By: Willis Whiteside, M.S., IDSA

Issue 090101 1st/2nd Quarter 2009

Packaging Design: It is your space, time and energy.

At the core of all business, inventions and products is the space, time and energy it takes to develop and implement a successful industrial design, manufacturing, packaging, distribution and fulfillment program. To value the power of space in packaging development that considers packaging and branding in terms of “volume” for 2D graphics, identity, labeling and 3D product and package geometry, distribution handling factors and user interface requirements.  And “time” the 4D forth dimension for conceiving, planning, producing and implementing the program, allowing for rapid order fulfillment and stock replenishment based on sales demand. And most importantly “energy” that 5D fifth dimension that provides the intuition, power, information and automated and manual responses to bring it all together.  The reason for considering your packaging development is these terms is to not suffer in the ability to build retail relationships, maintain product quality or sales, based on unused space, poor restocking response time, lack of information or efficiently. And to realize the dynamic space, time energy factors, insights and opportunities when implementing a product packaging program, moving from design studio to production floor to store shelf.

The primary factor in any packaging design program is SPACE and it’s related management issues including; individual package size and orientation, use of packaging space for larger volume shipping boxes or containers factoring in inventory and shipping and finally manufacturing,  production tooling and minimum quantity requirements. Space as in 3D package geometry, handling and graphics space for meeting branding and labeling requirements. Conflicts for space, for example if you are an owner or the manufacturer you want the package as big as possible, front of the store – eye level – shelf space exposure. Your package design must be manufacturer, merchandizing, retailer and customer friendly while presenting an appealing presentation to draw us in to purchase. The package image must brand and or be unique, standing out from the competition as either better quality or a better value.

If you are a Retailer, the suppliers package should be small, easy to handle, stack and merchandize on a shelf while being response, lead time and delivery time sensitive when ordered, shipped and delivered.  If you are the Customer, you want a quality, pristine package that clearly communicates the contents while displaying purpose, function, value and purchase price. As as Entrepreneur or Manufacturer you want product package on the sales floor or shelves at all times but in reality, you sometimes have limited control over stocking, replenishment and package orientation or what direction your package is actually displayed or restocked. Meaning, the side or back of your product or package may be all you have to sell it.
The primary consideration of space – is more space is more money – from manufacturer to warehouse to display shelf. The space factors of inventory management related to mass transit shipping and handling methods, starting with the design of the product itself and the necessary branding – labeling and product package protection requirements. This relates to package size, geometry, volume and orientation factors including packing multi-unit shipping boxes, warehousing, shipping, handling and delivery costs, typically defined by volume and weight and container size shipping transit restrictions. Mass transit shipping considerations include package stacking and loading, including normal manual handling (drop impacts) and semi-automated, powered pallet jack or fork lift handling.  Manufacturers and DOT require traceable labeling documentation providing for clear product identification and protection especially if the contents are defined chemically volatile or hazardous materials. Space factors including the shipping box or container size and orientation and packing techniques for boxing and palletizing or making a stacked, strapped or shrink wrapped, multi-box shipping pallet (40″ x 48″ x 120″) for pallet load stability. Product and package delivery fulfillment and shipping transportation is usually handed by contracted services which is linked to independent operators and union worker led train, naval or highway shipping container or semi-truck & trailer operations using manual to fully automated rigging, lifting and conveyer belt handling systems. Rough handling and sometimes extreme impacts, to say the least.   Value the power of space in packaging development that considers packaging and branding in terms of shelf, box, display, pallet and container “volume”.

The empowerment slogan for the year: “There are two ways of spreading Light; to be the Candle or the Mirror that reflects it.”   By Edith Wharton

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