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Why does Custom Packaging take so long?

Businesses that use custom packaging not only build brand identity but can easily promote other products or offers. Despite the advantages that custom packaging entails, it is a really time-consuming process. In fact, custom packaging definitely takes a longer time to manufacture than the traditional packaging. For custom packaging, the packaging lead times can be anywhere between a few weeks to a couple of months. Hence, if anybody wishes to introduce a new custom packaging for their product, say, for the festive season or the holidays, it is essential to start planning early. Custom boxes are generally delivered in three distinct phases:

  1. Prepress
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Shipping

Each of these distinct phases have their own time requirement and none can really be done overnight. For example, compared to the other phases, the actual cutting and printing of the boxes take shorter time. Moreover, there is very less difference between the time needed to make thousand of boxes or a lakh. Phases involving proofing, setting up of the tools, and shipping are a lot more time-consuming.

READ: How is custom packaging transforming the market?

Custom Packaging Step #1: Prepress

Prepress is the phase between creating of the actual print layout and the final printing. When you order a custom box, the prepress team sends you a digital proof to check whether they have correctly understood all the details of your order or to approve of the optimizations used during manufacturing. This process involves a lot of back forth till the final specifications have been finalized. Once both the parties are satisfied, and the digital proofs are approved, the next stage begins, that is the manufacturing.

Custom Packaging Step#2: Manufacturing

The manufacturing of custom packaging involves cutting the board and printing on it. The cutting and printing can be done in just a few hours. However, setting up the tooling and the inks for printing takes longer. This involves the setting up of customized cutting dies that will be uniquely designed for your box.

Custom Packaging - Setting up custom cutting dies
Image Courtesy: Pak Factory

For printing the boxes in bulk, offset lithography is most commonly used. This again involves setting up the printing plates that will be uniquely made for your order only. In order to significantly reduce this tooling time, businesses can opt for digital printing processes and laser cut for corrugated boxes.

Custom Packaging - Printing Process
Image Courtesy: Pinterest

READ: Lithography V/S Flexography: Which printing process suits your business needs?

Custom Packaging Step #3: Shipping

After the boxes are manufactured, they are moved from the manufacturing space and are prepared for shipping. The custom boxes need to be packed properly, according to the customized shape, before they are shipped. These boxes are bundled, loaded onto the pallets, and wrapped before loading onto the shipping vehicle. Once the order has been shipped, the time taken for your order to reach depends solely upon the transit time and transportation conditions.

Custom packaging Boxes
Image Courtesy: UPackaging

In order to reduce the shipping time, you can upgrade for faster delivery, but that is a very costly option. Hence, it is a good idea to start your custom packaging a couple of months earlier you actually need it. When you order custom packaging, you need to understand a number of phases with manual and automated intervention are involved. It takes time to deliver a custom packaging order and if it is required within a short time frame, the manufacturing costs will definitely skyrocket. When you are ordering thousands of units of custom packaging, neither you nor the packaging manufacturer can afford to make any mistakes. So, if you want to ensure the custom packaging is ready as quickly as possible, you will have to communicate quick and precise decisions.

OR Invest in an efficient artwork management software that makes your artwork approval process superfast.

A business that is thoroughly aware of the processes involved in the manufacturing of packaging, can save a lot of time by closely collaborating with their procurement partner or supplier. In the manufacturing world, there are a lot of variables and practical reasons involved as to why one manufacturer can print in three weeks, while the other may take a month. Always remember, the fastest may not always be the best. The cheapest might be because of the timing of your order.

Hence, it is recommended that businesses should first research about the concerned manufacturers, discuss the complete idea before placing a customized packaging order. Has your company faced any problems while ordering custom packaging? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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