5 Ways to Get Higher Quality Retail Packaging from China

Do you want to save money on your product packaging costs, while streamlining distribution and logistics?

Of course you do.

Sourcing product packaging from China is one of the best ways for companies to lower costs and simplify distribution. However, many organizations shy away from this option because of lack of knowledge about doing business in China and misconceptions about business practices and product quality in their factories.

Today, we’re going to share 5 tips with you that will not only dramatically simplify the process of ordering product packaging from China, but also ensure a higher quality finished product.

Be Realistic About Communications

Remember that most of China is about half a day ahead of the US; when you’re eating breakfast, they’re getting ready to turn in for the night. This time differential, combined with a potential language barrier, can make clear and timely communication challenging. Sometimes direct, speedy communication is possible, but planning for a 24-hour timeframe in which to provide or receive important information is a good practice.

Focus on finding a print partner that can provide you timely access to the data you need, and effectively communicate with your team. One of the best ways to do this is by finding a go-to contact at the overseas company who will function as your point person and look out for your interests.

Carefully Evaluate Materials and Factories

Pay attention to both the materials the factory intends to use for your product and which factory you choose. The system for describing paper weight varies between the two nations, for example, so you’ll want to be sure the company understands your request and their product meets expectations. Don’t be afraid to request physical press and preproduction samples to compare against those made by other potential manufacturers before selecting a company to produce your product packaging.

While the reputation of poor quality Chinese goods is largely a relic of the past, it never hurts to verify exactly what you’re ordering.

The best printing partners will even be able to offer you advice that may further improve your bottom line; perhaps a particular base substrate or finishing option has a dramatically different local price profile compared to domestic production, for example.

Monitor Your Internal Processes

Procedures for smoothing the transition to sourcing product packaging overseas are key.

Implementing a strong CRM program to manage individual product detail and overall business processes is an excellent way to ease this process internally. A CRM platform allows you to remotely monitor every aspect of production, from art concepting and prototyping to drop shipping, warehousing, and final distribution. This monitoring alerts you to potential disruptions in your supply chain.

The ideal printing partner will work with you over time to iron out any kinks in the system. This will help you build a more reliable and flexible supply chain for your packaging distribution over time.

Consult with Structural Engineers and Designers for Creative Finishes

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your Chinese partner’s expertise.

Find out what materials and finishes they have experience with, and have your contact guide you through a re-evaluation of your entire package design from top to bottom.

Finding a factory that employs a structural engineer is an added bonus. Sometimes structural or artistic changes can be made to product packaging that improve shelf appeal, and other times small adjustments simplify shipping needs.

At sufficient order volumes (which even small and mid-sized organizations can achieve, if their printing partner is able and willing to extend them warehousing and delayed distribution options), almost all finishing options are very cost efficient in China, which can enable the production of some incredible designs.

Pay Attention to Color Consistency

One final challenge to be aware of is color consistency. Getting a final product to stay consistent with its concepts, designs, and samples is a constant challenge in the print industry. This potential pitfall magnifies in scope if your packaging volume requires the services of multiple facilities.

Finding a partner that can help you accurately translate from RGB values to CYMK for printing, monitoring the colors using a spectrophotometer, and then ensuring that the factory’s presses are producing as programmed can be a difficult process. The best way to ensure that this will not become an issue for you is to request physical press samples before production begins, and verify that they meet your expectations.

While there are a variety of challenges associated with shifting the production of your packaging to China, in almost all cases the benefits outweigh the costs. As long as you perform your due diligence when it comes to evaluating potential partners, and work on developing a strong relationship with clear communication, you should be able to find several facilities capable of serving your needs – most of whom will be able to do so at significant cost savings to your business.
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