Consolidating Design for Greener Packaging
Product manufacturers are always looking for ways to make their packaging greener, more efficient, and less costly.
Greener packaging is an important goal in all aspects of product creation, from how you receive parts from your vendors to how you package and ship to the store or consumer. Finding ways to consolidate and streamline your packaging is a smart and effective means to accomplish this goal.
More for Less
One aspect of consolidation involves being more efficient and strategic with the materials you have to use and eliminating the rest.
Atlantic’s protective packaging specialist, Norm Samuelson, is continually faced with challenges where a customer wants to reduce packing materials and possibly even reduce the total number of packages while still protecting the product. Norm calls on his creativity and engineering mind to come up with custom packaging designs that can accomplish this goal.
When a customer is shipping a large volume of parts to a manufacturer, Norm always looks for opportunities for consolidation. Using strategically placed supports, he may be able to fit more products into one single package. He’ll use ship tests to ensure that the products are safe and secure even without the extra padding and material.
If he can successfully consolidate the products, this would not only cut down on material costs but it would also pack more products into fewer cases. The customer can either transport a greater quantity in a single load if that’s their goal or they can cut down on shipping costs by reducing the overall size of the load while still getting the right number of products to their customer.
In essence, consolidation packs more product using fewer materials for lesser cost. This benefits the builder, the manufacturer, and our environment.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Another aspect of consolidation refers to the variety of materials we’re using. If we have a pack that includes corrugated, foam, plastic, and metal staples or nails, this is going to be much more difficult to break down and send out for recycling. Foam glued to corrugated can also be problematic for recycling.
If we can reduce the variety of materials used and be creative in how we separate parts while still ensuring their protection, we can positively impact the recyclability of the packaging.
In some cases, we have customers who want to reuse their packaging. For these cases, Norm will create a collapsible design that breaks down to a smaller, more efficient pack that’s easier and less expensive to transport back to the point of origin. This cuts down on transportation costs and material costs for the customer while creating a more sustainable supply chain.
Retail packaging has some heavy lifting to do. It has to protect the product, act as a billboard for the brand, and get your attention above all the competition on the shelf. If it can also be environmentally friendly, then that’s a bonus for everybody.
One way that Norm has helped clients achieve a more sustainable model for retail packaging is to use the same exterior box or container while redesigning the internal profile to accommodate a variety of items. This way, we’re achieving consistency in the outer layer to reduce production and supply costs and ensure that the cases can always be cubed on a pallet for efficient shipping. It’s a subtle but effective way to consolidate packaging materials headed for retail stores.
This type of consolidation is also a great strategy to apply in the beverage and health & beauty industries. Using labels or shrink sleeves for bottling and canning allows companies to buy in bulk and use only the materials needed for each variety. This cuts down supply costs and provides more flexibility in the production line.
Filling the Void
While bubble wrap, air pillows, and other void fill products are still essential protective components for many packagers, Norm and his team enjoy the challenge of designing elegant, efficient, environmentally-friendly packaging for customers shipping mass quantities or particularly unwieldy or sensitive products. He’s created packaging for windshields, windshield wipers, car bumpers, stainless steel counters, and engines among other things.
In all the challenges he’s faced with, there are four goals consistent with each: efficiency, sustainability, reduced costs, and product protection.
If you find yourself needing a creative, resourceful, and effective custom packaging job that achieves all of these elements, then we’ve got you covered.