Packaging audits have become popular with sellers of corrugated and associated packaging products. An added value (no charge) service to help customers reduce packaging costs. Also, a valuable sales tool to uncover information and move away from the unit price.
What should the review include? Widening the scope promises the opportunity to show savings. Yet simultaneously increases the information demands on the provider.
The customer’s perceived value of the review is critical. This varies depending on the buyer’s remit. Demonstrable realisable savings matter alongside the environmental impact. The advisor must be credible.
So, what do customers want? Our view is to keep it simple and relevant.
The case(s) and ancillary items are core to the review. Consignments should be efficient. This applies to pallet or parcel despatches. This covers provision/storage, in-use efficiency and effectiveness, and disposal.
Customer experience is relevant as part of ‘in use’. Yet measurement is subjective and generally outside the remit of a buyer. Audits rarely uncover new information.
Reviewing the efficiency of transactional administration is more akin to bug fixing. It is the supplier’s job to fit in with the existing process rather than trying to create new ones. Invoicing methods do not offer savings – failing to comply adds cost.
Then there are so-called supply chain reviews. Minimising total size and weight is a core element. Participating with other experts from several disciplines can yield new insights. But supply chain reviews are complex. Purporting to provide such a thing free challenges credibility.
On the subject of cutting transport costs, does any customer value this advice:
“Train your drivers in efficient driving techniques, such as accelerating and braking gently.”
That is a real example from a significant packaging business.
What’s your experience?
Our view – plenty of advice is needed in the core area of packaging, such as size, style, strength, process, product portfolio and price. Leave the other stuff to someone else. Be a credible expert.