Has your factory given you a free packaging upgrade?

Most brand owners rely on OEM factories to determine what packaging is to be used as they are the “expert” in picking the right packaging to protect the products.

It is also not uncommon for most brands to use multiple OEM factories in different locations, which means the brand could get different packaging from every factory. The outcomes can be poor quality packaging with inconsistencies that include the following:

  • Carton and product damage upon arrival at DC and/retail store
  • Package size too big for the product
  • Packaging dunnage and excessive inserts do not protect merchandise properly
  • Multiple size cartons for same style
  • Inconsistent case count quantities (units per carton)
  • Inconsistent quality across factory base

It’s a norm that OEM factory sourced cartons are bulky with inferior quality materials using double or even triple wall construction. In fact, most OEM factories would suggest to upgrade your carton to triple wall as the solution for product damage, as it provides “extra layers” for better protection.

Poor carton 2.jpg

This solution comes with a cost, which in most cases is absorbed by brand owners. The additional cost is not only the increased price for the carton, but can cost more for freight and handling charges due to a larger carton size and lower product density per carton / container which amounts to higher prices overall.

One of the things that I enjoy about working with our customers is helping them find a better packaging solution with improved performance and cost savings.

In reality, the OEM factories are set up to make products and are not experts in packaging. In many cases the OEM factory is sourcing a box from a third party and they are probably looking at low cost options to maintain their overall profit margins. When we work with our customers, we are focused on the packaging, how it fits to the product, how it flows through the supply chain, what specifications and paper grades will provide the best performance and cost effectiveness.

Below is a simple illustration of the impact on carton cubic meter volume by using single, double (assumed as current state) and triple wall cartons.

Carton comparison chart_Free upgrade blog.png

In this example, moving from a double-wall carton to a single-wall carton reduces the outside dimensions and cubic meter usage by 5.3%, per carton. It is this level of detail where we can suggest small changes that can make bigger impacts across the use of the packaging. On average, we provide a minimum of 15% reduction in freight costs, sometimes much more than that.

Poor carton 1.jpg

If a brand takes the free OEM factory upgrade, it could only solve part of the problem. That does nothing to address material inconsistency issues and putting more pressure toward the end of the supply chain in the DC, warehouse and retail stores. Without considering the paper grading and performance data, the problem is only shifted to other touch points, so brand owners need to be cautious when being offered an “upgrade.”

There are many ways to improve your packaging if you know where to look. It’s our job to help you find them.

Erica Chiang

Regional Account Manager

Shenzhen, China

+8675582074586 Erica.chiang@billerud.com

Erica Chiang is a Regional Account Manager and has over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing roles for printing and packaging. She has witnessed the evolution of packaging from mere protection and highly price sensitive to the current sustainability focused and total box price model. Throughout her career, Erica has had the pleasure meeting and serving customers including publishers, brand owners and retailers. She enjoys the process of listening to and understanding her customers challenges while her core competency relies with the ability to identify true needs and adept to offering the best matching solutions for maximum satisfactions.  

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If you are looking to improve your packaging, please get in touch and we'll connect you with someone who can help.