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Pack It In—A New Look at Packaging

By: Elizabeth Boch
Posted: November 5, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Retailers want shorter lead times and decreased in-stocks. Brands want greater visibility and reduced costs. Finding a provider that works with both supply chain partners is a clear benefit.

Many brand owners are now outsourcing their logistics solutions to take advantage of volume pricing and supply chain expertise. A number of providers—including CaseStack, Hanson Logistics and Millard—have implemented innovative solutions such as retailer consolidation programs to cut costs and increase efficiency, the two most important issues in today’s market.

In this type of program, your product is combined with other products all ordered by a retailer in a master purchase order. Your products are stored in the same warehouse as the others, so your would-be less-than-truckload (LTL) order is shipped on a full truck, providing you truckload pricing instead of steep LTL rates. On-time performance increases 20%, lead times shorten and damages decrease. Transportation costs go down 20–60%.The resulting savings can be applied to shelf price, demonstrating to the consumer that the brand is dedicated in reducing excess and passing the savings on to them.

Dan Sanker, CEO of CaseStack, explains, “Changes in the status quo breed change, and when you join a consolidation program, [the logistics supplier] works with the retailer on your behalf.” On-time performance improves, costs are reduced and millions of pounds of carbon emissions are taken out of the equation.

Consumers want brand owners to do more with less and show they have a personal stake in their product’s life cycle. Nowhere is that more effectively communicated than in your packaging. Approach it from both an aesthetic and functional perspective, consider how that product gets on the shelf and your newest marketing initiative has the potential to both increase sales and drop operational costs.