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Consumer Packaging vs. Industrial Packaging

Final package design is most often based on manufacturing

and marketing considerations at the neglect of logistical requirements.

Consumer packaging design focuses on customer

convenience, market appeal, retail shelf utilization, and product protection.

In general, ideal consumer packaging (e.g., large containers

that increase consumer visibility) makes very poor logistical packaging.

The proper package design should be based on a

comprehensive assessment of logistical packaging requirements.


Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis)

Individual products or parts are normally grouped into cartons, bags, bins, or barrels for handling efficiency.


Bags of coal



These containers are used to group individual products and are referred to as master cartons.

Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis)..

When master cartons are grouped into larger units for

handling, the combination is referred to as containerization or unitization.

The master carton and the unitized load provide the

basic handling unit in the logistics channel.

The weight, cube, and fragility of the master carton in

an overall product line determine transportation and material-handling requirements.

If the package is not designed for efficient logistical

processing, overall system performance will suffer.


Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis)..

Retail sale quantity should not be the prime

determinant of master carton size.

For example, fruit juices typically sold in units of six

individual containers is normally packed in master cartons (cases) in quantities of twenty-four units.
The prime packaging objective is to design for

operation with a limited assortment of standard master cartons.


Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis)..

Naturally, few organizations can reduce their

master carton requirements to a single size.

When master cartons of more than one size

are required, extreme care should be taken to arrive at an assortment of compatible units.

Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis)..

Figure illustrates such a concept utilizing four standard sizes.

The sizes of the four master cartons result in modular compatibility.

Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis)..

Of course, logistical considerations cannot fully

dominate packaging design.

The ideal package for material handling and

transportation would be a perfect cube having equal length, depth, and width with maximum possible density.
Seldom will such a package exist.

The important point is that logistical requirements

should be evaluated along with manufacturing, marketing, and product design considerations when standardizing master cartons.

Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis).. Degree of Protection

A critical issue confronted in package design is to

determine the degree of protection required to cope with the anticipated physical environments.
The package design and material should combine to

achieve the desired level of protection without incurring the expense of overprotection.
It is also possible to design a package that has the

correct material content but does not provide the necessary protection.

Industrial Packaging (Logistics Emphasis).. Testing the package

The determination of final package design requires

considerable testing to ensure that specifications are satisfied.

Such tests can be conducted in a laboratory. During past decade the process of package design

and material selection has become far more scientific.

Laboratory analysis has become the most reliable

means of evaluation because of advancements in testing equipment and measurement techniques.


Damage Protection
A major function of the master carton is to protect

products from damage while moving and being stored.

The crucial question is the desired degree of product

The determining factors are the value and fragility of the

product: the higher the value, the greater the economic justification for nearly absolute protection.
If a product is fragile and has high value, then the cost of

absolute protection can be significant.


Damage Protection
Product fragility can be measured by product/package

testing utilizing shock and vibration equipment.

The test result allows a predetermined level of product

cushion to be built into the package to provide protection while in the logistical system.
If packaging requirements and cost are prohibitive,

alternative product designs can be evaluated utilizing the same testing equipment.
The end result is the determination of the exact packaging

required to protect the product.


Damage Protection
Package damage results from the transportation,

storage, and handling utilized.

If privately owned and operated transportation is

used, the product will move to its destination in a relatively controlled environment.
On the other hand, if common carriers are utilized,

the product enters a non-controlled environment.

The less control a firm has over the physical

environment, the greater the packaging precautions required to prevent damage.


Causes of Damage
During the logistical process, the product can experience

a number of situations that can cause damage.

The four most common causes are:

vibration, impact (arpma), puncture (delinme), and compression (sktrma).

Within the logistical system, combinations of these forms

of damage can be experienced whenever a package is in transit or being handled.

In addition, stacking failure can result in damage while the

product is in storage.

Distribution of Computers
The standard distribution practice for computers provides

an example for damage protection.

Because the basic product is of high value and extreme

fragility, a substantial investment in packaging would be required to perform physical distribution using normal carrier service.
Consequently, computers are usually distributed by

specialized household movers.

The equipment and handling procedures employed by

household moving specialists are highly oriented to damage prevention.


Outside Factors
Outside elements such as temperature, humidity, and

foreign matters may cause potential damage.

For the most part, these environmental factors are

beyond the control of logistical management.

However, the protective package must be designed

to cope with the range of possible adversity during transit.


Outside Factors
To illustrate, it is not unusual for a package to be

subjected to

snow and below freezing temperatures during loading, to be exposed to rain at an intermediate transfer point, to arrive at a hot and humid destination.

The problem in evaluating the environment is

determining in advance how the contents of the package will react with respect to these various elements.


Handling Efficiency
Logistical productivity is the ratio of the output of a

logistical activity (time for loading a truck) to the input (labor and forklift time required).
Most logistical productivity studies center around

making the input work harder.

Packaging initiatives, however, increase the output. Almost all logistical activity outputs can be described in

terms of packages, such as number of cartons loaded per hour into a trailer, number of cartons picked per hour in a warehouse, etc.

Product Characteristics
Packing products in certain configurations may help

in increasing logistical activity output.

For example, reducing package size can improve

cube utilization.
This can be accomplished by concentrating products

(e.g. orange juice) or eliminating air inside packages by shipping items unassembled.


Product Characteristics
In most cases dunnage materials (like polystyrene

foam peanuts) can be minimized simply by reducing box size.

IKEA, the Swedish retailer of unassembled furniture,

emphasizes cube minimization to the point that it ships pillows vacuum-packed.

IKEA uses a cube minimization packaging strategy to

successfully compete in the United States even though the company ships furniture all the way from Sweden.

Product Characteristics
Cube minimization is most important for lightweight

products (such as assembled lawn furniture) that "cube out" a transport vehicle far below its weight limit.
On the other hand, heavy products (like liquid in glass

bottles) "weigh out" a transport vehicle before it is filled.

Weight can be reduced by changing the product or the

For example, substituting plastic bottles for glass

significantly increases the number of bottles that can be transported in a trailer.


Unitization describes the physical grouping of master

cartons into one restrained load for material handling.

The concept of containerization includes all forms of

unitization, from taping two master cartons together to the use of specialized transportation equipment.
All types of containerization have the basic objective

of increasing material-handling efficiency.


Benefits of Containerization
Reduces damage in handling Reduces pilferage

Reduces protective packaging requirements

Provides greater protection from environment Provides a shipment unit that can be used many

times repeatedly.

The third important logistical packaging function is

communication, or information transfer.

This function is increasingly critical to content

identification, tracking, and handling as they become more powerful and necessary to total channel success.
The most obvious communications role is identifying

package contents for all channel members.


Typical information includes manufacturer, product,

type of container (can versus bottle), count, and Universal Product Code (UPC) number.
Visibility is the major consideration and material

handlers should be able to see the label from reasonable distances in all directions.
The only exception is for high-value products, which

often have small labels to minimize the temptation of theft.