant and not environmentally friendly. By choosing the right-size packaging, you develop a more effective way to lower prices, improve the environmental impact and retain protection levels.

According to studies, the average package is dropped 17 times in transit. Many businesses choose oversized packaging, believing that extra space and fillers will make their products safe for transportation. These companies fail to accept that large packaging doesn’t mean safe, but the right-size packaging does.  The right-size packaging protects the goods inside better than any filler because it’s designed for this purpose specifically. Additionally, the minimised risk goes in tandem with reduced costs on materials.

Choosing better-adjusted packaging can snowball across different business areas regarding cost-effectiveness. It means more efficient production, optimised transport and storage because more packages can fit on one pallet, into the lorry, the shelves, and so on.

Last but not least, this contributes to a reduced carbon footprint and less waste. Fewer materials lead to lighter packaging, which means a smaller carbon footprint during transportation and less energy during production. 

All in all, choosing or developing the appropriate packaging maximises the purposeful use of materials, which impacts different areas of business – from finances, production, and storage to transportation. On top of that, it can also be a factor in creating a better, frustration-free customer experience. 

Material-substitution consulting

Subjecting packaging to material analysis and performance testing can help answer many important questions regarding compliance with the ever-changing sustainability regulations.

Materials substitution focuses on finding the most optimal materials for your packaging. When thinking about cardboard, a top-of-mind strategy is to reduce packaging weight. However, there are three other areas to explore:

  • Size reduction –  as previously mentioned, optimising packaging size may have multiple benefits. 
  • Material reduction – commonly known as ‘spec down’ or ‘lightweighting’, signifies changes within the same material that aims to make the packaging thinner and lighter.
  • Material substitution – changing the material in use entirely is an excellent example of such practice switching from fossil to renewable packaging.

Choosing the suitable material for your packaging may take time as the goal is usually to achieve the lowest possible grammage without losing stiffness or compromising the usability of the packaging. Expert opinion can additionally help businesses to eliminate any dangerous, not-compliant with law or hard-to-source materials from the packaging and replace them with better and safer alternatives providing equivalent functionality. 

Life cycle assessment

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) can give you an overview of your environmental impact on different stages of your operations, as well as optimise your existing processes to find a more effective way to use your current techniques, from design to production and logistics. It might involve moving your production to a different place, more efficient sourcing, or reusing some packaging. There are a lot of improvement possibilities locked in various processes; it’s high time you looked closer into them.

LCA helps to prioritise the improvements in your processes or products, considering the following criteria: raw materials production and distribution; packaging usage from manufacturing phase to end user; disposal and recycling. During LCA, all the initial inventory data is converted into measures to understand your impact. Finally, it’s used to compare different packaging types, highlight potential problem areas and introduce improvements. 

Sustainability compliance

Sustainability has become a leading differentiator for brands in the last decade. Two-thirds (67%) of customers now consider it essential that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging, and 83% of younger customers are even willing to pay more for a product with sustainable packaging. 

In light of increasingly strict packaging regulations that vary on different markets, compliance with sustainability standards only grows in importance. It becomes increasingly crucial to know all the small details concerning the packaging, like the source of your materials, their environmental impact like carbon and water footprint, proper labelling standards in different countries and many more.

No matter the motivation, failing to follow through can have a damaging impact on the brand’s reputation and financials. In light of changing factors, technology and experience in packaging services are enormous assets.

If you are on a quest to future-proof your business, observing your supply chain may come in handy. As we’ve discovered, there are multiple ways in which packaging can improve your overall performance. Instead of frustrating over things that go into details, you can always turn to a trusted partner for all things packaging – like Packhelp. With 250 experts on board and seven years of experience, the company has helped over 60,000 brands from all over Europe. Apply easily on their website and get instant access to professional advice for every packaging-related need.