Is Custom Packaging Really Worth the Expense?

As a packaging design firm, perhaps we’re a little bias on this one. However, we’ll admit that in some cases, an all-out packaging upgrade and supply chain overhaul isn’t necessary. On the other hand, most of the industries we work with have complex logistics legs, and they come to us because they need to reduce their total costs. Custom packaging, if designed well, should positively impact the total supply chain. So, is it worth it? Let’s take a look. 


How Much Does Custom Packaging Cost? 

If you wanted an inground pool built in your backyard, the quality of materials, the size and depth of the pool and the landscaping of the pool deck are all varying cost factors. You could decide to outfit the perimeter with flat rocks imported from Tennessee or with standard tile. The builders may also discover problems along the way, like an unknown gas line, which will influence your costs. 


Of course, packaging design serves a more functional purpose than curb appeal, but the above example illustrates an important point about the cost of custom packaging: it depends. It depends on the product, the industry, the type of supply chain and the materials needed. We ask these important questions upfront and offer a quote based on your specific needs.  


What Factors Determine the Cost Estimate? 

PCD considers the following when quoting custom packaging design: 

  • What materials are used 

  • Will prototypes and tests be required? 

  • The quantity

  • How soon/how frequently will the packaging need to be produced 

  • The costs of production

  • If special equipment must be built to produce the package  

One Size Doesn’t Fit All 

Why all the hassle when a standard box will work just fine? This may be true for some industries whose product fits nicely into a box. However, when shipping automotive parts, industrial equipment or any complex product “standard” is no longer optimal. While we do carry some standard packaging options, our customers typically have unique goals and needs. We often find that when customers do ask us for standard packaging products, our consultation reveals a design tweak or two can save them money. Don’t automatically assume “standard” will do. 


How Should I Evaluate Custom Packaging Quotes? 

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again here: the two goals of packaging design are to reduce your total landed costs and protect the product. If a quote you received doesn’t at least check those two boxes, you should probably look elsewhere. However, there are other things to keep in mind when evaluating a packaging cost estimate: 

  • Quality: Is it the primary concern? Is it durable enough for your product? Does it protect it like it should? 

  • Can it grow with your Business? Is the packaging scalable? Can the producer adapt to demand changes? Will it accommodate more product? Does it account for changes in volume, fluctuations in material costs? Is it easy to change if your product shape changes

  • Supply Chain Impact: Does it optimize for cubic utilization? How much should you expect to save over the course of a year? Is the packaging type feasible (returnable or expendable)? Does it consider the costs of labor? 

 We have extensive experience designing packaging that meets our clients’ unique needs and transforms their supply chain.  If you’d like to learn more about how we can optimize your bottom line and would like a quote, please contact us here!

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Packaging Concepts & Design
North American Headquarters

234 East Maple Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

PCD proudly maintains certification for ISO 9001/2015 and DOT Hazmat.