Posted on July 27, 2023 by Dennis Salazar

“Deeper is Cheaper” and Other DTC Packaging Words of Wisdom

If you hang around one industry, especially the packaging industry, for a few decades, you are sure to pick up some catch phrases, quips and bits of business knowledge. Here are a few you may have heard:


Deeper is Cheaper

This applies primarily to RSC style boxes. This is better explained with a CAD drawing of your specific box but an RSC box that is taller, rather than wider or longer uses less corrugated. You may believe that the same number of square inches of board is used, but in a drawing comparison, you see that the shorter/narrower the major flaps, the amount of redundant board is minimized. Don’t get it? Give us a call and we’ll show you how you can reduce the cost of your own RSC boxes.

Ink is Cheap, Set-up Time is Not

I am not sure whether we originated this one or not, but we have been using it on our web site and in conversation for at least 15 years. It results mostly from customers who want to compare one color, two color, three or even four-color printing. At times, we know they are stifling their creativity, in an effort to reduce box cost. The fact is that flexographic water-based inks are relatively inexpensive. However, setting up a high-speed rotary die cutter to print is time consuming and costly. Once that initial set up is done, there is little cost increase to add a second, or third color. Let us provide you with pricing so you can see the minimal difference.


A Larger Order is Always Less Expensive

This truism is also a result of eliminating or minimizing equipment set-up time. Once we set up a machine to produce your boxes, keeping that equipment running (with no re-set-up) is very efficient and a smart supplier is always willing to share that production cost savings with their customer. This is evident when comparing our 1,000 MOQ to a 2,000-piece order. The larger order is typically 18 to 20% less expensive. That also does not include the shipping savings, which is often an unexpected additional cost.


Litho Label

Digital Beats Litho Label Every Time 

In terms of cost, this is mostly true, but it is very dependent on order size. In the last 4 or 5 years, digital printing has become the way to go for short runs and intricate graphic designs. Litho label

is a process able to print even better designs and colors, but up to around 3,000 boxes, digital usually has a distinct price advantage. However, when the order size increases to 5,000 or more (depending mostly on box size), litho label printing surprisingly becomes less expensive compared to digital. It has a lot to do with board and ink costs, and also operational efficiencies. In my opinion, litho label also produces more attractive graphics.

The thing that all of these terms have in common is that in packaging, especially e-commerce packaging, there are very few hard and fast rules. That is why choosing the best partner to help you through the process is so important. Our trained, experienced branded packaging advisors will gladly take your call or respond to your email to guide you to make the best decision, for your specific situation. Old adages and terms are great, but they don’t always provide the best path forward for you. Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us    for a no cost, no obligation application review.


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