Published Thursday 7th March 2019
There are few things as important to a business operation as the packaging. Not only is the product packaging crucial in terms of leaving an impression on consumers, but the quantity of materials used across the production supply chain in areas such as distribution can have a tangible effect on a business’ bottom line. When companies are looking to cut costs, they must consider their current packaging costs, accrued directly or indirectly as a result of inefficiencies along the production line.
Often when businesses have a long and proud tradition, inefficiencies can be left to build in a range of areas. When it comes to packaging, many companies don’t notice the potential savings they could be making without the help of a fresh set of eyes, not influenced by previous practices. With environmental and economic pressures mounting, many industries are deciding that now is the time to evaluate long-standing packaging arrangements.
The Wine Bottle Conundrum
The wine bottle is a classic, instantly recognisable product design that has remained relatively unchanged since the 19th century. These slim, long-necked cases are the industry standard, used as confirmation of their contents as much as for their taste and luxury status. It is estimated that the global wine industry creates over 35 billion glass wine bottles every year, the majority of which are produced, transported and sold across the world.
The issue with glass wine bottles is their unique shape. Based off a centuries-old design, these irregular bottles are often boxed in cases of six or twelve because there are few feasible alternatives. However, this packaging style creates a lot of unused airspace which ends up as extra costs, or missed savings, for the business.
However, an innovative British company is offering a solution to this problem with the creation of ‘letterbox’ wine cases. Garçon Wines, launched in 2017, have developed a flat bottle that contains the same liquid content as regular wine bottles but with 21st century commerce in mind. Their recycled plastic, taste-friendly bottles weigh 87% less than traditional glass cases, while their shape allows for ten full wine bottles to be compactly transported in a case that would have previously only held four.
This product is an example of a company reinventing traditions for the new market, creating vast cost-saving opportunities that were previously unseen. Originally sold as an online novelty gift, Garçon Wines are now in discussions with other wine producers with an eye on introducing their design further into the age-old industry.
The Environmental Challenges Facing Packaging
The importance of evaluating packaging trends will only increase during the next few years, as environmentally-friendly reforms begin to take shape at national and international levels. The new German packaging regulation designed to put more responsibility on the producer is likely to be mirrored across countries, as Extended Product Responsibility is rolled out as a worldwide standard for all industries.
Moreover, the importance of being seen as eco-conscious by the modern consumer will only increase as further education concerning packaging’s effect on the global climate intensifies. The problem for many businesses is the belief that an eco-friendly approach immediately means increased packaging costs. However, Garçon Wines is just one example where streamlining packaging expenses not only leads to a more environmentally-friendly product but also helps to reduce costs along the supply chain. The head of e-commerce at US packaging giant DS Smith said in an interview that “sustainability often goes hand in hand with cost reductions,” as saving money on excessive distribution also results in lower carbon emissions being associated with the business.
Regulation changes also mean that companies, regardless of product, must start looking at new ways they can streamline their material use. At ERA, we have experts with leading business experience that can help you reduce your packaging expenses. We have been working in the UK since 1992, helping businesses in a range of industries save money through effective procurement strategies. An external outlook could help to create new cost savings where you previously thought none were possible, so if you’re interested in improving your margins this year, why not get in contact with our team today?