The role of packaging in supply chain management

Proper supply chain management starts with creating the right packaging. Packaging plays a key role in cost control, risk reduction and continuous improvement to achieve sustainability goals, but we generally do not give it the importance it deserves, treating it only as a complement.

Industrial packaging is a determining factor in the entire supply chain and an appropriate solution can contribute to the success of your business, at the logistics level. It is therefore important to take some time to find the appropriate packaging, as it can directly influence some aspects such as:

  • The costs of shipping and storage, which can be increased or reduced according to the packaging. For example, foldable packaging will help reduce empty space, or multi-stackable packaging can help you fit more units into a smaller space without compromising on the contents.
    The protection of products or parts. For this, tailor-made packaging solutions can help transport as many parts as possible in excellent condition, so as to reduce risks due to movement or breakages.
  • The environmental impact, with corrugated cardboard packaging or reusable packaging being two options for achieving sustainability goals.

These are just a few examples and, at any given time, the appropriate solution will depend on the needs of each project. Despite all this, sometimes it is not given the attention it deserves. Let's see how packaging can help improve supply chain management?

Cost reduction

Packaging optimised for each logistic chain can constitute a saving in storage space both in your warehouse and in that of your client or retailers; as well as a saving in terms of transport logistics. To do this, it is important to know how to organise the goods in the warehouse in the best way and analyse the means of transport that should be used, as well as having the right design. Options such as folding and stackable packaging can be two industrial packaging solutions to improve this aspect.

In addition, good palletisation will facilitate correct loading - on the truck, plane or boat, for example - and guarantee the safety of the goods, so as to avoid the cost of damage or breakages.

Especially when it comes to exports, the weight of the packaging is even more important, as there can be thousands or hundreds of thousands of additional shipping costs every year. For this, corrugated cardboard industrial packaging solutions can be a cost saving solution because of the reduced weight while maintaining the necessary strength.

It may not seem like it, but the handling of packaging by operators and their experience can help a lot in optimising resources. If the packaging is optimised, its handling will be much simpler, so that less working time is required and a significant saving in terms of efficiency.

Risk control

In this sense, the use of bespoke packaging optimised for your supply chain not only constitutes a saving, but also a reduction of risks. For example, you avoid the use of filling materials to prevent the movement of goods and you optimise the space available to store as many products as possible in excellent condition.

Are the products to be transported really fragile? It seems a simple question, but it is often overlooked. Reducing the risk of breakage is important, but often unnecessary packaging is chosen - too much packaging and additional materials are used - with the idea that they are protecting the products. Less can be more. So unless you are actually transporting very fragile goods, you probably have scope to optimise packaging to reduce costs and control risk.


Sustainability goals

The costs related to using the wrong industrial packaging are evident when it comes to shipping, storage and breakages, but there are also other costs that need to be considered. The waste generated by packaging can be high, as well as the associated expenses. The more waste generated, the higher the expense of disposal in the supply chain. Therefore, this is an additional cost for the company and for the environment.

Consumer perception is fundamental to the success of any company, so environmental issues are a very important factor to be taken into account. Sustainability is the order of the day, and even more so when it comes to packaging.

Choosing recycled and/or recyclable packaging, as well as reusable packaging, is always a good decision. Not only because of the responsibility that companies should have to protect the environment, but also because they also constitute a saving of raw materials and/or generate less waste thanks to their reuse.

The use of excessive packaging is one of the main and most common mistakes that not only increases shipping costs but also generates an increase in waste.

Supply chain optimisation should start with a "less is more" approach: less storage space occupied by packaging, less empty spaces, less waste. The next question is: what can we do to optimise packaging? Contact us to have our specialist industrial packaging engineering team analyse your project.