The Real Price of Packaging

    The Real Price of Packaging: Indirect Costs of Packaging

    1000 300 ITB Packaging

      Part 2: Indirect Costs of Packaging


      “A small leak will sink a great ship.”

      —Benjamin Franklin


      You are reading Part 2 of our series on The Real Price of Packaging, outlining 15 key aspects of packaging costs. In Part 1: Direct Costs, we explored the immediate, tangible packaging creation and implementation expenses.

      Now, we’ll take a look at the indirect costs of packaging that encompass necessary expenditures indirectly related to the packaging process, highlighting areas that, while not immediately apparent, significantly impact the overall cost and efficiency of packaging.

      Let’s dive in.

      decrease cost

      About this series:

      • Each part is structured to stand alone while also contributing to a broader understanding when read as a whole.
      • Provides comprehensive analysis and actionable strategies in each category.
      • A holistic view of packaging costs that balances immediate needs with long-term strategic planning.

      Part 2: INDIRECT COSTS

      The essential yet less apparent indirect costs of packaging

      Logistical choices are crucial in reducing the overall price of packaging, especially for businesses with a broad distribution network.

      Efficient packaging can reduce shipping and handling costs, improve warehouse storage efficiency, and minimize product damage during transit. Optimizing packaging for logistics is essential for cost-effectiveness in the supply chain.

      Analysis Approach:
      • Distribution Network Analysis: Examine your distribution network to understand how packaging affects shipping and handling at various stages.
      • Packaging Size and Weight Assessment: Evaluate the impact of packaging size and weight on shipping costs, considering factors like dimensional weight pricing and SKUs.
      • Packaging and Handling Efficiency Study: Assess the efficiency of packaging in terms of loading, unloading, and storage, both in warehouses and during transportation.
      Cost Reduction Strategies:
      • Dimensional Optimization: Adjust packaging dimensions to maximize space utilization in shipping containers and trucks, potentially reducing the required number of shipments.
      • SKU Rationalization: Look for packaging suppliers with single-SKU solutions to significantly reduce the costs of warehousing, transportation, customer service, administration, and inventory holding.
      • Weight Reduction: Explore materials and designs that reduce the overall weight of the package without compromising protection to lower shipping costs.
      • Standardization: Implement standardized packaging sizes where possible to simplify logistics and handling processes.
      • Collaborative Logistics Planning: Work closely with logistics partners to develop packaging solutions optimized for their specific handling and transportation systems.
      • Packaging Consolidation: Consolidate multiple items into a single package when feasible to reduce the total number of boxes shipped.
      Who to Consult:

      🔄 Supply Chain Analyst

      Optimizing the storage of packaging materials and finished packaged goods is a pivotal aspect of managing the costs of packaging.

      Efficient storage reduces the space required and associated expenses, such as rent or utilities for warehouse space. Proper storage management also ensures the availability of materials and products when needed, avoiding delays in the supply chain.

      Analysis Approach:
      • Storage Space Utilization Analysis: Evaluate how effectively current storage space is used for packaging materials and products.
      • Inventory Management Review: Assess inventory management practices to ensure an optimal balance between storage costs and the availability of materials.
      • Cost Analysis of Storage Solutions: Compare the costs and benefits of different storage solutions, including off-site versus on-site storage.
      Cost Reduction Strategies:
      • Just-In-Time Inventory: Implement a just-in-time inventory system to reduce the amount of packaging materials stored, thereby lowering storage costs.
      • Vertical Storage Systems: Utilize vertical storage solutions to maximize warehouse space efficiency.
      • Optimized Packaging Design: Reduce the storage space required by designing packaging to be more compact or collapsible.
      • Warehouse Layout Optimization: Reorganize the warehouse layout to improve the efficiency of space utilization and accessibility of materials. See our Warehouse Optimization Checklist.
      • Outsourced Storage Solutions: Consider outsourcing storage to third-party logistics providers who can offer more efficient and cost-effective storage options.
      Who to Consult:

      🔄 Supply Chain Analyst

      Insurance plays a crucial role in the packaging and shipping process, particularly for e-commerce businesses.

      It involves managing the risks associated with damage or loss of products during transit. Effective packaging can significantly reduce these risks, potentially lowering insurance costs. Additionally, well-designed packaging can lead to fewer insurance claims, potentially lowering insurance premiums over time.

      Analysis Approach:
      • Risk Evaluation: Assess the risks involved in shipping your products, including the likelihood of damage or loss and how packaging influences these risks.
      • Insurance Policy Review: Analyze current insurance policies to understand coverage limits and how packaging quality affects premiums and claims.
      • Claim History Analysis: Review the history of insurance claims related to packaging issues to identify patterns and areas for improvement.
      Cost Reduction Strategies:
      • Enhanced Packaging for Risk Reduction: Improve packaging design for better protection, using materials and techniques that mitigate the risk of damage during shipping.
      • Negotiations with Insurance Providers: Present improved packaging strategies to your insurance providers to negotiate lower premiums based on reduced risk.
      • Regular Packaging Reviews and Updates: Continuously review and update packaging in response to emerging risks, changes in product lines, or new insurance requirements.
      • Employee Training for Safe Packaging: Train employees in best practices for safe and secure packaging to minimize the risk of damage due to human error.
      • Documentation and Tracking for Claims: Implement robust documentation and tracking measures for all shipments, ensuring a solid foundation for any insurance claims and helping identify areas for packaging improvement.
      Who to Consult:

      💰 Financial Analyst

      Adhering to regulatory standards is a crucial factor in the costs of packaging.

      Compliance with regulatory standards is critical for packaging, especially in industries like food, pharmaceuticals, and hazardous materials. These regulations ensure safety, quality, and environmental protection. Non-compliance can lead to legal penalties, product recalls, and damage to brand reputation.

      Analysis Approach:
      • Regulatory Landscape Analysis: Stay informed about current and upcoming packaging regulations in all markets where your products are sold.
      • Compliance Audit: Conduct regular audits of your packaging to ensure it meets all legal requirements, including material safety, labeling, and recyclability.
      • Industry Best Practices Review: Keep abreast of industry best practices and standards, which sometimes go beyond legal requirements but offer improved safety and customer trust.
      Cost Reduction Strategies:
      • Proactive Compliance Planning: Anticipate changes in regulations to adapt packaging ahead of time, avoiding rushed and potentially costly changes later.
      • Material Compliance Review: Regularly review and update packaging materials to ensure they meet regulatory standards, potentially finding more cost-effective compliant materials.
      • Supplier Compliance Partnership: Work closely with suppliers to ensure that all materials and components used in packaging comply, sharing the responsibility and costs of compliance.
      • Training and Awareness Programs: Implement training programs for staff to ensure a thorough understanding of regulatory requirements and compliance procedures.
      • Eco-Friendly and Safe Materials Investment: Invest in eco-friendly and safe packaging materials that comply with current regulations and are likely to meet future environmental standards, providing long-term savings.
      Who to Consult:

      🌿 Sustainability Consultant

      Find out how ITB Packaging solutions can reduce your secondary packaging costs while enhancing supply chain resilience, product protection, and customer perception.


      Part 2 of “The Real Price of Packaging” has focused on Indirect Costs, shedding light on the less obvious yet significant expenses that influence packaging strategies. We’ve delved into logistics, storage, insurance, and regulatory compliance, demonstrating how each plays a crucial role in the comprehensive cost of packaging.

      As you move to Part 3: Operational Efficiency, we’ll look at how optimizing these processes can significantly impact long-term packaging costs.

      The Real Price of Packaging Series: