In this article on the Packaging School website, the process of managing a packaging development project is broken down into 8 steps. The article begins by saying that even large organisations often struggle with this process and it can be difficult to find techniques and guidelines for researching, designing, testing and manufacturing (small or at scale) packaging.
Below we summarise the 8 steps and add Dollard Packaging advice where relevant.
By all stakeholders, the author means not just the staff in your company who will be involved but also any suppliers who will be involved in at any point (e.g. any supplier who will deliver, store, pack, design or manufacture the packaging). This will allow key issues to be flagged to be raised at the outset of the project. At Dollard Packaging, we would agree that early involvement of your packaging printer is vital to ensure a successful packaging project. You can read more about this here. https://www.dollard-packaging.ie/first-time-packaging-buyer-guide/ (It is not stated in the article but clearly this type of meeting would need a clear agenda and a project manager to ensure that such a meeting would be productive.)
This step has 2 parts – 1) decide how sustainable you wish your packaging to be. Dollard Packaging has several articles on carton and sleeve sustainability which you can read here https://www.dollard-packaging.ie/category/sustainability-and-cartons-sleeves-food-packaging/ 2) ensure you comply with any packaging regulations that apply in your country and industry. Irish food producers will need to refer to both EU and Irish food labelling regulations https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/labelling_legislation_en and https://www.fsai.ie/legislation/food_legislation/food_information_fic/food_information-fic.html
This step is the design of how the primary packaging (primary packaging is the packaging that is in direct contact with the product and secondary is the outer layer of packaging). If you are designing a carton or sleeve, you will already have discussed the project in detail with your carton printer and they will have provided your graphic designer with a keyline which will guide the graphic designer in laying out the artwork for your packaging. You can read more about correct artwork preparation here. https://www.dollard-packaging.ie/guidelines-supply-carton-sleeve-artwork/
This means applying your branding guidelines such as your brand or company’s pantone colours and logos. The article recommends that “A brand style guide should be composed of logos, brands, approved fonts, colours, and proper use of imagery. You may choose to compose this yourself or submit a Request for Proposal to a packaging design agency for assistance”
In the case of cartons and sleeves, the label is the carton or sleeve itself. The article gives the following advice with which we at Dollard Packaging agree. “The most effective and profitable brands are those that stand out distinctively—and package printing is one critical element for effective brand recognition. Be sure you have a fundamental understanding of artwork, colour theory and printing processes before beginning this phase.” At Dollard Packaging, we are very happy to help with any queries.
The article states that “Setting shipper requirements and developing a unitized system for your packaging is an essential aspect of the packaging development process. You will need to consider all of the marketplaces in which you sell to design the most efficient case packaging.”
It is advisable to consider several options and look at a five-year plan so that you will be able to adapt your packaging process if your volumes increase and some suppliers are no longer able to meet your requirements.
This last step before launch involves considering all aspects of the unglamorous but important distribution packaging. The article’s advice is as follows: “Mapping this system and defining requirements for storage times, loading methods, pallet IDs and security or anti-pilfer measures are critical to the safety and efficacy of your products. Evaluate 3rd party logistic companies (3PLs) like USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, and regional carriers who transport your products. Before you finalize your supply and distribution plan, take a moment to consider the various test and check protocols that exist to help you reduce issues. ISTA laboratory testing can simulate trucks, planes, and sea container forces, so you can test your packages in a lab to ensure they withstand the rigors of your distribution channels.”
The article concludes by providing a link to their 12-week online Certificate of Mastery in Packaging Management course.