Many brand managers are aware of the branding, marketing and image possibilities that custom packaging presents.
But to many of those brand managers, custom packaging is also a cost. Businesses that rely on custom packaging want to do so while keeping costs down without sacrificing performance.
Value-engineered packaging, a concept that solves this problem, is a solution that’s all too often overlooked.
What exactly is value-engineered packaging?
Value-engineered packaging is the process of designing a packaging solution from the ground up for a specific product or products. The direct benefits include less waste, improved security, and better branding, while in-direct benefits include more space on warehouse shelves, improved fulfilment and lower packaging weights.
Packaging isn’t always a box
Value engineering your packaging may mean using an entirely different product than the one you are now.
Standardised letterbox boxes might be your go-to solution, but do you really need a box at all? Swap a rigid cardboard box for something like a lightweight paper mailing bag or another form of durable postage bag.
Designing packaging from the ground up often means challenging the status quo – which, in most packaging cases, is a thick, heavy box.
The benefits of value-engineered packaging
Being able to cater to your specific operational needs, as you just saw, is one of the giant benefits of value engineering your packaging design.
But there are plenty more benefits to creating some fancy packaging.
Build a better image
Ikea, a global corporation based on leveraging the scales of economy sells their standard four-pack of drinking glasses like this:
Whereas a high-end brand that creates whiskey glasses dedicated to creating an experience around the drink offers their glasses in packaging like this:
Value-engineered packaging reflects how you, the business owner, feel about your own brand identity and what values you present to your customers.
You didn’t have to create packaging from the ground up, but you did.
The statement that such a move makes about your brand is a powerful one – ‘we go beyond adequate in every way’. You could have done something standard and generic, but you chose not to.
It puts sustainability front & centre.
Sustainability isn’t just using cutting edge materials technology, planting trees to offset carbon emissions or marketing jargon not far off greenwashing.
Quite often, making the switch to eco-packaging is as easy as using only what’s necessary and getting that material certified. From a raw design point of view, your focus is on using as little material as possible. This attitude creates the best possible foundation for sustainable design, like material substitution.
Save space and weight.
Any consumable that can be made to fit within the constraints of your storage space is an appetising one. When designed from the ground up, your value-engineered packaging can be designed to package the product perfectly, but also to fit within your given storage facilities.
A fine example of this is candle packaging. Many sellers use a form of round packaging, like a tube. This is great for branding, but terrible for space-saving in a warehouse.
Lower shipping costs to pass on
The space and weight savings that come from value-engineered packaging create lower shipping costs for you and, therefore, lower shipping costs for you to pass on to your customers.
A single packaging product for more SKUs
Having a single packaging product that suits more of your products minimises the potential for fulfilment errors.
Value-engineered packaging can amalgamate the packaging for several products of a similar size and shape. This process ultimately means you can buy higher volumes of that one packaging product, leveraging the economies of scale and putting more savings into your pocket.
Better order fulfilment
Whether your warehouse uses people-power, robotics or both, value-engineered packaging can improve efficiency. While value-engineered packaging can create a more complex design, you can also optimise the assembly process. On a smaller scale, shaving 5 seconds off the time it takes to assemble a box, but on a larger scale, or if you’re using a third-party fulfilment service, those 5 seconds cost money.
Throughout the design process, your customised packaging can be designed with human or robotic assembly in mind. As a growing and scaling brand, these processes and the time spent on them will only increase in importance.
Saving money, taking care of the environment, and speeding up processes. Your packaging plays a huge role in all of these areas, but it’s often overlooked.
When implementing value-engineered packaging, you’re able to design your packaging with all of these constraints in mind.
The result is something that ticks all the boxes you need it to and presents your brand in an entirely different light than your competitors.