Relationships and Packaging Industry Growth


In the United States, the continued growth of the packaging industry can be attributed in part to the fact that thousands upon thousands of new products are introduced each year.  Better technology and new innovations also aid in such growth.  Companies may update or upgrade their packaging equipment to acquire more speed, a smaller footprint or any number of other improvements.  Consumer taste and preference also plays a part in expanding the packaging industry.  For example, greener, environmentally friendly packaging is currently helping make a push away from plastic bottles toward pouches and other container materials.  But a lesser known factor in the growth of the packaging industry globally is tied in to international relations. 

Recently, Peru has seen dramatic increases in their GDP and in packaging projects.  Peru's GDP grow by 9.8 percent for 2008, 8.78 percent in 2010 and 6.92 percent in 2011. There is no secret to the success of this country.  On the contrary, the root of their success is simple to trace.  Peru belongs to the CAN trade bloc, which works to promote trade between the South American Andean countries.  In addition, Peru is an associate member of Mercosur, another customs union which includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.  Together, these two trading blocs have been working to improve trade among South American countries.  Finally, in 2009, Peru signed a free trade agreement with the United States.  In summary, Peru's GDP, and their packaging industry, has been thriving as of late because of their international relationships.  The lessons obviously learned by Peru can be applied to anyone packaging a product, whether globally or on a national or regional scale.

As a packager, relationships can make or break your company.  Obviously, your relationships with your customers and potential customers are incredibly important, and will be handled by a (hopefully) competent marketing department.  It is somewhat of a surprise, then, that a separate department is not created to handle relationships with suppliers and packaging machinery manufacturers.  No doubt there are some companies that do have such departments, but more seem to have a purchasing department that looks only at the bottom line, purchasing supplies and equipment from whoever presents the best price, at times never buying from the same company twice.  While economics and cost should certainly be a factor in any purchase, the benefits of establishing a relationship with suppliers and packaging machinery manufacturers are often overlooked.

First, in the packaging industry and across the business world, establishing an ongoing relationship with a supplier almost always leads to better prices in the long haul.  Many businesses simply reward loyalty.  Second, ongoing relationships usually mean the supplier has a better understanding of your business as well as your needs.  The supplier, through repeated contact, almost becomes an employee of the company.  Finally, in the packaging industry, there always seems to be surprises.  Working together with an established supplier will help not only to correct these surprises, but also to avoid many of them.

Let's imagine a company mass producing and packaging energy drinks.  Once the product has been created, the packager must choose a bottle, cap and label to market the product as well as machinery to package the product.  The packaging machinery will likely consist of a rinsing machine, liquid filler, capping machine and labeling equipment, as well as a power conveyor system, since this product will be mass produced.  While it may seem prudent to choose the bottle, cap and label that will cost the packager the least amount of money, this may not always be the best course of action.  Some bottles are simply not rigid enough to work efficiently on automatic packaging machinery.  The money saved in purchasing a cheap bottle may be lost when it becomes necessary to include a nitrogen purge machine on the packaging line, or shift back to manual labor when too many bottles are ruined by the liquid filler or capping machine.  Similarly, some caps may be so weak that they will strip and inconsistently tighten regardless of the time spent tuning the automatic capper.  Labels may also be aesthetically pleasing, but wrinkle upon application.  Finding a supplier for these products that you can trust and turn to when these issues arise may be worth the few extra dollars spent on bottles, caps and labels.

Of course, it is not always the fault of the material suppliers when automatic packaging systems seem to fail.  Packaging machinery manufacturers may build a standard machine to handle a wide variety of products.  Beware the manufacturer who send out pricing quotations for conveyors, filling and capping machines, container cleaning equipment or any other packaging machine without first discussing the project in detail.  Each and every packaging project will have unique aspects.  While a pump filler will work with a variety of products, the type of pump used will depend on the product itself.  The height adjustment for filling and capping machines will depend on the range of bottles to be used.  The type of labeler will also depend on the containers but also upon the label application desired - wrap, front and back, panel, etc.  Imagine the company producing the energy drink took the same route with their packaging equipment.  A couple years later, the company decides to add a new, bigger bottle to their line, only to discover that the conveyors cannot be adjusted to handle the width and the filler cannot be adjusted to handle the height.  When contacting the packaging machinery manufacturer, they are told that the only option is to purchase new machinery, a costly and unexpected "option". 

Again, establishing a relationship with a packaging machine manufacturer from the beginning of a project gives the manufacturer the opportunity to learn not just about your project, but your expectations - both current and future.  By understanding your goals, the manufacturer can better produce packaging machinery to serve your unique needs.  The relationship also gives the packager a valuable resource for consultation, repairs, parts and other expert advise for the heart of their business - the packaging system.  If you are a new packager, put some time, thought and research into selecting your material and machinery suppliers.  These are relationships that you should expect to exist for the duration of your business.  And the money you expect to save by purchasing based only on price may end up costing you much more than expected in the future.

Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc. is a manufacturer of economical, reliable packaging machinery.  If you have questions about your packaging project or any of the machinery manufactured by LPS, call a representative toll free today at 1-888-393-3693.