Are you currently considering a new packaging company? Not sure which one might be right for you? Choosing the right packaging partner is an important decision. After all, depending on your market, your packaging may be just as important as your actual product. Like most big decisions, though, choosing a packaging partner often isn’t easy.
Part of the problem is that many packaging companies seem to offer the same set of solutions and benefits. They may have a roster of designers and engineers with extensive experience and knowledge. They might promise fast turnaround and the highest levels of product quality.
The truth is that any company can promise anything in conversation. You won’t really find out whether you’ve picked the right partner until the packaging work begins. If you choose the wrong partner, you may not realize it until it’s too late.
One of the most effective ways to choose a packaging company is to listen carefully to the questions they ask you. The best packaging companies are curious about your product, your market, and your business as a whole. They don’t just want to be your packaging provider; they want to be a trusted partner who helps you grow and reach your goals.
Below are a few of the questions our packaging consultants always ask when we establish a relationship with a new customer. These questions help us understand not only your packaging needs, but also your process and distribution needs.
Did your packaging company ask questions like these? If not, it may be time to consider other options.
What is your top priority/concern with your packaging?
Sometimes the answer to this question is obvious. You might have a fragile product that needs the utmost protection while in transit. We encounter this frequently, especially with our industrial customers. We recently worked with a power generation company whose product was sensitive to temperature. After fully exploring their needs, we were able to design a climate-controlled packaging process that offered full monitoring.
Other times, though, the number one concern isn’t quite so apparent. It may take some investigation to fully determine your needs. For example, we once worked with a consumer goods company that originally stated they needed an eye-catching and visually appealing package.
However, after researching their market a bit, we discovered that the biggest priority was likely transparency. Their customers wanted to actually see the product in the package before making a purchase. We were able to design a package that grabbed attention and gave a preview of the product.
It’s hard to make those discoveries if you’re not taking time to establish packaging goals and priorities. If your packaging partner isn’t asking this question, how can you be sure that your needs are being met?
Where does your product distribute from and where does it need to go?
This may not seem like an obvious packaging question, but it’s a critical part of the process. Packaging is probably the last stop before your product is distributed to customers. Thus, the location of your packaging process has a big impact on how quickly your product reaches its final destination.
Consider the following. Maybe, like many other businesses, you’ve decided to leverage the low-cost labor and cheap exchange rates that come with overseas manufacturing. That may very well be the best move for your business. However, it can also create packaging challenges.
Most overseas manufacturers have large order minimums and long lead times. Assume one of your retail partners asks for a last minute change to your packaging. That’s not uncommon when you work with big-box retailers. If you have an order in transit, you may not have enough time to get a new order from your manufacturer and have it repackaged. And your order that’s in transit may not have a home if it’s not accepted by your retail customer.
Of course, these same challenges can also arise with a domestic distribution points. There are several solutions. One is to have custom packaging equipment installed in your facility so you can quickly change out packaging on short notice.
Another option is to warehouse your inventory with your packaging partner. Then they can quickly package distribute your product in response to changing customer needs. With over 79 locations worldwide, Deufol is able to warehouse your products in a location that’s convenient for your distribution needs.
Do any of your customers ask for custom packaging on short notice?
If you work with big-box, large volume retailers, you’ve likely heard some version of this story before. Walmart decides they want certain colors highlighted during back-to-school season and they’re asking you to adjust your packaging. Or Target wants your packaging to fit in with their holiday promo displays. Or Home Depot has an opening for your product on endcaps next month, but you need to change your packaging to meet their specifications.
The benefits of working with these retailers are obvious, but the demands can sometimes be hard to meet. After all, your specialty is making your product, not catering to the packaging whims of Walmart’s marketing department.
The best packaging companies work to not only understand your needs, but also your customer’s. If your best customer is a big box store who frequently asks their preferred vendors to change their packaging, it’s going to be important for your packager to understand how that retailer operates.
We work with companies who are prominently displayed in nearly every high-volume retailer out there. We understand how they operate and we know the demands they make, so we’re able to design flexible packaging and distribution processes and systems to meet those needs.
When you’re examining packaging companies, don’t just evaluate what they’re telling you. Also examine what they’re asking you. The depth of the questions they ask will tell you how invested they are in your goals, your needs, and your outcomes. Look for a packaging company that’s curious about where you are as a business and where you want to go.