Digital Printing

3 ways to avoid obsolescence with your product packaging

3 ways to avoid obsolescence with your product packaging

You’ll never reduce packaging obsolescence to zero—there are too many variables to align sales perfectly with projections. But you can shrink the quantity of leftover packaging collecting dust in your warehouse.

Let’s explore these strategies in a bit more detail:

1. Get better at inventory management.

When you’re selling products, there’s a direct correlation between your ability to manage inventory and succeed as a company. If you’re always dealing with excess inventory, it means you’re not striking the right balance between what customers expect and what you can provide at a profit.

Invest in inventory management tools that can help you align inventory with sales more accurately. Perform root-cause analyses to discover why products keep piling up unsold. Talk to an industry consultant about statistical formulas that can help you better align sales forecasts with production schedules and potential lead times.

Ultimately, the lessons you learn while working out the bugs in your inventory management can also apply to your packaging pipeline.

2. Create more accurate sales forecasts and make sure the right people see them.

Packaging happens near the end of your production chain, so you have to get a lot of things right in the early stages to avoid surplus packages.

Efforts to improve the accuracy of sales forecasts bear fruit in the production process. You have to coordinate carefully with departments like sales, marketing, manufacturing, and supply chain management. Moreover, you must communicate your forecasts in a timely fashion and ensure they get through to company stakeholders.

Scrutinize sales trends and keep an eye on what the competition is up to. Monitor product returns and take note of products that aren’t selling well.

Streamlining your forecasting and inventory management practices will get you much closer to selling only the products customers want to buy. Thus, reducing excess inventory inherently shrinks packaging obsolescence.

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3. Tap the advantages of digital printing.

If you print your packaging on an offset press, you know the pitfalls: You need large production runs, you waste hundreds of packages getting color into register, and you can’t do much to customize the press run. It takes hours to set up an offset press, and you need long lead times.

The advent of digital printing allows you to print the precise quantity of packages you need. There’s no waste. You have wide flexibility for customizing what you print, and you enjoy the same vivid color that an offset press produces. Turnaround times can be as soon as a week.

How GREIF helped a global pharmaceutical company

Our new HP Indigo 30000, one of the best digital presses on the market, allows us to deliver the printing customers want, when they want it, and how they want it. Recently, a pharmaceutical company with international customers needed several versions of packaging in multiple languages.

Historically, the company bought packaging based on inaccurate sales forecasts, which produced an abundance of obsolete boxes. Soon after, the company went through an acquisition which required new company names on all the packaging.

When the company partnered with GREIF (formerly Caraustar), we started by producing just-in-time orders until new package designs were approved. When new designs arrived, we delivered new packaging on a seven-day turnaround that eliminated obsolescence.

Bear in mind, digital printing may become cost prohibitive if the press job gets too large. That’s why it’s prudent to partner with a company who has deep experience in balancing the relative advantages of digital versus traditional offset printing in order to find a solution that meets your needs.

Take every opportunity to avoid obsolete packaging

Improving inventory management and sales forecasts is a tough job with lots of variables beyond your control. There’s no magic fix for flaws in those processes.

Digital printing, by contrast, puts you in charge. You set the exact quantity of packaging you purchase, with broad customization options. And you enjoy the vivid color-printing quality of an offset press.

Talk to the packaging experts at GREIF to see if digital printing can reduce or eliminate your excess packaging.

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Posted by Julia Briggs in Digital Printing