Exploring Package Purpose: What Three Things Count?

If you are a packaging or operations professional, you are likely aware of the basic packaging purpose. But sometimes You are just too close to a situation or too busy to have an objective view of the possibilities. That is why you need to be able to rely on a supplier that puts You First.

Nichols has a team of packaging sales professionals that constantly encounter shifting goals and objectives from our very diverse customer base.  In today’s incredibly fast paced environment the decision makers at our business partners often do not have the time to consider innovations. They simply need packaging to “do its job!” But what is the “job” that packaging is supposed to do? Consider these three principles when you design, source and implement packaging solutions:


The third packaging principle, although most over looked, may be the most important.

Your first consideration is “how am I going to contain” my product.

Deciding to place a product in something to CONTAIN it is like second nature. This applies whether a product is going to the consumer (“B to C”) or to another company (“B to B”).  The freshly salted popcorn coming out of the kettle has to be put into a bag. The injection molded bumper has to go into a box. And yes, even the red spool of yarn needs to be shipped in an envelope.  Or does it? What new packaging innovations have you considered in the last six months?

PROTECTing the product is the next vital component.

Shipping and logistics damage can be very costly to a particular product line or manufacturing lot. Various packaging methods can help reduce and eliminate damage. Of course cost effectiveness is also key. Weigh the cost of the total solution. Remember to consider damages, reshipment, and labor.

How does your package affect customer experience and reflect your brand?

Now is the time to consider how the product will SELL!

Consider: How does the product and packaging arrive to the paying customer?  How will the final customer perceive our company, brand and quality when it arrives on the store shelf or their doorstep? Once you have contained and protected your product through the supply chain cycle, your creativity can be unleashed.

I recently came across some research from a Nichols strategic supplier-Sealed Air.   When it comes to retail products there is no doubt that packaging affects your final sale.

-68% of Americans are more conscious of packaging materials and design than they were just five years ago.

– 76% of the respondents said the package affects the perception they have of the retailer. (Chrisman, Ken. “Don’t Let a Busted, Bulky Box Ruin Your Brand Reputation”.  www.sealedair.com. 6/21/17.

Of course, a heavily damaged, unsightly package does not only correlate to retail products.  Regardless of what type of customer receives the product initially, image matters. A manufacturer of industrial components does not want to deliver items to a business partner when quality might be in question before they are even examined.   Packaging at the retail and commercial level must offer ease of use while opening, accessing product and discarding.  That next level of packaging value delivers a quality, highly aesthetic image of your company. It “displays” that you proudly manufacture the delivered goods!

Chris is one of several packaging engineers on the Nichols Team! We invite you to connect with him on LinkedIn!