Packaging has many functions, but the primary purpose is to preserve, protect and enable the distribution of the product to the target destination. Good packaging is also informative, practical, and optimized from an economic point of view.
Good packaging enables economical handling, transportation, and storage of goods. In addition, good packaging considers the vast number of requirements originating from external factors such as laws and regulations, environment and climate, transportation, production, and consumers.
Good packaging can lead to an enhanced customer experience. For this purpose, custom printed packaging is utilized to satisfy the customers and brand to get identity.
Priority between different packaging functions varies depending on which part of the supply chain is in question, and preferences also vary based on product type, product cost, environment, customer, and modes of transportation. For example, sheet metal parts and electronic components require different levels of protection during transportation
Protection and preservation
Brands give priority to product protection. Therefore, they need to secure goods from physical, chemical, climatic, and biological stresses.
However, it is vital to note that over-packaging is not healthy for any brand and customers as it causes waste. Ideally, packaging should indicate if it has been opened or handled unauthorized and if goods inside are contaminated or damaged.
Physical stresses include vibration, compression, impacts, drops, and other external pressures that can cause damage during transportation, storage, or even usage of the goods.
Chemical stresses include oxygen and sunlight. Chemical stresses mainly impact groceries and other spoiling goods. However, there are some goods whose properties may change or degrade due to exposure to chemical stresses over time (e.g., plastics).
Climatic stresses include humidity, temperature, air pressure, UV radiation, and corrosion. For example, sophisticated electronics can be vulnerable to moisture during transportation and storage.
Biological stresses include bacteria, bugs, smells, and mold
Package design and construction should consider the packaging process used for packing the goods into packages. Other related methods also need to be considered, such as manual or robotic packing, because manual or automated storage requires different features.
Nevertheless, packaging should provide the necessary information for identification, tracing, and handling throughout its supply chain to enable efficient logistics. Packaging should be portable, easy to open and operate.
Taking the goods inside should be easy and practical. Depending on the type of goods, packaging should be resealable and provide enough information about the contents and disposal of the packaging
Providing information and communication
Packages need to have necessary information and markings on them so that the supply chain can function correctly and efficiently. Package markings include markings required by legislation and standards, and markings are essential for handling, transporting, and recycling the packaging. In contrast, shipment labels have information about the sender, receiver, and goods.
Packages can support marketing by being recognizable and good-looking for end users. Packaging can play a vital part in enhancing brand image and ensuring the originality of the product. It gives preliminary information about the product and its characteristics and has storage, usage, or maintenance instruction.
Safety and security Packaging can ensure product safety so that it is possible for the end-user to see already from the packaging if goods inside can be damaged. However, packaging must also be safe to handle, transport, and open.
Therefore, it is essential to have adequate handling and warning marks so that handling can be done with appropriate caution throughout logistics. Packaging and its quality also need to be consistent so that they wouldn’t create unexpected dangers from, e.g., breaking up or coming loose.
The three levels of packaging Packaging units can be divided hierarchically into three levels based on their roles
• Primary packaging (closest to product)
o Consumption unit
o Sales unit
• Secondary packaging (combines primary packages)
o Delivery unit/multi-pack
o Order preparation units
• Tertiary packaging (combines secondary packages into easy move unit)
o unit loads
o transport packages
It should be noted that not all products and shipments use all three levels of packaging, and therefore in many cases, one packaging level also provides functions of other levels.
Environment and sustainability Packaging should minimize the number of materials used in the packaging, waste and reduce the energy required to make the packaging. In addition, its manufacturing should aim to enable packaging’s reuse, recycling, or utilization as energy after use.
Under- or overpackaging affects both on sustainability and cost-efficiency of the packaging. However, Overpackaging creates unnecessary waste, especially if done with non-green 42 packagings such as PE plastics or Styrofoam and energy used from fossil fuel.
On the other hand, underpackaging causes, even more waste and negative environmental impacts if it results in product damage during transportation, requiring new replacement products to be sent together with new packaging
Suppose products create environmental waste than their packaging when the whole lifecycle is considered. In that case, harmful effects from underpackaging can be, and usually are, multiple times more severe than effects from overpackaging.
It is crucial yet challenging to find a good balance between these. Generally, when designing packaging, attention should be given to the following environmental points.
• Packaging is made and tested according to standards
• Alternative materials have been evaluated
• Resulting waste has been minimized
• Reuse possibilities of the packaging
Many countries have different rules for their packaging’s. Still, when we eye on custom packaging manufacturers usa, they keep their packaging maintenance so well, which is famous globally and has set a benchmark for others.
It would be justified to give more attention to packaging design, its relationship and significance for the whole target audience, and especially the transportation processes during the supply chain
However, it seems that viewing packaging as an integral core part of value steams, production efficiency, and customer value is not a widespread and emphasized issue.
Products should be designed so that packaging is already considered in the design phase so that the most optimized supply chain model and cost levels can be made. Therefore, it will make the packaging more vulnerable and consistent in the market, which will enhance consumer numbers and brand promotion.