As retail and manufacturing evolves, the packaging industry is evolving with it. 

We’ve seen packaging move from simple boxes and envelopes to complex systems that enable products to move across the global supply chain. 

Well-designed, safe, and cost-effective packaging has become the mainstay of the industry, as is finding new ways to make packaging more efficient for better supply chain management. 

Source: PakFactory

Packaging plays an integral role in business supply chain management because it provides effective protection as products move from manufacturing to distribution channels. 

Packaging is not just about protection but also a way to distinguish from competitors in a crowded marketplace. 

It plays a central role in business identity and the supply chain management system overall. 

Packaging optimization for supply chains makes it easy for goods to move through the supply chain without damaging product integrity. 

We’ll explore the connection between packaging and supply chain in more detail in this article. 

The Considerations of Packaging in Supply Chain Management

Effective packaging in supply chain management needs to consider:

  • How the product is produced and what is the best type of packaging to transport it
  • The logistics of how products move from one part of the chain to other
  • The different environments the product will have to pass through
  • How the product will be marketed once it exits the supply chain and is distributed 

As you can see, there are a lot of different elements to fulfill with packaging, and packaging optimization for the supply chain needs to take each of these factors into consideration during the design process. 

The packaging needs to be durable enough to move through different environments and functions. 

But it must also be visually appealing from a marketing standpoint to attract more customers.

Example of packaging design
Source: PakFactory

Packaging is a vital protective layer that provides a high level of brand visibility for products. 

That’s why packaging optimization in the supply chain is beneficial for businesses since it allows for durability, storage, and marketing capabilities. 

Optimizing Packaging for Supply Chain Management

When designing packaging with the supply chain in mind, it’s not enough to consider external factors such as marketing. 

We also need to think about the market, flow, and environment of the supply chain itself to ensure the packaging is made with the right materials and designs.

With this in mind, it’s also essential to understand the supply chain itself and why these elements are so crucial: 

  1. Procurement: Purchasing raw materials to create packaging
  2. Material Management: Ensuing all the materials are available in the right quantity to manufacturing and production
  3. Manufacturing and Production: Production orders are put in, and manufacturing begins based on specific processes and timelines
  4. Order Management: All information relating to customer orders is brought together for fulfillment and processing
  5. Distribution: Coordinating orders, inventory, and warehouse management as products are delivered to customers. 

Some packaging elements that are considered include:

  • How the packaging is designed
  • Packaging specs
  • Communication
  • Ergonomic considerations

The flow aspect of packaging must think about packaging features that aid in making distribution easier. 

That means how packaging structures and materials fit together, time efficiency of packaging, and how it will be distributed, unpacked, disposed of, and/or returned. 

example of no glue packaging
Source: PakFactory

For example, opting for packaging styles that require no glue upon assembly makes packaging your product more time efficient yet still provides the support it needs for distribution and stocking. 

Optimizing Supply Chain Management for Packaging

As the supply chain becomes more robust, there has also been a greater focus on creating a more organized process for packaging and products. 

Enhanced labeling and traceability are essential alongside the other primary packaging considerations. 

We are moving towards packaging optimization at a rapid pace, which is why it’s so crucial for businesses to match that speed and ensure customers are getting the best value possible. 

Making products traceable in the supply chain means putting together various data points around inventory, transport, and manufacturing to create an overall picture of how the product goes from conception to distribution. 

For example, many supply chain management processes are now looking at barcode inspection software to effectively label products while also making them traceable. 

Sustainability also comes into play to minimize the environmental effects of the packaging. 

More retailers are looking for ways to optimize packaging across the supply chain while reducing environmental damage. 

Waste prevention and limiting the use of materials and processes also help to become more sustainable.

example of no glue packaging
Source: PakFactory

Having a deep understanding of the materials needed for packaging and ordering exact quantities helps streamline the process and reduce waste.

Others are considering creating lightweight packaging while still providing the protective elements needed as the product moves through the supply chain. 

In addition, decreasing the weight of packaging enables businesses to spend less on logistics and transport, and pass on these savings to their customers.

Consider different raw materials and their properties to develop the right packaging for your needs.

If in doubt, working with a packaging expert helps alleviate these concerns, and they can create genuinely optimized packaging solutions for more efficient supply chain management. 

Contact PakFactory today and start optimizing your packaging for more efficient supply chain management


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