Packaging Design Tips for Manufacturers

August 31, 2016

Good packaging design is a vital part of any company that ships and stores its goods. Proper packaging protects items from vibrations, shocks, and bumps during transit. It must also withstand the demands of long-term storage and distribution. Packaging design can even promote easier stock identification and aid manual handling. All of these points drive productivity and overall efficiency.

What criteria should my packaging design meet?

Of course, packaging’s main purpose is to protect goods; this is non-negotiable. It’s said that your products should be able to survive a 4-foot drop at several different angles without damage:

  • Landing flat on base
  • Landing flat on top
  • Landing flat on longest side
  • Landing flat on shortest side
  • Landing on a corner

It should also be able to withstand one full minute of shaking (mimicking a transit environment) without any breakages occurring. Furthermore:

  • Packaging design must be durable and able to handle long-term sustained loads, such as stacking.
  • Proper packaging must cushion the product in case the item is dropped or shifts and falls during transit
  • Packaging should be moisture-resistant to reduce costly damage from humidity and weather changes.
  • Packaging should act as a deterrent to thieves and tampering.

Protective packaging does not have to cost a lot, but it does have to be effective. This must always be considered when manufacturers design their packaging. Rudimentary packaging may cause long-term costs due to damages, repairs, and reduced productivity.

Packaging Design Tips

It’s important to analyze your current packaging strategy––an overhaul could be just what your business needs to reduce costs.

1. Look inside the box

Generally, there does not need to be any more than two inches of space between the inner and the outer box. Look strategically at the size of your products and consider purchasing double wall cardboard boxes in smaller sizes to reduce both materials and shipping costs.

2. Consider whether or not you’re over-packaging

Layers add protection, but this can mean heavyweight packaging and costly purchases. Consider if they are all necessary, or if there are redundancies that can be eliminated.

3. Think about B2B benefits from bulk buying

You should look at your shipping and storage needs as a long-term strategy, and it’s key to balance the benefits of bulk buying packaging materials and the costs of keeping them in your warehouses.

4. Remember that packaging accessories can increase productivity

Efficient staff is just as important as the packaging products themselves. It might be worth investing in items like strapping dispensers, which make packaging easy and fast. These items are mobile and can be used throughout your warehouse/workplace. They may require maintenance in order to keep them working in optimum condition for years to come, but remember that maintaining these items is a low-cost way to avoid costly replacements.

Consider the Environment

The sustainability of your brand is something all companies should endeavor to achieve. Today, 83% of consumers worldwide say that it is important for businesses to make efforts towards sustainability.

Loose Fill Chips

Loose fill packaging chips are now available as a biodegradable product, and can be a replacement for traditional Styrofoam chips or peanuts. Loose fill chips settle around fragile items and stop goods from rattling in their outer boxes.

AirPack Systems

AirPack systems are inflatable bags used for cushioning products in transit, and the design is taking over the packaging industry. The product is manufactured using synthetic plastic technology to create 100% recyclable plastic. This is an alternative to typical bubble wrap cushioning, which is made of polyethylene and is often non-recyclable. Striking a balance between protective packaging, cost, and sustainability is achievable with a bit of careful planning. Thanks to recent innovations, there are scores of low-cost packaging developments that can assist companies in their packaging strategies, whether they are moving towards eco-friendly materials or seeking to reduce their shipping costs. About the Author: Melissa Lang is freelance writer from Glasgow, Scotland, currently working with Ferrari Packaging. Melissa has a keen eye for all things design, and has a background in branding and marketing consulting. Keep up with Melissa on her LinkedIn Profile.