At the recent International Housewares Show, I had several conversations with a number of people who wanted to talk about the “bad” packaging they are getting from their foreign suppliers. Well over 90% of all house ware products we all buy and use are manufactured and packaged overseas, which typically results in substantial savings for the importing USA company. However, it can also lead to major headaches and unexpected costs when the packaging that is also being imported does not satisfy varying domestic requirements.
Is Imported Packaging Truly Bad?
In most cases, it is not. Yes, there are situations when the packaging shown to the prospective US buyer and the packaging actually shipped to the US buyer is radically different. And of course there are cases of misunderstanding, misrepresentation and/or outright deception.
However, in most cases of packaging disappointment the domestic buyer focused on price and delivery and simply did not anticipate how their packaging needs might change after the product arrives stateside. As I reminded a gentleman I spoke to this weekend about his UPS/FedEx damage problem, the packaging his supplier is shipping him was never designed or intended for individual shipment. The packaging was created to bulk ship the product safely from Asia to the USA on pallets and in containers, and it more than satisfied that requirement.
In other cases, it is not a damage problem or package failure at all but a necessary change in the packaging design and/or use for other reasons. Quite often, companies selling wholesale domestically are realizing that “one size fits all” packaging does not always work. For example, some retailers are insisting on different, less expensive, as well as more basic and perhaps greener packaging for their e-commerce customers. In other situations, the count or quantity is being changed, such as it arrived in two-per-box packaging but their retail customer wants to buy and sell them as three packs.
A Packaging Solutions Provider
Each of those problems calls for a complete review of the current packaging, the application and the challenge in order to determine the best possible solution at the lowest possible cost. The products and solutions we offer for those situations include, but are not limited to:
- Stock or custom-molded pulp inserts, dividers and partitions — it is possible that sometimes the addition of some separating or immobilizing internal packaging can solve the problem.
- Creating brand new packaging — when the existing packaging is simply undesirable or “fixing” the problem is simply not economically possible. We see this happening more often with dot com suppliers insisting on less packaging (non retail) for their customers.
- Over boxing – no one wants to see multiple layers of packaging, however some items are not easy to unpack or re-pack, so the best and least expensive solution might be to place a box within a box with an appropriate level of cushion or shock absorbing materials in between the outer and inner boxes.
- Greener packaging – as American consumers ask for less and more eco-friendly packaging, importers are often required to modify or replace packaging that is not deemed as sustainable. Examples can include plastic clamshells, PVC bags and pouches or other packaging variations that are accepted in some markets and not in others.
Even though we have been in the “bad packaging repair business” for some time, no two scenarios are identical. Please contact Salazar Packaging for a no-cost and no-obligation review of your specific problem and the potential solutions we might suggest for you and your product.