What to look for in a packaging supplier – 7 questions to ask

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a packaging supplier in the UK, and it can be difficult to choose the right company for your unique purposes. Branded packaging is one of the most important things that a business will invest in – it’s what your customers see when they receive their package, and establishes the all-important first impression; it’s got to be right! That’s why we’ve gathered our top 7 questions to ask when considering a new packaging supplier.


Do they have a good packaging product range?

Before you get started, you need to have a reasonable idea of what it is that you want/need. A good supplier will be able to advise you further, so don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers, but you should have an idea of what you want your end goal to be.

Once you know this, you’ll want to have a look at the suppliers’ packaging products. Can they offer branded packaging, or bespoke packaging made to order? You’ll want to be reassured that they have good stock levels to avoid potential delays and make sure that they can offer everything, from printed to plain, small to large and with all varieties of fluting and thicknesses. 


Have they got an in-house die cutting service to make bespoke packaging?

A die cutter uses custom-built tools to manufacture precision cut bespoke packaging products. A good die cutting service will facilitate orders from a few 100 through to 100s of thousands of boxes, allowing them the flexibility to create your tailored packaging design in the quantities that you need. 

By having an in-house die cutter, your packaging supplier can be flexible to meet your requirements.


What’s the supplier’s expertise?

With there being a whole host of packaging solutions on the market, it’s important to understand your potential supplier’s expertise. Your supplier should understand your pain points and have experience in dealing with similar issues. This will allow them to assure you that their packaging products are able to fulfil your requirements. Consider everything from packaging boxes, materials, distribution, branding, etc. – does their expertise suit your organisation?

You’ll also want to know whether your supplier works predominantly with SMEs, medium-sized businesses or larger enterprises; find out how they’ve met their current customers’ needs and how they plan to do the same with you.


How expensive is their service?

Naturally, one of the first things you’ll want to know about is how much their packaging products are going to set you back. Compare quotes between suppliers, but remember that cheaper doesn’t necessarily equal better.

Consider everything – customer service, product quality, diversity of offering, etc. Cheap boxes might result in disaster down the line, so it’s important to strike the balance between profit and functionality. Nothing reflects worse on a brand than a product arriving damaged, or in a box that’s presented poorly. Not only this, but a damaged reputation and returns costs will hurt your bottom line in the long run. 

Consult with packaging experts if you need more advice on what’s a reasonable spend on your packaging boxes. 


How quickly do they work?

Finding a totally flexible packaging company can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but they do exist!

Many modern businesses are fast paced, with consumers expecting rapid turnarounds and extremely quick deliveries. You need a supplier that can provide last-minute packaging solutions for emergencies, as well as long-term, perfectly timed & scheduled packaging. The ideal situation is finding a local company who can handle the pressure of short timescales.


What’s their customer service like?

You’ll be working with your packaging supplier a lot. When we say a lot, we mean it, so it’s important that their customer service is second to none. Make sure that your packaging supplier makes the whole process hassle free – they should respond quickly to your enquiries, be able to resolve any issues in a timely manner and provide a point of contact for you so that you can always get in contact. 

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a supplier with a personal touch. It’s much easier to conduct business when dealing with someone who knows the industry inside and out, so make sure you know how experienced your contact with the business is. 


Can they store stock for you?

Lots of smaller businesses struggle to allocate storage space for 1000s of flat-packed packaging boxes, which means that they often miss out on the cost benefits of bulk buying. Your supplier should offer a stock and serve service, where they store your packaging in a secure warehouse and allow you to draw down as and when you require it – this allows you to enjoy the lower costs of bulk buying without having to find the storage space required. 


Excellent packaging solutions with ESS Packaging

Your packaging represents your brand; it’s the crucial first impression for your customer – getting it right is important. Whether you need fully tailored die-cut packaging, bulk boxes, contract packing, R&D bespoke services, or all of the above, ESS Packaging provides the end-to-end solution you’ve been looking for.

For advice tailored to your business, get in touch with our specialists today. Our friendly team are on hand to discuss your packaging needs and suggest how best to fulfil your requirements.