How Can I Reduce My Packaging Costs?


Packaging is a key element of any product. The recent changes in the way consumers purchase products (especially when working from home) means that more products are being sold remotely, which makes the need for packaging even more important. With this increase in demand so too comes increase in costs too (the dynamics of supply and demand, alas).

Our customers come to us asking how they can reduce their cardboard packaging costs and it’s all about working smarter. We can help with many of the practical changes needed; read on to find out how.

Is your packaging the best fit?

Take a look at the existing pallet fill of your packaging. Is there an alternative configuration that would fit the pallet better?  If we can fill the pallet better, we can reduce your logistics costs (and possibly labour and box costs).

It might look like a maths exam question but improving layouts and configurations within boxes can make a real difference. For example, if you currently have 6 packs in a box using a 3 x 2 layout, it might fit better on a pallet or fill a pallet better if it becomes 2 x 4. The smallest tweaks can make a real difference to the number of packs on a pallet.

The example shown above illustrates how this change (on a product sized 75 x 75 x 100mm) can increase the number of individual units per pallet by + 2.5% but the big saving is in the labour costs as it reduces the number of boxes your team need to pack by 30%.

Things also change over time.  That box you've been using for 10 years might have been set up to suit a particular bottle for example.  You might have since changed your bottle supplier and that case that was a snug fit may now be too big.  We can resize it to suit and reduce the box cost accordingly.

What’s right for my boxes - kraft or test?

Consider switching from kraft (virgin trees) to test (recycled) papers for both supply and commercial reasons. Europe is a super producer of test paper (way more than other regions like the USA) and more test paper making mills are coming on stream right now so availability should be better in Europe. Test paper sometimes needs to be thicker to give the same performance, but the costs of test papers are always cheaper, so test often works our more favourably in commercial terms. Ecommerce growth is grabbing huge amounts of kraft paper so you might find a smoother supply of test paper.

Are you using the optimum board grade for your cardboard packaging?

The best way to review whether your board grades are the optimum for the current job is for our team to spend some time on your site.  If however your preference is to minimise visitors to site, we can issue you with a packaging questionnaire.  We'll ask questions like: what's going in the box, how much does it weigh when packed, what's the onward supply chain and then feed this info into one of our two support labs who will then recommend the optimum grade.   

Can I get a better box for less?

Clever designs to minimise the amount of material used mean that a die-cut design could use less board than your current solution. Even though die-cutting is a more expensive process, you could use a third less materials so there is a tipping point where it’s worth making the switch. You can then benefit from all of the advantages that come with a die-cut box (exact fit, environmentally friendly (in-built fitments), wow factor).

Auto-erect machine machines utilise die cut styles. If your volumes are sufficient, a switch to make use of an auto erect system could take cost out of your box and also reduce your labour costs.  We work with an excellent systems supplier and would be pleased to pass on their details for a initial investigation to establish if this might be an option for your business.

How else can I take packaging costs out?

Are you applying labels to your cases showing consistent information?  For example, if you're apply fragile labels to a plain case, we could print the fragile warning notice directly on your boxes to remove the cost of the labels and the labour costs associated with the application.

How can I reduce the amount of void fill I use?

If every order you send out is different, it can be tricky to find the perfect case size.  We try and work to a 80/20% split.  If we can work together to arrive at the best case size to suit 80% of your despatches, this should be the most efficient way of packing for you.  A right sized case is always going to reduce the amount of void fill you require.  Our team of designers can meet with you on site to review what your packing team are doing and make recommendations based on their observations.

Another option might be to add a multi-depth crease to your box.  If you're regularly packing out the height of your boxes with void fill, we could add a multi-depth crease to your boxes at no extra cost.  this will help your team cut them down neatly and quickly and avoid the need for as much void fill (but of course if this is happening 80% of the time..... we need to re-size your box!).

Just give us a call to have a chat about reducing your packaging costs.

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