Shipping a product from its point of manufacture to the retailer can be a significant cost factor in the consumable-product sector. The modern digital print technology that brought flexible packaging to the consumables market also offers a solution to high shipping costs. Flexible product packaging translates into less product packaging. By conforming to the shape and contours of its contents, a flexible package takes up less space than a rigid bottle or box. This reduces the amount of packaging material needed, which is in itself a cost reducer, but in terms of shipping charges, it can also be a money saver. Transport companies and delivery services don’t always charge by weight alone, they may also charge by the amount of space that a product delivery takes up inside of a truck, boat or plane.

Dimensional Shipping Charges

Two of the most well-known and relied-upon carriers, UPS and Fed-X, switched to a dimensional pricing model in 2014. To determine dimensional shipping charges, the volume of a package or carton is first calculated by the traditional Height x Width x Depth formula through the use of laser-scanning equipment. The result is then divided by the carrier’s DIM factor. The DIM factor will be different for each carrier, but it will typically be in the range between 130 and 200. The actual rates and DIM factors will vary between carriers and they may also differ based on domestic or international shipping destinations. The dimensional rate will typically be compared to a package-weight rate and the greater of the two may be applied as the billed shipping charges.

Going Beyond Branding With Flexible Pouch Packaging

To many retailers and consumers, flexible pouch packaging may be viewed primarily as a branding statement. Organic product packaging is often recognizable for its distinctive appearance and a much lesser reliance upon traditional box or can approaches. The format choices and design flexibility afforded by digital pouch printing are attractive options for the organic food sector, but cost reductions add much to this growing industry trend. Because digital pouch printing is by its nature a more cost-effective option for product packaging, many suppliers will see the cost-savings as an up-front production benefit. The reduction in shipping costs, however, can translate into a much greater long-term benefit when a company begins expanding its marketing reach and increasing the number of retail units produced.

Vitamin pouches are a good example of how a flexible approach to packaging can cover a wide range of production, distribution and product-branding needs. By packaging vitamins in space-saving flexible pouches rather than bottles, consumers benefit from the convenience and mobility factor, production costs are reduced and, as an added bonus, less money is spent on dimensional shipping charges. Because pouch packaging also weighs less than bottle containers, money can be saved on shipping costs regardless of whether the carrier applies dimensional or package-weight charges.

A Variety of Benefits and a Growing Industry Trend

As consumable product suppliers compete for market share and strive for greater brand recognition, the industry can expect an increased reliance on the flexibility and cost savings associated with pouch packaging. With the wide range of attractive options that have been made available through the new technology, purchasers of quality organic foods and nutritional supplements will be seeing an increase in innovative and convenient packaging on store shelves.