3 Questions to Ask About Your Industrial Packager's Track Record

Posted by John Appel on Mon, Jun 13, 2016

wood crate storage

Think back to the last time you moved into a new home. At some point in the planning process, you probably had to find a moving company. As every homeowner knows, getting the right moving company can make all the difference in the world. A skilled, effective, and competent moving company gets all of your possessions to the right place on-time and on-budget. A bad moving company? Well, any number of things could happen. Your stuff could get damaged. They may take too long to unload the truck, driving up your rate. They may be late in showing up at the scheduled loading and unloading times.

How did you choose the right mover? Budget is obviously an important consideration, but it’s usually not the most important one. Rather, you likely dug into the mover’s background. Are their other customers satisfied? Do they have a high rate of complaints? Do they have a record of getting the job done?

Choosing an industrial packaging partner is no different than choosing a mover. Yes, budget and pricing are always relevant. However, there’s too much at stake to choose based on price alone. The wrong packaging partner could impact your quality, your schedule, and your bottom line.

One of the most effective ways to identify the right packaging partner is to dig into their track record. Have they handled jobs like yours before? How satisfied are their other clients? Are they reliable?

Of course, any company can present their track record in any way they wish. The key is to ask penetrating questions that give you an idea of specifically how they will perform as your industrial packaging partner.

Below are three questions to help you get the information you need about potential packaging partners. Be sure to ask these and other insightful questions as you perform your due diligence.


1.What kind of software do you use to design packaging?

machine automated lineThis question is effective because it can indirectly tell you a lot about the company’s process and attention to detail. Depending on the nature of your business, you may not be too familiar with the different types of software used for package design. That’s OK. The point of this question isn’t to make sure they use a specific form of software.

Rather, the point is to see whether they have a well-defined design process that
incorporates robust technology. Many industrial packaging companies don’t use any kind of design software. Instead, they sketch out the design manually, or they simply work off of past templates.

The problem with that approach is that even the smallest design misstep can have big consequences. The crate may not be sealed tight enough to protect your materials from the elements. The product may not be secure enough within the container, and it may move while in transport, leading to damage. The crate may be designed in a way that makes it inefficient to produce.

A packaging partner who leverages design software and other forms of technology can plan for these challenges, and can take proactive steps to prevent potential risks from becoming reality. Ask about software to learn more about the packaging company’s process and their approach to design.


2. What is your claim rate?

At its most basic level, the whole point of industrial packaging is to ensure that product or material makes it from point A to point B securely and without damage. If packaging doesn’t achieve that goal, then it has failed to accomplish its most important objective.

custom wood crateOf course, there’s no way to predict whether or not a packaging company will be reliable or not. Accidents happen. The real question is whether or not accidents and mishaps happen more frequently with certain packagers than with others.

One way to determine this is by asking about the packager’s claim rate. The claim rate is simply the number of insurance claims they have had compared to the number of packages that they shipped.

You want to look at this in terms of rate rather than a hard number. A company can say they only had $100,000 in claims last year. However, that’s not all that low if they only shipped $500,000 worth of material. Ask for the claims rate in a percentage so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison across all packaging companies. 



3. What are your global support capabilities?


Everything is global these days. Even if you’re not manufacturing overseas, chances are good that many of your parts and materials are originating in China or other international production centers.

One of the challenges with overseas manufacturing is that it’s difficult to coordinate consistent packaging and transport standards across all your vendors and distribution centers. Your industrial packaging company, however, may be able to work as your partner to optimize your global processes.

For instance, if you work with a packager with robust international capabilities, they may be able to handle all packaging for you, ensuring that your quality standards are met. They can coordinate shipment and then unpack on the domestic side to review the materials and resolve any defects or other issues.

Of course, to do that, the packager has to have an international infrastructure in place. When a packager states that they work in China and other locations, dig deeper. Do they have staff there? Or do they work with a group of contracted companies?

You want a packager who has their own employees and facilities stretched across the globe. That way, you can be sure that the same standards and expectations are being implemented in your process, no matter where the shipments are originating.

Not all industrial packagers are the same. Crates and boxes may seem like simple products. However, the way they are designed, built, and implemented into your business can have a substantial impact on your bottom line. Don’t hesitate to ask penetrating and insightful questions about your packaging partner’s track record.


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Topics: Industrial Packaging

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