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Packaging Trend: REDUCE

Thursday, December 20, 2018

For most of us, a New Year brings a familiar Resolution:  DIET.  Lose excess pounds.

The same can be said to companies:It’s time to reduce excess material, labor, environmental waste and, ultimately, cost.  It’s time to reduce wasted warehouse space, wasted space inside boxes, wasted time.


How lean and efficient is the stretch film you are using?

 There are 3 grades of resin used in making both hand and machine film.  Butane produces a cheaper film in both price, quality and performance.  Metallocene produces ultra-high-performance film that is stronger, thinner and yields more stretch.    Many companies today are reducing gauge by buying the higher quality film.  While this film typically costs more per ounce, the extra stretch will allow companies to purchase and use a reduced amount of film.  The reduction in quantity purchased will vastly offset the increased price per roll, thus reducing the overall cost.  Yes, companies can simultaneously reduce the amount of film they use AND reduce their overall cost by buying the more expensive ultra-high-performance film.

What is your overall goal:  price savings per roll of film or overall cost savings?  Any successful diet requires a change in mindset.  A successful packaging diet focuses on both performance and overall cost, not just price per roll.



Labor cost typically averages 25 x the cost of tape.  So, another way to streamline production and reduce waste is to assess your labor cost, especially in labor-intensive situations.  For example, best-of-class tape sticks better to corrugated than standard tape.  While it may seem frugal to purchase standard tape, standard tape often requires 2 or 3 strips to do the job of 1 strip of best-of-class tape.  With standard tape, not only is tape being wasted and cost increasing 2 or 3 times the initial cost of the tape, but the time spent in applying the extra strips is exorbitant. The graphic below illustrates how the cost of tape is actually just the “tip of the iceberg” when assessing cost.   The “visible” cost of a roll of tape is dwarfed by the “invisible” cost of potential duplication of labor, production downtime in your plant, failure to ship product intact, replacement of damaged product, negative perception by your valued customer, or excess environmental waste from tape that failed to perform or product that failed to reach its end destination.


Some companies double-bag, believing their unique problem has no other solution.  Others will raise gauge, believing they must spend extra dollars on stronger bags.  Sometimes companies are unaware of possible cost-saving solutions which may actually allow you to reduce both the number of bags required and the gauge of those bags. 

Establishing a business relationship based on mutual trust can have a major impact on reducing a company’s material needs and bottom line cost.


One of the most exciting new products at PackExpo 2018 was on-demand machinery.  Whether purchased outright or simply rented during peak season, these machines allow customers to make product on-demand in the convenience of their own facility, control inventory, reduce warehouse space, reduce time waiting for supplies to arrive, and reduce stress.  In the case of corrugated boxes, they also reduce wasted space within the boxes and the need for void fill because they allow the customer to actually design boxes to their own specs. They feature changeover from one size/style to another in less than one minute, and can include printers, automatic glue application, window cut-outs or the ability to make handles, perforating knives, and even a multi-production module for side by side boxes production. On-demand machines that produce bubble wrap are equally intricate and diverse in what they allow customers the freedom to do. These machines are ideal for companies with seasonal fluctuations, but they certainly allow all companies to reduce wasted space, material, time and money.