Sometimes simple changes in a package make it easier to manufacture, which means lower costs and higher profits – and a more efficient packaging line.

“Think little things don’t matter? Simple changes can save millions of dollars over the life of the package. Each 2% efficiency improvement is an extra week of annual production – hundreds of thousands or millions of additional products to sell”, writes packaging industry consultant and author of ‘Packaging Machinery Handbook’, John R. Henry.

Take, for example, following simple changes in product design he recommends to minimise or eliminate changeovers, boost line efficiency, and create more attractive packaging.

1. Simplify Package Styles

If you bring in manufacturing early during the package design phase, you may be able to prevent unnecessary costs and headaches.

Changing over the packaging line between products takes additional time. In one case, changing from straight tuck cartons to reverse tuck cartons, or back, at marketing’s suggestion, took more than five hours.

The manufacturing should have pointed out the problem to the marketing department when it was easy to fix—if there had been communication early on.

 2. Standardise Sizes

Going from ship-from-stock to make-to-order, a company can increase its production, sales and market share with different sized products. The downside, though, is many more changeovers and delays in the process.

However, standardising product size where possible could add enough additional production time to offset any material costs many times over. In one case, standardisation allowed a company to minimise the number of shifts.

Also, changes in count can make a difference – standardising on specific count packs can increase packaging line speed and efficiency.

3. Eliminate Label Skew

Full-wrap labels on round bottles are sensitive to skewing, where the ends do not align. Where the label ends meet, even tiny skews are noticeable.

It may be machine-, label- or bottle-related, but all the customer sees is an imperfect product that reflects poorly on your brand and often goes unpurchased.

The problem of skew, if not the skew itself, can be eliminated by using slightly less than a full wrap, leaving a gap between label ends. Any little skew becomes invisible to the customer. Adding a radius to label corners is even better.

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