Thought Leadership

Options For Contract Packaging

By Jim Moseley
Executive Vice President

Rigid packaging is inherently fluid in its applications. However, this flexibility brings with it a number of options that need to be understood and considered when making decisions about how to bring a product to market. Among the most important are:

I. Functionality
II. Compatibility
III. Availability
IV. Graphics/Decoration
V. Ability to Recycle
VI. Product Differentiation
VII. Storage Costs
VIII. Packaging Cost


I. Functionality

Functionality of a product deals with the rules of reality, and these important issues must be addressed at the outset of the planning process to assure the proposed package has the quality levels to achieve the following criteria:
Is the package consumer friendly?
Will it be adaptable to existing filling lines?
Can it be filled at acceptable line speeds?

II. Compatibility

The package under consideration has to meet the inherent requirements of the product it shall contain.
Does it meet the required barrier properties?
Will it have the necessary liners, and what are the liner options?
Every liner has to address the stability characteristics of the product.
What resin and liner substitutions are allowable without compromise?

III. Availability

If you cannot get your product to market in a timely manner, much of the selling leverage and profit opportunity will be sacrificed. The considerations concerning availability are:
How much lead-time is required until it can be brought to market?
What are the minimum order requirements?
What shopping points will be used in the distribution process?

IV. Graphics/Decoration

A package’s appearance is one of the most visible facets in the decision making process, and many advocate it is also one of the most compelling selling aspects of any package. Package design also involves essential judgments regarding the cost of the finished container, and determinations must include:
Optimum decoration versus the practical applications.
Where is decoration best addressed?
The filler?
An outside location?
The component manufacturer?
Will secondary inventory requirements be necessary for decoration?
What additional costs will be incurred for decoration?
Will the decoration involve additional scrap costs?

V. Sustainability

The ability to recycle packaging has been part of the public’s environmental agenda for decades. However, the level of this issue’s intensity has ebbed and flowed. Presently, it is a rising tide, and packaging considerations should include:
Acceptability by the consumer.
Green requirements.

VI. Product Differentiation

The need to distinguish a product from its competitors is a fundamental marketing concept, and often, that falls to the packaging. Whether the packaging is the primary product differentiator or it is a tactic in a sweeping strategy to separate one product from another, thought must be directed to:
How is your package perceived and how is your competitor’s package viewed?
Does your package convey a message?
Is your package a “me too” version of what is already on the shelf?

VII. Storage Costs

Storage costs have become the stepchild of the manufacturing and distribution process with continuing scrutiny directed to how to reduce it or make it go away altogether. Every packaging judgment must ask:
Will run lengths require warehousing?
Do inadequate projections require backup stock?
Will multiple components from multiple locations with varying lead-times require more inventories?
What impact will shelf life have on packaging components?

VIII. Packaging Costs

The final phase in virtually all decisions regarding packaging ultimately includes cost. All the factors offered in this paper involve cost at some level. Additionally, consideration must be directed to:
What is the relative cost of the package to the overall cost of the product?
If unforeseen issues arise with a package, is there a reliable supply base for support?
What options exist for backup sources??

Packaging has always been sensitive to changing market conditions and to one competitor’s efforts to best another. The options available make it highly fluid and one of the most imaginative aspects of the manufacturing process.

However, wide-range choices frequently influence a product’s cost and selling price. It is critical to understand what options are available and their likelihood to affect potential sales revenue and profitability.

If you have any questions about this white paper or our services, please call 800-325-7782 or email


Download for eReaders on the following sites:


  undefined undefined undefined



Click the button below to download a PDF of this white paper

Contact Us To Get Started

TricorBraun’s proven process will guide your packaging decisions from napkin sketch all the way to the retail shelf. Click below to get started.

Request a Quote

Contact a Consultant