Indirectly, packaging has been considered throughout the discussion in this and the previous chapter. However, this section highlights and expands on the three aspects of the product package. First, the package is a tool for product promotion and use. Second, it provides protection for the product. Finally, it is an instrument for improved distribution efficiency. Designing a package therefore requires consideration of a number of interest areas. Walter Friedman has summarized the status of packaging in many firms and noted logistics responsibility toward it:
. Marketing management continues to look at packaging strictly from a sales point of view. Packaging engineers, frequently reporting to Purchasing or Manufacturing, look at a package only as a protective device. Only physical-distribution management can look at packaging broadly and conceive of changes in design, size, media of transportation, etc., which will contribute to the effectiveness of the distribution system. Packaging truly has many faces.
Packaging for the Customer
Walk into any modern retail store and note the colorful array of products. Products? No,
packages! The packages may be necessary to protect products, but marketers have used them
to good advantage in promoting their firms' products. Consider just a few of the ways.
First, the package provides an attractive method for getting the company's message across to
customers. It may be used to convey price information and the virtues of the product. The
package is an advertisement.
Second, the package dimensions may have to conform to shelf-space requirements in stores.
This offers consumers the greatest exposure to the product among the other products
competing for the same shelf space. Consider the 4 shelf-space advantage that
Pringles created by nesting its potato chips in a canister that is more damage proof,
more regular in shape, and less perishable, and that has an improved bulk-to-weight
ratio compared with regular potato-chip packaging.
Finally, the package may offer some utility that enhances the product.
Packaging for Protection
One of the basic reasons for incurring the added expense of packaging is to reduce the occurrence of damage, loss through theft or misplaced goods, or spoilage. The greatest concern of the logistician for most of the products that must be handled is damage. To determine how much packaging material is required, the logistician must determine the exposure to damage that a product is likely to receive. The logistician may wish to send test packages through the distribution/supply system to see how they hold up, or exposure may be simulated by using laboratory tests such as the vibration test, the compression test, the impact test, or the drop test. Some test data are available through sources outside the firm. For example, the National Safe Transit Committee has reported on the various shock levels incurred by test shipments when handled and moved by air, truck, rail, and freight-forwarder methods. The interesting result is that, except for the shock level that occurs in rail car switching, the highest level of shock occurs in handling, and it is roughly the same for all these transport services. This challenges the often heard claim that package requirements can be reduced if shipments are by air rather than track, or by truck rather than rail. Designing the package for security is worth at least brief mention, considering the problem that it has become these days. The possibility of pilferage can be important in determining package design factors, especially for products that are small and of high value, such as cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and hand tools. Packaging can act as a deterrent primarily by increasing the difficulty of pilferage. Increasing the size of the package, creating a package by banding otherwise loose products together, and making cartons more difficult to open by using stronger materials and glues are some simple solutions to the problem.
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