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Packaging—More Than Aesthetics

By: Elizabeth Abrams
Posted: November 9, 2009, from the November 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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To illustrate how design can reduce materials, Alcan Packaging Beauty markets three types of lightweight tubes that are also eco-friendly. One of them, Access Denied, dispenses lotion/cleanser and has a tear-off band integrated into the cap. Its tamper-resistant design eliminates the need for a shrink sleeve.

Also keep in mind that retooling packaging to be more sustainable is both a new marketing tool and a surefire way to please retailers. Wal-Mart Stores’ Sustainable Packaging Scorecard has been around since 2006, and the world’s largest retailer has also announced its Sustainability Product Index, emphasizing material efficiency and reducing energy costs. If you pack more goods onto a pallet with less packaging and reduced waste disposal, there is a clear opportunity to enhance your relationship with retailers.

For example, Dallas-based Advanced Beauty Systems (ABS), a manufacturer of beauty products, continuously researches ways to improve packaging as a result of both the need to comply with packaging regulations in several countries and the requirement by some retailers to transition from both inner and outer packs to a pack-and-a-half approach—according to Kyle Caperton, the company’s senior operations analyst. In July 2009, the company replaced the traditional inner pack box structure with shrink wrap in its 12-, 24- and 36-packs of body cream and body spray. While the change was made to ensure boxes could break down according to retailer standards, the side benefits have materialized to include better optimized freight.

“That’s allowed us to go with a smaller shipper,” said Caperton. “We are able to pack more into a smaller box, and so we can get more on a pallet—and that helps with shipping and warehousing.”

Find an Expert Provider

After all the work you put in to making your packaging durable, lightweight and attractive to the consumer, the last thing you need is a logistics provider with little to no experience shipping products such as yours. Instead of relying on your shipping department to call around for the best quote, consider outsourcing to a logistics provider whose existing relationships with carriers produce lower shipping costs and whose experience with your type of product ensures fewer damages.