To ensure your product looks the same when it leaves your warehouse as it does when it arrives at the grocery store’s loading dock or the consumer’s doorstep, take advantage of protective packaging. From Styrofoam peanuts to bubble wrap and custom cut foam, there’s no shortage of ways to keep your products safe. Though how do you determine what kind of protective packaging will best meet your needs? Let’s take a closer look at the two top factors to consider when developing protective packaging for your products.

1.    Cost. One big factor when it comes to developing protective packaging for your products is cost. Ideally, there should be just enough protection in the packaging to keep the product (and its display packaging) from being damaged during the transit or delivery process, but you don’t want so much packaging that it makes the entire package larger — making it more expensive to ship or store — or making it harder for retailers to display.

When selecting protective packaging for your product, remember to think about not only the cost of the packaging, but also to calculate any difference in shipping, storage and delivery. For example, consider these two options:

●     Option A: A standard-sized cardboard box with a custom foam insert packaging

○     Cost: $1.00/each

●     Option B: A custom cardboard box with paper fill

○     Cost: $1.50/each

Since Option A is less expensive than Option B, it may seem like a no-brainer to go with Option A. Yet if you don’t find out all of the costs associated with each option, you’ll be making a mistake. What if you realize that with Option A, you can only ship 40 products on a pallet, and with Option B you can ship 50? Or if you find out after switching all of your packaging that Option A causes overall shipping costs to increase by 23%? Make sure to look at the total costs associated with the process, rather than just the packaging costs themselves when choosing protective packaging.

2.    Climate extremes. To keep products truly protected, consider the different temperature and moisture extremes to which your merchandise will be subjected. Humidity levels and fluctuations in temperature can wreak havoc on adhesives and even packaging substrates — so it’s important to think about the environments your product will be in when developing its packaging.

Think ahead to the different conditions your product will face during the shipping, storage and delivery process. Will product and packaging be carried in a freezer truck to a destination across the state, or will it be placed on a cargo ship bound for United States troops serving in Afghanistan? Will it be stored for weeks or months on end in a non-climate controlled warehouse facility in Texas, or will it be delivered to the consumer’s front porch within days of being produced? The answers to these questions will help you make more informed decisions about the best way to protect your goods.

Make an informed decision about protective packaging

When exploring options for protective packaging for your products, two main factors to consider are the cost of the packaging, and the type of environments to which your products will be subjected to during the storage, shipping and delivery processes. Remember to look at all the costs associated with packaging — including any difference in the costs of shipping and storage — when doing your homework on packaging options. Keep in mind that temperature fluctuations and humidity extremes can have a huge impact on your packaging’s ability to protect. By keeping these factors at the forefront of your decision-making process, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed and successful protective-packaging decision.

Pierce Covert is the president of Glue Machinery Corp., a company that specializes in international distribution of industrial-grade hot melt and cold glue equipment.