Monday, December 23, 2013

Six Most Likely Questions for a Packaging Engineer at the Holidays

by Rich Lindgren, CPP

When I decided to study packaging at UW-Stout, I didn't realize how much time I would spend simply explaining what packaging engineers do.  (Hint: We don't pack boxes.)

Most of my close friends and family members finally seem to get it.  But, every holiday season, I can still count on my extended family to ask a handful well-meaning questions.  Here's the list of questions I'm teeing up answers for this year.

1) Why do you make those plastic thingys so hard to open?

I could explain that clamshells are used for theft deterrence, but then again, maybe a simple quip is best:  I can neither confirm or deny any involvement with the Global Scissors Manufacturing Association.

2) Where is the other half of my bag of chips?
Uncle Joe, it's called slack fill. And, here's a fun fact: The State of California is coming down on companies that deceive customers by not filling their packages full of product.

3) Why did the [fill in the blank] I ordered online the other day arrive in an enormous box?
Let me get this straight, Cousin Beth.  Are you saying that you don't like popping bubble wrap?  

4) Why does the pull tape always seem to break before I open the envelope?
Uncle Hank, I think you are just doing it wrong...

5) Why am I paying the same price for a smaller package?
Granny, it's called capitalism. Oh, and oranges are being grown with even more concentration these days.

6) Why do kid's toys come with so many zip ties?
It's part of the un-boxing experience.  Enjoy!

Got a question to add to the list?  Leave a comment below to let us know how you're getting ready for the holiday season with your Great Aunt Judy.

Rich Lindgren is the Senior Packaging Engineer at Chainalytics. Rich holds lifetime Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) accreditation from the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) and has extensive experience with both packaging optimization and supply chain cost reduction projects.

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