Finding new ways to reduce your packaging costs might, at first sight, seem pretty obvious. Your first thought might be to simply order boxes at a cheaper price point, or perhaps switch to a narrower tape. While these changes may seem logical and a quick and easy fix, chances are you will find your costs start to increase further down the line: your new, cheaper boxes will probably be less robust and so more likely to be damaged in transit; your narrower tape means that instead of one strip of tape to seal a box, two, or even three, are now required, adding to production time and creating a false economy.

Often, the real answers to reducing your packaging costs can be much more subtle. Ask yourself the following five questions:

1. Are you using the right box design?

Making slight changes to the structure of the boxes you are using can make a real difference in reducing the cost of your packaging. For example, one of our customers achieved a cost saving of 5% by switching their standard packaging boxes to a crash lock bottom alternative that is quicker and easier to assemble

2. Could you utilise stock-holding services?

As your business grows, you might look to increase your storage capacity to accommodate more stock and more packaging materials, all of which will cost you more money that you could have used elsewhere. Rather than reduce your costs by buying cheaper packaging materials, why not utilise a stock holding service? That’s what one of our customers did. By holding their packaging stock in a local distribution warehouse, which allowed them to call off stock upon request, the customer was able to reduce their warehouse size by 20% and save approximately £30K a year on rental costs alone.

3. Have you considered custom tape?

While keeping packaging costs low is important, so too is ensuring the security of your parcels. Using a custom packaging tape instead of standard tape is a simple yet effective way to ensure your parcels reach their destination untampered. Since introducing a custom packaging tape to their operation, one of our customers has reduced their parcel losses to zero. The small investment required to create their customised tape is projected to save the company nearly £4,000 per annum as well as eliminating time spent tracking down missing items.

4. Are you using too much packaging material?

A lot of companies don’t realise they are using more packaging material than they need to. Not only does this mean they are overspending on packaging materials, it can also frustrate the customer. We have one client who was using three strips of tape to seal a box. By changing their tape to a wider alternative, they were able to cut down to one strip, shrinking their tape usage by over 30% and reducing the amount of time it takes the packer to apply the tape.

5. Could high performance packaging materials save you money?

You might dismiss high performance packaging materials as an unnecessary luxury. Although they may seem more expensive, high performance packaging materials are often a more cost-effective option. This is what one of our customers found when they switched to a high performance stretch film. Because the film stretches further, the roll goes further. It’s also stronger to prevent rips and tears that can lead to material being wasted. Following a film audit with the client, we were able to help them make a 70% cost saving on their film, freeing up money for them to invest in a new pallet wrapper.

So, when you’re looking at packaging cost reduction ideas, the seemingly obvious solutions might not always be the best. Asking yourself the above five questions will ensure you spend and save in the right areas – sometimes it pays to spend a little more on your packaging materials in order to make bigger cost savings that will improve your bottom line. Find out more in our Coffee Break Guide: Solutions to reduce your packaging costs.