How to Save Money on Packaging without Sacrificing Quality

January 31, 2024

Optimizing packaging costs without compromising quality is critical for businesses in today's competitive market. So, how can you find the right balance between cost and quality in packaging?

In this article, you will learn about SmartShield's innovative approaches to custom packaging, helping businesses save money while maintaining high-quality standards.

Are you ready to transform your business’s approach to saving costs without sacrificing the safety of your products?


Revising Your Packaging Process for Efficiency and Savings

Aside from economies of scale, there are other ways to improve your packaging efficiency and cost savings. This starts with a full review of your packaging process. Here’s our approach at SmartShield Packaging:

Analyzing Your Packaging Processes:

The first step involves thoroughly examining your existing packaging processes. Our packaging designers will identify areas where time and resources are being unnecessarily expended.

Here’s a list of questions that guide our analysis:

  • How are products currently being packaged?
  • What packaging materials are being used? 
  • Which packaging materials alternatives can help reduce costs?
  • Are there any compliance requirements or regulations to consider?
  • How important are branding and the overall unpacking experience?

Is your packaging process costing you time and money?


Get in touch for a free review of your entire process to understand where time and labour are wasted. Plus, suggestions on materials to reduce your overall packaging costs — without sacrificing quality!



Designing a Customized Packaging Solution:

After the initial analysis, our designers will create a tailored packaging solution that addresses any inefficiencies and issues.

To put this into perspective, here are three real cases where we reduced costs for our clients:

1. Corrugate boxes with custom-fitted partitions:

  • Before: A client was individually wrapping 80 parts in paper and placing them haphazardly into a cardboard box.
  • After: We designed a custom-fitted cardboard box with partitions, similar to a case of beer, allowing parts to slide into the box with proper protection. 
  • Outcome: Reduced costs on labour, elimination of excess void fill waste.

2. Switching from manually strapping boxes to an automatic strapping machine:

  • Before: A client took up to 1.5 minutes per box to apply strapping with a manual tensioner, this also resulted in inconsistencies and occasional mistakes due to human error. 
  • After: We supplied an automatic strapping machine for $1,500, allowing them to strap boxes consistently in 5 seconds.
  • Outcome: Improved packaging process and significantly lower labour costs.

3. Changing packaging materials:

  • Before: A client was using polyethylene foam for their products. This is similar to a pool noodle. Polyethylene is resilient, recyclable, and great for impact resistance – but it's often much more expensive to produce. 
  • After: We provided a polystyrene alternative, which helped cut costs by 60% while maintaining the same protective qualities they required.
  • Outcome: Reduced overall packaging costs.

These are just a few cases where we can reduce packaging costs while ensuring that products are protected. Every project is different, and you can't always swap from one material to save money on packaging.


Leveraging Economies of Scale

The concept of economies of scale plays a pivotal role in reducing packaging costs. When you increase your order quantity, the per-unit cost diminishes significantly. This principle is akin to buying in bulk at a wholesale store: the more you buy, the less you pay for each item.

To illustrate, let's consider a simple analogy. Imagine purchasing a single bottle of water versus a pack of 24 bottles. A single bottle might cost $1, but the price for a 24-pack at Walmart goes as low as $2.97. This equates to $0.02 per litre or $0.12 cents per bottle. This same logic applies to packaging materials. By ordering larger quantities, you can reduce the per-unit cost substantially.

In practice, this approach manifests in various ways:

  • Bulk purchasing of materials like cardboard or plastic reduces the cost per sheet or roll.
  • Production efficiencies are gained as machinery and labour is better utilized over larger runs, decreasing the cost per unit.
  • Savings in logistics, as shipping a larger quantity together is often more cost-effective than multiple smaller shipments.

For example, a company ordering 10,000 boxes might pay 20% less per box than 1,000 boxes. This saving arises from the reduced cost of manufacturing and shipping a larger quantity at once.

SmartShield leverages these economies of scale by encouraging clients to order in bulk, ensuring they save money and maintain consistency in packaging quality. This strategy is especially effective for businesses with predictable packaging needs, allowing them to stockpile and use materials as needed without the frequent reordering costs.


Tips for Cost-Effective Packaging

Choosing the right packaging company for your packaging can significantly impact both costs and efficiency. Here’s how you can determine the best approach:

Prioritize Customer Experience and Unpacking:

First, consider the unpacking experience you want for your customers. Your packaging isn't just about protection and cost; it's also part of your brand experience. Tailor your packaging to align with these priorities, ensuring your customers receive your products while making a good impression.

For example, you might choose non-printed, generic-sized boxes for internal logistics, reserving custom, branded packaging for consumer-facing products. Here’s how to keep costs low for a custom branded experience

  • Full Colour vs. Non-Printed Packaging: While full-colour printing can enhance brand visibility and appeal, it also adds to the cost. Non-printed packaging, or using minimal printing, can significantly reduce expenses. 
  • Generic Sizing: Opting for standard, generic sizes can be more economical than custom sizes. It allows for better utilization of materials, leading to lower costs. SmartShield has a range of standard sizes that fit most products, enabling cost reductions through standardized production processes.

Adapt to Order Quantities:

The quantity of your order can greatly influence the choice of manufacturing method. For smaller quantities, methods like waterjet or CNC cutting might be more cost-effective as they avoid additional fees for dies. For larger orders, consider more scalable methods.

  • Die Cutting is cost-effective for large runs due to its speed and efficiency. It's ideal for consistent, high-volume orders, offering precise cuts and faster production times.
  • CNC (Computer Numerical Control) cutting provides unparalleled precision. It's perfect for complex shapes and designs, especially in smaller quantities where the setup cost of die-cutting isn't justified.
  • Water Jet Cutting excels in versatility, cutting through a wide range of materials without heat, thus preventing material warping. It’s ideal for intricate designs and materials sensitive to high temperatures.

Consider Timeline Constraints:

If you're under time constraints, the speed of the manufacturing process becomes crucial. Getting dies made, for instance, can be time-consuming. Its best to evaluate your timeline and choose a method that balances speed, cost-effectiveness, and quality.

SmartShield: Packaging Done Right

SmartShield champions cost-effective packaging solutions. Whether swapping materials for cheaper alternatives or reimagining your packaging process, we can help you save money without sacrificing the quality and appeal of your packaging.

Contact us for more information on packaging optimization and custom design.

Article written by SmartShield