You develop a high-quality product that fills an important need in your market. You implement a production process that delivers quick turnaround times and protects your margins. All the pieces are in place to have a high level of success.
All the pieces, that is, except your packaging. It may seem like a simple finishing step, but packaging has the potential to make or break your success. It can impact quality, costs, delivery times, and even your risk exposure. High-quality and efficiently-produced packaging can enhance your success. Poorly designed packaging can sink your chances.
The outcome of your packaging process is usually determined on the front end, during the design and engineering phase. A skilled engineer who understands your goals, needs, and limitations can create a design that enhances quality and minimizes costs and risk exposure.
Of course, the real challenge is in finding the right engineer. You could hire one in-house. That may be an appealing option, as it gives you a full-time resource who is readily available to handle any and all packaging challenges. Since they’re a part of your team, they’ll be able to create the right design specifically for your product. However, there are reasons why hiring an in-house engineer may not be the right course of action.
The alternative is to partner with an outside company who can provide packaging engineering services specifically for your needs. Below are a few reasons why outsourcing is often a preferable option to hiring an in-house engineer. If you’re currently looking for a packaging engineer, you may want to explore outsourcing before you start the hiring process.
1. An outsourcing partner already has the talent, experience, and knowledge you need.
Let’s face it: Filling an open position is never easy. But it’s even more difficult when the position you’re trying to fill requires a unique skillset. The supply pool for experienced packaging engineers isn’t very big. Throw in limitations like geography and compensation requirements, and you might be hiring from a small or maybe even nonexistent pool.
By outsourcing to packaging engineering firm, you can skip the recruiting and hiring process altogether. Your outsourcing partner will have an existing team in place that you can leverage. They’ve likely worked on projects like yours and can anticipate challenges and complications that you may not have even thought of. You save the time and money associated with recruiting and hiring a full-time employee, but you also access a resource that may be better suited for your goals than anyone you could hire.
This is especially helpful if you outsource to a company that has a wide range of experience within your industry or with your specific challenge. They’ve likely accumulated experience and knowledge from previous projects and other manufacturers. You benefit from that aggregate wisdom, as your partner can fall back on previous experience and lessons learned to help you achieve your objectives.
2. You also outsource liability and risk.
An in-house packaging engineer may allow you to own the entire process. However, when you own the whole process, you also own the results, for better or worse. If a package is made with subpar quality and your product is damaged in transit, it’s your responsibility. After all, you’re the one who designed and produced the package.
Your partner can fall back on previous experience and lessons learned to help you achieve your objectives.
When you work with a packaging engineer, you may be able to share some of that risk. They design the package. They might design the packaging production process. They may even handle the actual production itself. If there’s an error on their end, it will likely be their liability, not yours.
This can be especially important in instances where a quality defect could lead to regulatory issues or even litigation. An experienced packaging engineer should have a risk management plan in place and possibly insurance to manage the risk. You minimize your exposure to packaging-related quality risk and improve your odds for success.
3. You avoid a long-term commitment.
Right now, you may have an urgent full-time need for a packaging engineer because you need to get your packaging process up and running. But will you still need a full-time engineer after the initial design work is complete? What if the engineer designs an automated process that requires little hands-on involvement? What role will the engineer fill at that point?
One of the great benefits of outsourcing is that it provides flexibility. You can invest in labor and support when you have work available, but you’re not tied to a full-time salary and benefits package when the work is complete.
A packaging engineering partner can address work as it arises. You may need substantial help now with designing a package and implementing a process. After that phase, you may only need occasional support to address new issues or challenges. You decide when you want invest money and resources into packaging engineering, and you’re not tied to a full-time high-level salary.
Before you start searching for an experienced packaging engineer, consider interviewing outside firms with whom you can partner. Look for a firm that has experience in your industry and with similar types of projects. You may find that outsourcing is the better path for you.