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Scalable Value: Defining Packaging Standards For Vendors

Package Standards

If you asked the stakeholders in your business whether packaging is perceived as an unwanted cost or a value driving innovation, what would they say?

Inbound or Asia sourced product packaging has been on the radar of most procurement teams in terms of the cost of a box to varying degrees of success. This is mainly due to either a lack of visibility or simply the degree of complexity involved. 

However, as internal retailer teams continue to be challenged to reduce costs, improve compliance and increase speed to market the time has come where packaging must take center stage as a key driver and enabler.

Retailers and brand owners have historically dedicated significant budget to the graphic design and artworking of primary packaging with little focus on the structural specification which is often controlled by the supplier. However with the growth of the ecommerce channel and the complexities of omni-channel the physical make up of packaging has never been more important.

Although suppliers are given some standards for packaging, the real benefits around supply chain efficiency and damage reduction is a game of fractions of inches and the ability to manage detail at scale.

The only way to effectively manage this challenge and create opportunity is to somehow touch and consider every piece of packaging to ensure it is designed to complement the end to end value chain.

Here are the 5 steps you can take to start your journey transforming packaging to a value driving innovation across your business.

1. Take a look-see

  • Is the graphic design and structure consistent across a range of products?
  • Has the product arrived undamaged, protected by the packaging?
  • Is the packaging correctly sized to display the product effectively?
  • Is the packaging and product ecom ready or does it require additional preparation or packaging?

2. Find the source of the problem

  • Do the suppliers just manage this for you with little intervention or guidance?
  • Has the supplier got the skill set and resource to produce what you need?
  • Is there a correct performance and/or design guideline specified?
  • Is the packaging compliant to the guidelines and verified using a performance testing method?

3. Build an improvement strategy

  • Build a hierarchy of your strategic packaging needs.
  • Build the key pillars of your packaging strategy which will need to be clearly defined and measurable.
  • Develop guidelines for vendors and suppliers (consider their current capabilities and ability to manage change).
  • Extend your guidelines across all product categories translating the needs of the consumer and your brand into solutions which also drive commercial, environmental and operational efficiencies.

4. Check compliance

  • Embarking on a compliance program across color, structure and performance will improve every area of your packaging.
  • Start by engaging with your supply base in each region of manufacture, ensuring that they understand the bigger picture objectives and ambition.
  • Meeting these goals should benefit both you as a retailer and the supplier; maximizing product sales and minimizing supply chain inefficiency.
  • Regularly appraise packaging styles, formats, substrates and structures, and support execution of the guideline with suppliers.

5. Enforce it

  • This process needs to then be built into the day to day development of packaging.
  • The business needs to ensure that the right decisions are made based on the ‘true end to end cost’ of packaging to the business .
  • All key stakeholders should be engaged within the business to maximize the results.
  • All suppliers need to understand why they are being asked to help and what are the consequences of non-conformance.

Implementing this process through the introduction of software will provide transparency for all stakeholders, build an asset library and workflow manager, which will decode the mystery of overseas packaging development.


Equator, (https://player.vimeo.com/video/153491647) , a system unique to More from Less which is designed to communicate and deliver your brand promise consistently across all markets. As a result you are able to control the harmonization of your packaging designs, improve supply chain visibility and increase the speed of your products to market.

For more information on how More from Less can help you make packaging a source of value and more than just an unwanted cost visit www.morefromlessglobal.com and contact us.