- Package design Package design plays a critical role in helping CPG companies achieve sustainability and profitability goals.
More efficient packaging can reduce warehouse, distribution and transportation cost and consequently energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The amount of GHG and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions per ton of production accounts for 15 percent of Wal-Mart's packaging scorecard. Efforts to reduce these emissions can also improve a CPG company's competitive position relative to other suppliers.
So while CPG companies need to look at the big picture—the entire packaging supply chain—to uncover new sources of efficiency, waste reduction and cost savings, they also need to think "inside the box" with package design.
- Material optimization Material value represents 15 percent of the total sustainability metrics that will be measured by Wal-Mart's packaging scorecard. One way CPG companies can improve sustainability is by reducing the total fiber content of their corrugated boxes.
Fiber reduction is achieved three ways: by using an innovative package design that utilizes less corrugated board; by using less fiber within the corrugated board; and by using lower basis weight material. Quite often the best fiber reduction solution is a combination of all three.
Using a low-fiber package is a great way to improve packaging sustainability. However, removing fiber from corrugated board without compromising the integrity of the package can be challenging. Microflute delivers the strength of corrugated board with the high graphics impact of traditional folding carton. The result is a low-fiber package with Point of Purchase (POP) appeal.
- Shelf impact In club stores, secondary packaging often plays a primary role. In this dual role, secondary packaging functions both as a shipping container and a display package. Therefore, an optimized package can enhance function, increase shelf appeal and velocity and in some cases, even reduce store waste.
Recently, we redesigned the packaging for Dixie's PerfecTouch Grab N Go insulated 12 oz. paper cups. Paper cups are traditionally packaged in large quantities in polyurethane bags. The new package design allows for better placement of the cups on store shelves. The carton itself acts as an excellent canvas for a variety of designs as well as communicating the product's benefits to the consumer. It also fits neatly in kitchen cabinets or pantry shelves, further enticing the consumer to buy.
- SKU consolidation CPG companies with 50 or 100 different SKUs pay more for packaging because suppliers are forced to perform shorter production runs of myriad package types. The number of SKUs can be dramatically reduced by developing package designs that meet universal needs.
- Alternative packaging Alternative packaging can provide significant sustainability benefits. A good example of that is Greenshield. The produce industry traditionally uses non-recyclable wax coatings to protect the integrity of packages containing delicate perishables. As an alternative to wax-coated boxes, Georgia-Pacific's Greenshield family of products delivers tested strength and an excellent moisture barrier and is recyclable. Reusable plastic containers (RPCs) may also be used as a more sustainable alternative to wax-coated boxes. Georgia-Pacific is the only packaging supplier to offer customers both a corrugated and a plastic packaging solution—both options have sustainability benefits as well.
- Productivity improvements There are many opportunities in the packaging supply chain to improve productivity by focusing on automating manual processes. For example, significant efficiency gains have been made by automating case-forming and stretchwrapping processes. These processes not only enable more effective use of labor, but they can also reduce material costs.
- Material handling Safe, effective material handling is central to streamlined packaging supply chain operations. Like each of the nine key areas of the packaging supply chain, material handling optimization depends on countless variables that are unique to each company and facility. For example, an innovative corrugated box design may give new strength to a package that was previously susceptible to damage by a clamp truck.