The upsurge of global trade, multiplied by electronic commerce, has increased the transportation of goods to unprecedented levels. There is a rising number of companies whose business model focuses on product shipping, and one of the keys to their success lies in an often-ignored factor: attaining an optimized packaging that sets them apart.

 

What is packaging optimization?

Packaging optimization consists of a series of processes by which it is possible to find the right packaging design for the goods to be transported and the chosen route.

An optimized packaging must therefore strike a balance between safety and cost reduction in order to guarantee a stable and safe shipping & handling, while being eye-catching when arriving in perfect conditions to the customer’s doorstep.

This process can be applied to all levels of packaging:

  • An optimized primary packaging, which is the one that usually gets to the end user, must use the necessary amount of packaging material to protect the product it contains.
  • The optimization of secondary and tertiary packaging will be essential in guaranteeing the goods’ protection during their transportation, avoiding over-packaging and under-packaging.

In summary, having an optimized packaging design depends on defining the size, the materials to be used, designing the structure of the package and testing it to verify whether it complies with safety criteria.

This last step focuses on the simulation of hazards that might compromise the integrity of the loads during the distribution cycle (vibrations, shock, crushing, etc.) with the purpose of evaluating their performance and resistance. In this context, transport simulation machines allow companies to simulate these forces under laboratory conditions and design an optimized packaging that can withstand the distribution cycle.

 

Discover how to attain an optimized packaging by increasing sustainability and safety while reducing your costs

 

Benefits of an optimized packaging

Cargo safety

An optimized packaging is synonymous of a package that guarantees the safety of the goods that it carries. This, in addition to guaranteeing the safety of all actors involved in the distribution cycle all the way to the end customer.

 

Economic savings

Attaining an optimized packaging through an adequate packaging design implies, on one hand, adjusting the size and weight of the package. This allows for major cost savings, since the space required to transport the load in the chosen means of transportation is reduced.

In this regard, we can mention IKEA as a paradigmatic example: in 2015 they redesigned the packaging of one of their products, reducing its volume by 50%, which translates into the use of approximately 7,000 less trucks and savings for 1.2 million euros per year, as informed by the Wall Street Journal.

Studying and testing your product packaging enables you to use the right amount of materials, as well as the right components for each product and distribution cycle.

This results in a safer packaging and improves the load stability, significantly eliminating economic losses due to shrinkage during transportation.

A damaged product has a direct consequence on costs, since the cost of replacing it could be up to 17 times the shipping cost, according to information published in Packaging World.

Moreover, an optimized packaging can simplify packing processes, which reduces man hours and machine operation hours while eliminating costs.

 

Environmental sustainability

Developing an optimized product packaging design allows material used to be reduced, which in turn results in less packaging-related waste.

In addition, packaging optimization helps reduce the greenhouse gases generated during production and transportation and leads to less squandering of resources, less waste to be recycled and less energy use.

Likewise, companies are starting to incorporate new sustainable materials that adequately protect the product while being recyclable, biodegradable and/or compostable to reduce their impact as much as possible.

 

Compliance with regulations and standards

The growth of global trade has led to the emergence of international standards and government regulations that regulate distribution within the supply chain.

Testing aimed at attaining an optimized packaging also addresses these standards & regulations, based on the types of goods being transported or the selected transportation method. 

As an example, we could mention Directive 2014/47/EU, which establishes a series of guidelines to improve safety in road transportation across the European territory and ensure cargo stability. This directive includes the EUMOS 40509 testing method on cargo securement.

 

Marketing

Research surrounding packaging optimization can enable the development of an innovative packaging design that not only guarantees the safety of the goods but also makes the product and its branding stand out. 

In this way, packaging can become an important factor that motivates the consumer’s purchasing decision, since it does not only provide the customer with information but also differentiates the product and generates a narrative around the brand. 

In addition, engaging in research related to load safety during transportation implies that the goods will arrive at the end customers in good condition, ensuring their satisfaction and gaining their loyalty.

Lastly, working on optimization with the purpose of achieving an eco-friendly packaging is aligned with current-day customer expectations, who demand companies to work toward sustainability. 

 

Find out what tertiary packaging is, and how to optimize it

 

Who can benefit from an optimized packaging

The economic savings and other benefits of packaging optimization are beneficial to any company whose business model is related to packaging, whether packaging manufacturers or retail, e-commerce, logistics or product transportation companies.

Furthermore, attaining an optimized packaging guarantees maximum efficiency and safety in all processes for all those involved in the distribution cycle. 

Among them, we could mention those used in the transportation and commercialization of particularly sensitive products, such as pharmaceutical and food packaging

Do you want to know more about how to attain an optimized packaging? At Safe Load Testing Technologies we have a track record of two decades in packaging-related transportation simulation. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you.

Load stability guide