When you set out to find a packaging material supplier, there are plenty of questions to ask. That’s because the task is much like looking for a long-term partner. Packaging suppliers usually work with their clients for many years and can be one of the most important components in a company’s growth and prosperity.
That’s because packaging is something that’s always with you, as long as you’re in business. When you hire a CPA firm to prepare your taxes and payroll, a law firm to handle delicate company business, or an IT service provider to keep your organization’s data safe, it’s common to spend many hours making the final selection.
The same is true for packaging. Getting your product into the ideal package is vital to the bottom line. It means better branding, for one thing. The whole concept of “branding” took off shortly after companies began paying close attention to package design in the late 1800s.
What’s more, when you select a packaging pro who knows the ropes, you’re attending to many chores at once, including maximized profits, minimal product damage, the ability to scale up as business improves, and much more.
Psychology is important, too. Packaging design makes products stand out in buyers’ minds and leads them to choose attractive, well-conceived items among hundreds of others on store shelves.
Important Business Decisions
Even medium-sized businesses have employees, vehicle fleets, payroll, IT systems, planning committees, profit considerations, customer relations issues, and a constant need to compete with other companies in the same niche. That’s where packaging comes in. When you find the right material supplier, you’re choosing a business partner who can assist you across a wide spectrum of tasks.
In all, there are probably 50 or more factors that go into the decision of choosing a packaging material supplier. It’s essential to get a feel for the most important ones. After that, take time to learn about the most frequent mistakes companies make when choosing a supplier.
When you begin to think of your packaging materials as the life blood of your product’s success, you’re on the right path. Because without a package, even the world’s greatest product is unknown to the world, unprotected on the store shelf, and, in the end, unsold.
Factors For Selecting a Packaging Material Supplier
There are far more factors than seven, but the short list below condenses some of the items you need to put at the top of your list when beginning the selection process.
- Products: Find out if the suppliers you are considering offer the basic products you need, like custom packaging, wrapping paper, various materials, and boxes of the size you want. This should be step-one in your research phase of locating a suitable supplier.
- Additional Help: Find out whether a prospective supplier offers help you might need with design, planning, and figuring out how many packages you can buy and store, in order to keep expenses down. Most of the better suppliers offer free consultations for new customers.
- Adjustable MO’s (Minimum Orders): Try to find suppliers who have adjustable order quantities. That’s crucial if you want to start small and test different kinds of packaging and then ramp up on quantity later on. Look for companies that offer fair discounts on higher quantities.
- Reputation: A good reputation is not a guarantee that you’ll get high-quality goods or services. But, a poor reputation should act as a warning sign that you could encounter problems. Check reputations via the Better Business Bureau and reputable online review sites.
- Service: It’s not just about product quality and reasonable prices. A huge part of the packaging equation is service. What good is it if you find a supplier who offers fair prices and great supplies but never answers their phone, or can’t help you select the right materials for your products?
Service is a key component in your selection process. Check it out by phoning various suppliers and seeing how they treat you and how thoroughly they answer your questions.
- Quality: Ask for samples in order to test packaging quality. Most of the better suppliers will be glad to send you several samples of the work they do so you can get a feel for overall quality.
- Reliability: Reliability is difficult to check out, but there are ways. Consider asking prospective suppliers for a few references, then go to several social media sites and see what former customers had to say about reliability. This has to do with more than customer service functions, like phone-answering and timely email responses. It’s also about delivering the goods on time, in the right quantities, and at the agreed-upon price.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
Know before you go, as the old adage advises. The following guidelines will help you steer clear of packaging material suppliers that are not in line with your company’s needs. Don’t worry if you feel as though you’re spending “too much” time on the selection process.
Yes, you can always switch suppliers later on, but it’s best to go through the careful process of vetting material suppliers before making your initial selection. In the end, you’ll save money, time, and headaches by locating an excellent material supplier the first time through.
- “Bottom-Feeding”: Bottom-feeding will hurt you every time. It’s the practice of jumping for the lowest packaging prices. It’s understandable when done by new organizations and managers who want to keep expenses as low as possible when on a super-tight budget. But in a way, opting for bargain-basement packaging is like buying low-quality, and low cost, paint for your home.
Sure, you can save a few bucks right now, but the cheap stuff doesn’t hold up to the elements well and you’ll need to repaint in a year or two. Spending a little more up front on quality paint translates into long-term savings because the good stuff can last for five or more years. In packaging, it’s the same way. Avoid “going cheap” just to save a few pennies out the outset.
- Uninformed Shopping: Whenever you shop without having all the information you need, the result is usually not good. That’s why it’s vital to learn how the packaging supply business works, what average prices are, which companies have excellent reputations, what typical terms of service are, and what common customer impressions are of packaging companies you’re thinking about working with.
- Not Communicating: Once you narrow your list of choices down to two or three packaging suppliers, speak with reps and clearly communicate your needs. Perhaps you’re looking for highly specialized, customized packaging. Or, maybe your company needs to do a few test runs with small quantities before choosing a design or material that performs well. The point is, whatever your particular needs, spell them out to packaging reps and find out how they can help you meet your goals.
- Opting for Big Names: Avoid choosing a supplier just because you’ve heard their name before or because they’re the largest seller in town, or in the country. What’s true in the automotive, cosmetics, soft drink, home supplies, and other sectors is true in packaging supplies: big does not equal excellent. And, a famous name does not guarantee good service or quality packaging supplies.
Finding a One-Stop Shop For Your Packaging Needs
Why not opt for a material supplier that offers a full lineup of services, professional guidance when you want it, long-term customer care, and a can-do attitude? Finding a partner in your quest for packaging solutions can take a while. That’s why it’s imperative to comparison shop, ask lots of questions, read reviews, and have several discussions with packaging pros before making a commitment.
At Mid-Atlantic Packaging you can take advantage of our one-stop convenience for all your packaging supply needs. We’ve been in the business for four decades, helping companies of all sizes get their packaging situation just right. Our staff members are always available to answer questions you have about your product and your company’s long-term needs.
Feel free to contact us via our website or simply give us a call at our direct, toll-free line, at (800) 284-1332. We look forward to hearing from you and finding out how we can be of service.