Proper packaging is a very important part of any product. The packaging is one of the most obvious things that separates a commercial product from other items. Everyone knows that a nice-looking package will help to attract the attention of potential buyers. However, you may not have considered the implications that your packaging choices can have on the supply side of your business.
What Is Supply Chain Management?
For those who might not be familiar with the term, let’s consider its meaning. Supply chain management is the art of maintaining an appropriate supply of sale goods at all times. This includes stocking, restocking, inventory management, shipping, interacting with suppliers, and the streamlining of supply-related activities in general.
How Does Packaging Affect Supply Chain Management?
Packaging can affect your supply operations in a number of ways. Let’s look at the most important of those factors since we don’t have the space to cover all of them.
If you are running a large store, you might have a lot of stock in storage. This is a good thing, as it makes you far less likely to run out of important items. At the same time, a large inventory can be very hard to manage. Product packaging can be very helpful in this regard, as it gives people a quick way to identify a given product. Thus, a more distinctive package is preferred.
Of course, these items will mostly be stored in boxes, and boxes are also considered to be packaging. Many products will be fitted with RFID chips to prevent theft, and these can double as identification devices. By scanning a certain box, you can find out what’s inside, and you don’t have to worry about opening the box or doing any guesswork. Barcoded labels can be used to accomplish the same goal.
While this may not be an issue for all retailers, some products can be dangerous if mishandled. For instance, some cleaning products (particularly drain openers) are made with very strong acids. These acids are highly effective at clearing drains, but also very dangerous if handled or stored improperly. Packaging for these products must always include plenty of warning labels so that inventory managers can be made aware of the danger and can take the appropriate precautions.
When packaging choices are made, you should remember that many people will need to handle these items. As such, it is helpful to make packages that are easy to carry and stack. An awkwardly-shaped package is more likely to be dropped and damaged. Not only that, but awkward packages can be hard to pack efficiently. Packages that are designed in awkward shapes will be harder to stack, and this will create more gaps in the box. Because of this, it is better to stick with simple shapes that are easy to handle.
Efficient Use Of Storage Space
Even if you have a lot of storage space, there are still limits. Sooner or later, you will reach that limit unless you manage your space efficiently. This is where efficient and size-appropriate packaging becomes important. For instance, you should avoid using blister packs in which the card is much bigger than the item. In most cases, that is just wasted space. Sure, it’s not a whole lot, but multiply it by the total number of items in your inventory, and you’ve got quite a bit of wasted space indeed!
Like the products they enclose, many packages have a certain shelf life. When these items are likely to be in storage for a while, you need to consider the longevity of their materials. Obviously, thin paper and plastic wrappings will be the least durable. For items that don’t stay in the stockroom for very long, this factor will not be a big deal. However, there are some items that just aren’t purchased as often, and these can sometimes sit in stockrooms for years. Thus, it is important to make sure that you choose materials that can last for a long time without rotting, yellowing, or otherwise degrading.
Most businesses have moved to the internet (to one degree or another), and your business is probably no exception. As such, your packaging choices need to reflect the amount of online business that you do. Items bought online do not need to have flashy packages, as the customer has already bought them on their own merits. However, they do need to have packages that are optimized for long-distance shipping. Some companies have created machines specifically for E-commerce packaging.
Every business has to worry about the risk of theft, and this risk doesn’t always come from the customers. In many cases, dark and secluded backrooms will tempt certain employees to steal. Good packaging can be very helpful in this regard because you can include all sorts of anti-theft devices. For instance, clothing items can be fitted with an ink tag while electronic devices might have an RFID chip or even a GPS tag. Packages that are tough to open are also helpful. The more time it takes for a thief to open the package, the better the chance of their being caught.
Choosing the right packaging is a deceptively complex matter. It may seem simple, but there are a lot of things that must be considered. We hope that we have given you a good introduction to this vast subject, or at least given you some food for thought. When you decide what sort of packaging you want to use for your products, you should always remember the supply side of the business.
So, let’s recap what we have learned. In general, you want packages that are:
- Easy to locate and identify
- Fitted with anti-theft devices
- Appropriately labeled (if hazardous)
- Easy to handle and carry
- Easy to stack
- Resistant to denting
- Sized in proportion to the product
- Made of durable and long-lasting materials
If you have found this guide to be helpful, we hope that you will fill out the contact form so that we can teach you even more.