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The importance of thoughtful packaging planning forecasts

Wim Henk Stoppkotte
Written by
Wim Henk Stoppkotte
/ Published on
December 12, 2022
Every time a new packaging project discussion starts, one of the first questions a packaging supplier will ask about is an approximate annual volume estimate. Often, the response is that the volume is unknown. The annual volume of package units for a given project can have a significant impact on structural design considerations, converting machinery selection, tooling size, and the level of automation appropriate for the production volume. These factors all impact the cost of packaging components, and some assumptions will need to be made in order to produce the cost estimates you need to make decisions, and are explained in more detail below.
Planning board

Design Elements

The unit volume of a new product package is critical in several ways.  For smaller volumes, some manual or semi-automated filling processes may be used to fill the package. In cases like these, packages will be configured for manual and slow speed production, allowing for people to set up, glue or lock components together, place the contents into a package and possibly use small equipment to assist.  High volume production packaging will be designed with fully automated machinery in mind, specifically to allow for high-speed filling.  

Converting Machinery and Tooling

Almost all customized packaging materials will have machine setup times and a run times related to production and cost of your packaging.  Knowing the annual or batch volume anticipated will allow the packaging supplier to optimize your costs by planning your production on appropriate capacity machinery.  For example, carton orders of 50 thousand, 250 thousand and 1 million annual units would almost certainly be produced on different size equipment which runs at throughput rates.  Tooling, therefore, will be laid out in terms of number of cavities on a mold or numbers up on a sheet etc., according to the best production efficiency based on the volume forecast provided.


Level of Automation for Package Filling

Of course machine efficiencies are critical in making profits, so based on the unit volume of your packaging project, the package will be filled in a manual, semi-automated or fully automated process.  Factors influencing these plans are impacted by a number of variables, such as equipment on hand, capital budget, risk management, contract packager’s equipment, confidence in the product’s success and growth, and more. Whatever your strategy may be for the project, it is valuable information to share with your packaging supplier so that thoughtful design, tooling and equipment planning, as described above, can be taken into consideration to allow for your product’s volume growth.  By doing this, it is possible in many cases to avoid package design revisions and tooling replacements to as your product sales commercialize, but more importantly, minimizing the capital risk on the filling equipment by avoiding a major structural design change needed to your packaging if your sales outgrow the packaging process you invested in.

Early Cost Estimate Requests

Early on in your project vetting process, you will want to know some rough cost estimates to determine whether this package format is worth pursuing for your particular project.  Even if you are not certain on your unit volume needed, those quantities are very important to understand when a packaging materials supplier is preparing any quote.  For all customized packaging components, there are a number of variables in the package component that will have a significant impact on the cost.  It’s important to have an understanding of these elements to develop an optimal package for your product in terms of design, production rate and cost.  

The best packaging outcome will be one that includes a functional design that can be manufactured and filled with an efficient process for the volume level.  Some careful planning early on will deliver greater results in the long term. Feel free to contact a partner for an easier and successful approach.

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Ecobliss Pharmaceutical cold seal wallet
Do you want to experience first hand the usability and quality of our packaging solutions? We'll send you one!
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Wim Henk Stoppkotte

Wim Henk Stoppkotte

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