You need a packaging partner for your industrial products, and there’s no shortage of suppliers to choose from. There’s a problem, though. You don’t know what makes one supplier better than the others. They all seem to offer the same thing - crating, shipping, packing. How do you tell which packaging supplier is right for you?
The truth is there are very real differentiators in the industrial packaging world. Consider that your industrial packaging partner may be the last person who handles your product before it’s shipped to the customer. They play a critical role in your process, and their performance can have a substantial impact on your product quality, your cost efficiency, and your ability to meet customer deadlines.
So how do you tell which industrial packaging supplier is the best fit for your company? What questions should you ask? Below are three good questions you can use to start the conversation.
Do they provide standard options or custom solutions?
Industrial packaging companies come in a few different flavors. There are some that offer standard container options. The options are often wooden crates, but they could be made of metal or other materials. With these types of suppliers, you often have to choose one of their options, even if it isn’t the perfect option for your product.
Other packaging companies offer custom solutions. They have engineers on staff who work with you to determine your precise needs and objectives. They then design a packaging and even a process to meet your unique goals. Some custom packaging companies even have in-house machine shops to custom build any equipment that may be needed to package your product
Custom packaging could help you reduce costs and improve your efficiency. For instance, a custom packager may be able to create a process that utilizes more automation, thereby reducing your labor costs. The custom packaging also may do a better job of ensuring quality, reducing your need for duplicate shipments because of product defects.
An industrial packager that offers standard wood crate sizes may have lower prices. However, there’s more to packaging costs than just the price of the package. Also consider efficiency and quality assurance in your packaging process.
How transparent is their process?
Your product leaves your facility to go to industrial packaging partner. Then what? How long does it take to get packaged? When does it leave the packager’s facility? When can your customer expect to receive it?
With many industrial packaging companies, the only way you might get these answers is by picking up the phone and calling them. You don’t have time for that, especially if you need to track down multiple products and shipments.
Other packagers may leverage technology to provide a transparent view into the entire packaging and distribution process. For instance, they may use scanning labels on each product or container. The label is scanned as it moves through each station, and the technology integrates with your own software. You then get all the information you need with just a few clicks.
Before you choose an industrial packaging partner, be sure to ask about the investments they’ve made into technology and how those investments can help you and your customers. The best packaging partners are those who are continually improving to help you be more successful.
How can they help you optimize your supply chain?
Some packaging companies are simply that - packaging companies. You send them your product and they package it and ship it to your customers.
Others, however, offer a more robust solution to not only package your products, but also optimize your supply chain. For instance, perhaps you not only need help with packaging your own products, but also managing the inflow of parts and materials from your vendors.
Some packaging companies can actually work with your vendors to create packaging that meets your quality standards. They can then handle logistics, check the materials into your facility, and even make sure it’s delivered to the correct workstation.
Or you may need parts and materials shipped to your customer for an onsite install. You may find a packaging partner who can coordinate shipment and delivery of all those parts to the job site. You can have confidence that your parts will be there, and you and your team can focus on what you do best.
Industrial packaging is about much more than just building crates. The right industrial packaging partner can help you protect your quality, boost your efficiency, and optimize your processes. Take the time to do your due diligence and make sure you choose the right partner for your company and your customers.