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The Functions Of Packaging In A Business’ Supply Chain

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes | 5 min read

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The output of designing and manufacturing a material that will keep a product secure and identifiable throughout transport is packaging. 

There can be hundreds of points of interaction with your product's packaging before it gets from the point of manufacture to the final consumer.

Furthermore, the path from manufacturer to final consumption may extend around the globe and take several months, or it may be a few meters and span no more than a minute.

Your packaging needs to be designed to fulfil all these functions in that process, no matter how long it is.

Using packaging supplies that fit all these functions is crucial for saving money on packaging and getting products where they need to be prompt.

Packhelp is a packaging supplier that can help you source quality product packaging that saves you money.

Get a quote on cheaper packaging supplies

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Functions of packaging:

There are several roles that packaging needs to fulfil to successfully do its job. These functions are presented in no particular order.

Protection

Packaging's first and foremost function is protection.

The most important function of packaging is to keep the product safe and secure from the outside environment, but also the other way around, packaging needs to keep the product away from the external environment, too.

alexko polymailer

See how Aleks Ko used multiple products to fulfil multiple functions of packaging. 

In doing so, your product is protected from damage in the form of being dropped, but also the weather, like rain, sun, dirt and dust.

This is where products like polymailer bags are used alongside traditional cardboard packaging.

Protective packaging also has to stand up to both static and dynamic forces during the shipping and delivery process.

It has to keep the product safe while other items are being stacked on it to save space - both in shipping and in storage.

Packaging is often paired with the product within the manufacturing process, especially in the form of liquids and foods.

It's from this point that the packaging must start fulfilling its role.

Storage

The next function of packaging is to keep the packaging contents safe during storage. This storage time may be a matter of years or minutes - possibly even seconds.

Product Box

Click here to design and order custom shipping boxes, ideal for storage

In this function, the packaging needs to ensure that the product is safe from dust, debris and other environmental hazards for the amount of time that it will be stored.

Transport

Packaging has a massive effect on the efficiency and speed of transportation.

Being able to physically handle a product and get it from point A to point B is the most often associated function of packaging.

In this role, packaging needs to be easy and efficient to lifted, held, moved and stored easily.

Secondary layers of packaging may be needed to make it easier to handle smaller units of grouped products - for example, a large shipping box that contains multiple six-packs of beer.

Transport packaging needs to be designed in a way that it can be easily handled and moved by both man and machine, on a larger and a smaller scale.

royal mail packaging

For transport reasons, your packaging supplies may need to be of a certain size to meet set delivery guidelines, such as royal mail package dimensions.

Sales

Sales as a function of packaging enable the product to be promoted. It's at this point where visual identification of the product beings, as the buyer needs to recognise what the product is.

packvertising and direct marketing

See how Coco & Eve work sales into their packaging design.

This is also where visual packaging design starts to play a role in the functions of packaging.

Sales and promotions work hand in hand as the first point of physical contact with your customer and your packaging bundle.

Promotional

Promoting the product on its packaging is an integral function of packaging.

It's at this point where the final customer will first see the product for sale, therefore the packaging needs to have a positive influence on the buyer's decision.

See how Yope uses sales as a function of their packaging design.

From this point, transport of the product is still important, but only on a single-unit level.

Service

This function of packaging involves placing various information and specific details about the product on the packaging.

This includes ingredients and nutritional information if talking about food, as well as dangerous and hazardous materials.

Note: One promotional aspect of packaging may be that storing the product in its packaging is simple for the end-user.

This means that another level of storage needs to be considered when designing packaging.

Assurance

This function of packaging is to ensure the consumer that the product of the intended quality.

The structural integrity of the packaging means that the product inside, for the most part, is undamaged and ready to use as it was intended.

Providing this assurance with packaging is a decision that's made when picking the right type of packaging for your product.

Use packaging tape and packaging paper to assure your customer that your product is in the same condition it left the manufacturer in. 

Disposal

The final function of packaging is to inform the user how to dispose of it.

If the packaging is sustainable, this may mean disposing of it in compost or recycling it, rather than traditional waste.

eco properties trees

Packhelp works with One Tree Planted to help regenerate forests for each packaging order placed. Click here and learn more. 

The disposal function may also mean telling the user that the packaging can be reused for another intended purpose.

Summary: functions of packaging in all steps of the supply chain

Packaging is an all-encompassing element of every brand. The function of packaging often begins before the product itself is made, and continues well after the product is consumed.

Packhelp's range of packaging supplies can help you create a complete packaging solution that fulfils all roles you've just read, as well as many many more.

Click here to explore our range or get a quote on your personalised packaging supplies!

 

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