Whether you’re a new or seasoned brand, looking to create new packaging or simply revamp your current look, it’s key to find a supplier that fits well enough to become an extension of your brand. But when it comes to picking the right packaging partner, you can be stuck wondering where to begin.
To help guide you in finding the best flexible packaging company for your brand, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions that should lead you to the ideal partnership.
Let’s dive in.
Do Your Research
A good place to start is to research a few companies that you’re interested in and spend time learning more about them. Visit their websites and social media, look at their past work, and check their reviews. Scour their websites to see if they have the capabilities that you need. Also, it can be invaluable to talk to other brands that have used them to get a sense of how well they work with their customers.
And don’t be nervous about reaching out to the companies directly. Most will have sales and marketing teams ready to answer your call, email, or social media message. Even if you’re not exactly sure of your exact needs, it can be beneficial to at least get some more information from knowledgeable sources at the different packaging companies.
When you speak with the different companies that you’re interested in potentially working with, ask specific questions about their capabilities, typical turnaround time, minimum orders and what types of companies they typically work with. We covered the ten questions to ask when hiring a flexible packaging company, click here to read the post.
Decide What Kind of Company You Want to Work With
If you’re a new brand, then the different flexible packaging printing methods may be an entirely new concept. In short, there are two types of printing methods: digital and conventional flexographic. We cover the major differences between the two and the benefits of digital printing in this post.
If you’re looking for faster turnaround, crisp graphics, and the ability to make changes on the fly, digital is the way to go. With digital, you also have the ability to take advantage of Variable Data Printing solutions like consumer engagement programs, track and trace, digital-only design capabilities like HP Mosaic, and more.
What can we say, we’re a little biased when it comes to digital print.
Decide Where Do You Want Your Packaging Developed
One thing you may have never considered is the location of the packaging company you’re working with. While there are a handful of reputable companies in the United States, a large number of flexible packaging providers are located overseas.
When ordering packaging from a company overseas, you can run into longer lead times (upwards of 6-8 weeks, if not more), and high minimum orders. While the per package cost may appear to be lower than packaging made locally, you also need to factor in shipping costs, turnaround time, the potential for obsolete inventory, and tariffs. If turnaround time and minimums aren’t a problem for your brand, ordering from overseas may be the best route.
If you’re a small or medium-sized brand looking for smaller order sizes and a much quicker turnaround, then working with a local company may make more sense. When you partner with a local flexible packaging company, especially one using digital presses like ePac, fast turnaround time, low minimum orders and the ability to order to demand is the norm. Depending on the company you choose to work with, and how closely you’re located to their plant, you may even have the opportunity to see your packaging being produced firsthand. Not to mention the face-to-face connection with your packaging team, which, to us, is a priceless advantage to working with a local company.
Your Order Size Matters
If you need a large number of packaging over a long period of time, the market is open and easier to traverse. However, if you are a small or medium-sized business, you may be looking to order small quantities of packaging at a time. If you’re a newer start-up, you may be interested in trying a short run of a product before ordering a large number of packages. Even if you’re a larger business, you may have a short term project, like a limited edition or similarly one-off product.
It’s important when looking for a packaging partner to find out their minimum orders so you can see if they fit your packaging needs. Some packaging companies have a minimum number of impressions (individual packages) they need from brands to partner with them, while others, like ePac, have a minimum order dollar amount. Finding out the minimum orders early in the conversation with a packaging company can be the difference between a quick turnaround and a deadend.
With digital printing in particular, low minimum orders is a speciality. This allows brands to have the flexibility and creativity to match market demand with smaller amounts of product. You can rest easy without the danger of having too much packaging and it becoming obsolete in a quickly shifting marketplace.
Know How Quickly You Want Your Orders
Whether you have a trade show in a couple weeks or you have limited edition Halloween packaging and it’s July, you will be looking for the quickest turnaround around. When you have a pressing deadline, the turnaround becomes one of the key pieces in choosing a packaging partner.
Make sure that in initial talks and research into the companies that you ask about turnaround times. Knowing the typical turnaround time allows you to know how long it will take to receive new orders, as well as updated orders if you want to make any changes to your design. With conventional printing, the industry standard is about 6-8 weeks. If you’re timeline is tighter than that, digital printing can deliver finished packaging to you in as little as 10 days.
Design Changes Should Be Taken Into Consideration
You may feel like you’re packaging is finished and ready to go, when suddenly you need to add a new ingredient to your recipe, or get an exciting new certification, or find that your team would rather the pouch be blue rather than teal. Change happens, especially if you’re a new brand. You will need to factor in possible design changes to both your timeline and budget, but make sure that you’re working with a partner that’s able to account for that flexibility.
With conventional printing, every new change means a new plate needs to be created before your order can be re-printed. New plates mean new costs and a longer turnaround, so you may have to think twice before you add anything. Digital, on the other hand, only needs a new pdf file to get your new packaging design printing, which doesn’t put such a hurt on your wallet and timeline.
Hiring The Best Packaging Partner For Your Brand
As you begin the process of hiring the right flexible packaging supplier, first determine your needs, and which printing technology is the best fit. The right supplier that will work with you to help you grow your brand by leveraging quality packaging and a simple ordering process. At ePac, we aim to create a partnership that will ensure your digitally printed packaging is a reflection of your brand. Give us a call at 844-623-8603 or send us a note to discuss if we would be a good addition to your brand.