Andy Barnetson, Director of Packaging Affairs, Confederation of Paper Industries, explains how corrugated packs pedal power…
Whatever the shape or size of a product, not only is attractive and easy opening packaging important for enticing consumers to spend their hard-earned cash, but also for improving supply chain efficiency for brand owners.
While the primary function of corrugated is transporting goods, the material’s more recent evolution into a key component of shopper marketing is providing retailers with a more flexible supply chain approach. Many retailers are demanding multifaceted packaging for protection and eye-catching presentation on shelves, but another element making corrugated the preferred choice is the speed in getting goods to the marketplace.
To meet these expectations, the Corrugated Industry has invested heavily in designing boxes which save on storage space and cut costs. It is also incorporating easier opening features, such as perforations and handles, to give quicker access to products. These innovations are making corrugated a highly functional element throughout the supply chain.
There has also been considerable expenditure by the industry on the latest printing technologies to meet the increased use of corrugated material as a marketing tool. Corrugated Shelf Ready Packaging can be printed in up to six colours to an exceptional standard, which allows for greater visible representation of the product on the outer packaging.
ON YER BIKE
Through innovative thinking, coupled with investing millions of pounds in printing and die-cutting technology, the Corrugated Industry is rising to the challenges set by retailers in both logistics and marketing terms. Today’s corrugated provides three crucial functions – protection so that they arrive in mint condition, attractive presentation and quicker placement on store shelves.
For example, Cotic, a manufacturer of bespoke road and mountain bikes, turned to corrugated when it wanted a complete makeover of its packaging to visually reflect the vibrancy and feel-good factor of the brand when it reached the consumer. To meet growing demand, the independent bike company required a modular distribution pack, with corrugated fittings for all the bike parts, to create the ‘designed from scratch’ lifestyle the company wanted to portray. The packaging needed to be of a highly attractive style, protect the bike in the supply chain and provide a consistent method of packing that reduced transit damage.
This project was perfect for corrugated’s inbuilt versatility and cushioning qualities that provide the optimum protective packaging as well as stand-out sale appeal, replacing Cotic’s previous mixture of plastic bubble wrap and time-consuming hand cut packaging. An outer box was designed to accommodate a bike with the front wheel separated and the handle bars removed. Using locking tabs enabled Cotic to dispense with tape that previously secured the pack, making the box easier to open, more aesthetically appealing and simple to recycle by the consumer – and a more sustainable solution as all the transit packaging is now corrugated.
Wide ranging properties of corrugated can be readily tailored to fit any product and suit the rapidly changing demands of the supply chain. The industry devotes time and resource to understanding the customer requirements, so as to design a box that offers optimum performance, reducing unnecessary wastage.
Over 80% of corrugated is recycled in the UK, the highest recycling rate for any packaging material, and where virgin fibre is used, it comes from sustainable forests, typically using fast-growing softwoods such as pine and spruce, which are accredited by either the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The Cotic transit pack is 100% FSC® corrugated.
This innovative supply chain packaging also becomes a selling point as the result is that, upon opening, the bicycle is presented to the customer in a logical and pleasing manner that reflects its high profile.
Cotic says it has had great feedback about the new packaging, adding that the appearance and look and feel of the packing when the customer receives the bike is a big plus. One of its bike testers said it was the most pleasingly effective and efficient use of bike packing he’d ever seen.
Advances in corrugated technology are making it ever more possible to deliver complex structures whilst incurring minimal wastage. Its exceptional environmental credentials are a highly compelling attribute within a retail marketing climate that is increasingly demanding greater sustainability.
Corrugated packaging protects around 75% of goods in transit. Through various packaging innovations, the Corrugated Industry is providing creative retail ready packaging, while still delivering the supply chain with a highly functional solution that enables both suppliers and consumers to benefit from improved product marketing and presentation.