Tips for Procurement Managers: Sourcing the Right Packaging Solution

Your clients have a variety of packaging needs, and the market offers a variety of packaging solutions. But, with endless options, where to begin?

Sourcing the right packaging materials is the most important aspect of your job. Not only does it impact the safety, integrity and efficiency of the products during transportation, but good client relationships hinge on good packaging decisions.

Here are some valuable tips to help you source the best packaging materials for your clients:

  1. Research suppliers

Choosing the best packaging partner/supplier is key. Good suppliers will treat your clients as their own and go the extra mile to take care of your bottom line. Look for suppliers with a track record of delivering high-quality materials on time and within budget. Consider factors such as their range of products, their ability to handle bulk orders and their willingness to provide samples for testing purposes.

Also, look for suppliers with a strong network. This is especially important for clients who need specialized packaging. For example, let’s say your client wants custom paper packaging that’s coated to keep out moisture and oxygen. Your supplier may not specialize in coating solutions, but do they know suppliers who do? Outsourcing is a great tool so long as your supplier can manage all the moving parts.

  1. Effective sourcing means effective systems

One thing procurement managers might consider when optimizing their sourcing strategy is spend aggregation or the practice of consolidating all transactions across their organization into a streamlined system across suppliers.

There is the potential for hundreds, even thousands, of packaging materials to be sourced in aggregate. This involves a large number of components and variations in dimensions, colors, designs, etc. across the packaging portfolio.

No matter what system or software you choose to use, an aggregation strategy can improve the process of large-scale material sourcing. It also enables you to increase spending volume and gain leverage across your supply base. The more purchasing power you can show, the greater interest and competitiveness among your suppliers.

  1. Consider sustainable options

Environmental consciousness is increasingly vital in the packaging industry. Seek out packaging materials that are eco-friendly and align with your clients’ sustainability goals. Look for options like recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable. Sustainable packaging not only benefits the environment but also enhances your clients’ image and reputation.

Sustainable also means reusable. A simple and eco-friendly solution for shipping products is the ever-reliable corrugated box. Materials like recyclable bubble wrap are also great options!

However, multi-use containers can be used thousands of times and save you and your supplier network the cost of traditional packaging supplies. Clients with a green mindset won’t mind the significant first-time investment and will stay focused on the long-term benefits.

  1. Stay informed about industry trends

The packaging industry is constantly evolving, with new materials and technologies entering the market regularly. To stay ahead, make it a priority to be informed about the latest innovations. Attend trade shows, participate in workshops, and engage with industry experts to gain insights into emerging packaging solutions.

This also means staying ahead of material costs. Many factors affect prices, like supply and demand, macroeconomic influences like inflation, and geopolitical events. Supply chain challenges and policy changes can also drive costs up or down. If you know a certain material cost is trending upward, you’ll be one step ahead in providing more cost-effective packaging solutions to your clients.

Whatever your packaging material needs, Ivex is your sourcing expert. We have a vertically integrated streamlined process, multiple locations across North America, and the packaging design talent to take on your most complicated projects. If you’d like to see if we are the right packaging partner for you, don’t hesitate to contact us!