As a manufacturer, one of your main goals is balancing the right amount of product in stock. With too little, you run at inopportune times, which causes customers to purchase elsewhere. With too much, you pay unnecessarily high costs for inventory management.
To maintain a competitive advantage in the ever-changing manufacturing world, optimizing your supply chain — especially in the areas of manufacturing and packaging — can provide efficiencies and cost savings.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the growth of e-commerce has had a significant impact on packaging sectors, including flexible packaging, which had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% between 2020 and 2021. This growth occurred in a single year, seeing a dip of 16.5% in U.S. manufacturing.
With roots stemming back to the 1950s, the flexible packaging market is a significant product in the procurement industry due to its efficiency, customizability, and sustainability.
Flexible packaging is a type of package or container made of flexible material, which, when filled, can still easily change shape. Though there are many examples of flexible packaging, a few examples include:
- Blister packaging
- Flexible laminates
- Woven bags
There would be no such thing as vendor negotiation if prices were set in stone. Yet decisions in government, international relations, speculation, and supply and demand shape market trends and price fluctuations, requiring procurement professionals in the manufacturing industry to develop and implement vital vendor negotiation techniques.
Restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic appear to be lifting, and some people are resting easier. Nevertheless, many organizations faced upheavals and disruptions that have left systems and processes tattered and, in many cases, broken. Moving ahead, managers can try to revert to the old ways of doing things ... or they can embrace change, learn how to solve procurement challenges, and adjust procurement strategies and processes to tackle the new realities.
Most were glad to leave 2020 behind. Yet, for all the uncertainties and unusual changes the world faced, people also learned important lessons and, as a result, changed their habits in ways that will be in effect for years to come. Nowhere is this more apparent than in manufacturing procurement.
Remote work, social distancing, supply chain issues, shortages, and other disruptions have permanently reshaped operating strategy trends and created new opportunities for cost-saving initiatives in procurement. The operational landscape has altered, and many long-held practices are being adjusted to reflect the new reality.
Partly due to the pandemic and partly because of advances in technology, several trends have emerged in 2021 that promise to affect procurement strategies for years to come. Additionally, these changes offer new cost-saving opportunities. Below are four trends and cost-saving initiatives in procurement that every manager should consider implementing.
Interesting times are ahead for companies that purchase significant pulp and paper volumes, a group that includes virtually any manufacturer with packaging needs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index, from February 2020 to February 2021, pulp and paper prices increased more than 5%. Data published by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank shows that corrugated prices increased approximately 11.5% between September 2020 and March 2021. These price increases will soon show up in packaging costs...if they aren’t already.
Most of us were glad to see 2020 come to an end. Many changes brought about by the pandemic are becoming permanent, causing businesses to respond in new and innovative ways. Suppliers have had to react to pandemic-driven disruptions in creative ways, and the impact of demand shifts along the supply chain has caused procurement organizations to need to quickly adapt.
In today's challenging market environment, reducing packaging costs is essential. It may not occur to most companies to look at their corrugated supply vendor agreements for potential cost savings — but it should. Strategic Resource Management (SRM) understands these contracts, and we work with companies every day to locate and capture these savings. Working in partnership with our customers, we often reduce annual corrugated costs by double digits.