When you think of packaging and labeling the first that comes to your mind is that these are related to marketing companies. How they use eye-catching color schemes and branding to get you to buy their product. But the packaging in itself is a whole ecosystem or an industry. It ranges from the packaging of goods for transport to the packaging of the product for the end-user.
Down below we will dissect and have a look at the different stages of the packaging and labeling industry.
The Packaging Of Products For Transportation, Warehousing
This stage is free from all the marketing gimmicks and colorful labeling. Instead, they have a monochrome look to them because most of the packaging is done using brown cardboard boxes.
The packaging starts when the product is ready. Small-sized businesses use manual methods to pack their products. They will usually use packing paper and bubble wrap to cover their product and make it safe for transportation. Then they will stack them in a cardboard box and then tape them. This is the most basic method of packaging.
The sophistication of the process increases as the amount of product that needs to be packaged increases. Most large-scale manufacturing plants or companies use case packing machines to package their products to be moved across and transported to different locations and get warehoused.
These case packing machines are a marvel of engineering because they pack the products with such sophistication that you can choose the allowed weight of the product, select whether to pack individually or not, specify the orientation of the box, and many other options.
These machines keep the supply chain running. They are efficient and also ensure that all necessary safety measures are used in packing so the product does not get destroyed. These machines are also programmed to handle the objects with care and gentleness so if a fragile product is being packaged you do not need to worry.
These machines will then label the boxes or get already labeled boxes. The labeling is mostly barcodes and other identification codes to help in the identification of the contents of the box and where it should be going. They can also have special symbols to inform the handler about how the box should be handled.
Primary & Secondary Packaging
Primary packaging is like the first line of defense for the product. It is used to package the product and keep it away from environmental influences. It can be used to package it individually and usually it is the smallest unit.
Secondary packaging is used to pack the primary packaged units. This packaging has the labeling and it is like a canvas for the marketing and branding teams. The material used in this sort of packaging largely depends upon the type of product. It can range from a simple plastic wrapper to a box.
This packaging is done on automated machines because most products are mass-produced and it is not humanly possible to pack them.
What is Purpose Behind Packaging and Labelling
The packaging and labeling of products have a purpose. All the products that are produced commercially have to cross many hands before they reach the end-user and to ensure that they reach safely it is necessary to provide them with physical protection.
Packaging not only provides physical protection but also acts as a barrier. Barrier protection provides products protection from external factors. It keeps the content clean, sterile, and fresh. Barrier protection also allows manufacturers from keeping the contents of the product from mixing before use such as in paints and lubricants.
It helps the logistics of these products and goods require the management of space, so the containment and grouping of these goods are important. And it is done by packing them and palletizing them. Packing them together can reduce their surface area and they can be accommodated accordingly.
The packaging and labeling of the product help in transmitting the information. They are printed with symbols and labels so they can communicate how to be transported, recycled, or disposed of. Governments also legislate these on medicines and other important products so people can follow the guidelines. They also carry essential information such as expiry date and production date.
The packaging also helps in the security of the product. Since the rise of digital manipulation tools, anyone can recreate the packaging of a certain product and then go on to sell a counterfeit product. Product packaging can have authentication seals and security markings so the buyer can identify between a counterfeit and original product. They can also include tamper-resistant packaging or tamper-evident packaging. These types of packaging stop the adulteration and resale of products because the packaging either does not open up or gets spoilt.
The use of RFID tags has revolutionized retail shopping because these tags can alert the business owner that someone is trying to steal a good. These tags can be simultaneously used to get the figures of the remaining stock.
The packaging of the product can be also used to provide convenience to the handler or the buyer. It can have handles or supports for proper handling. It could be designed to make the distribution easier and the stacking of boxes according to the available space.
Packaging can also be used to size and proportion the servings of a product. It is commonly used in food products but it can also be used for products that are to be used in specific amounts. Portions and serving sizes can be used to divide the packages for use. It also helps people to buy depending upon their needs.
Packaging and labeling help brands to create an identity. They try to make their labeling and packaging as good as possible because that is how they are going to stand out in the crowd. Packaging of the product also helps the brand to tell a story and it is important because that is how people can relate. And it compels them to buy the product even if they don't need it.