Rob Kaszubowski, CPP
Fall is finally here, which means football season is officially underway. The first few weeks of the season determine whether all the hard work during the off-season has paid off. Players and coaches often question and second-guess their off-season decisions: Did I choose the right off-season workout? Did I work with the right trainer? Did I choose a workout partner that challenges me? Will my body hold up to the rigors of a grueling season? Well, here in Minneapolis, we know that our 1-4 Vikings are definitely doing some self-reflection and second-guessing of their own.
At Chainalytics, we’re also gearing up for the season, by helping our clients assess their packaging health. Every company has a different off-season and we want to make sure their packaging workout can hold up against the gruel of a long distribution channel. The pace of today’s business environment is growing faster and faster, which means products (and their packaging) are oftentimes pushed through the development cycle without being fully optimized for the current supply chain.
Here are 5 changes in the manufacturing world that show it may be time for a new off-season workout plan:
- Change in supply chain or distribution channel
- Example: Different handling methods at the DCs (fork truck, clamp truck, manual handling) may exert different forces and potential hazards for your packaged product. Moving from traditional GMA pallets to slip sheets. This change requires different handling equipment and transportation methods.
- The change in either of these three locations - either domestically or overseas - could mean your product now has a longer (or shorter) distance to travel to get to your distribution centers and then to your customers.
- Example: Due to a cost savings effort, one of the main raw materials in your product has changed. This may require a change in the level of strength and protection you need in your primary & secondary packaging materials.
- Example: The product engineers increased the thickness of a material, or added a stability bracket. These minor changes in the product design may allow you to decrease your packaging requirements.
- Example: You've switched from full TL (truck load) shipments to LTL (less-than-truckload), or from LTL to single parcel shipments. All three of these are significantly different supply chains, with different handling methods & hazards along the way. A change to a harsher distribution channel may mean your product is under-packaged, and more likely to see damage. A change to a more forgiving mode may mean you are over-packaging your product and leaving money on the table.
These are just a few of the changes in your product’s supply chain that Chainalytics’ packagingengineers flag for potential opportunity. These changes could yield cost savings potential – either through packaging optimization or damage avoidance. If you see any of these 5 changes in your supply chain, it’s time to call your personal trainer…err, packagingengineer, to make sure your packaging is optimized for the season ahead.