Package Sizing Choices – Boxes, Shipping, Transportation, and Logistic Considerations

The other day I was talking to an entrepreneur who had a new fruit drink, one of those new power drinks which he was trying to market. One of his considerations was to make the bottle unique, trendy, and use this as a strategy to bolster his brand and image. Yes, that makes sense, and proper packaging is a big part of a solid marketing program. And indeed he had a brilliant business plan, and he had thought of everything, at first he will outsource his production, and then eventually he will do the manufacturing himself.

Luckily, he hopes to do it here in the Valley, in my local area, and I believe that can provide jobs. It’s all good, but it isn’t easy breaking into the liquid beverage market, especially for high-performance sports drinks. We got to talking about his choices and types of bottles. It’s very easy to make a mistake on this, and there are additional considerations he had not thought about. First of all, if you’re going to sell bottles by the case, then the size of those bottles matter, how they stack matters, along with the number of boxes which fit onto a pallet.

To ship the maximum number of boxes, then the height of that box, and the width of that box and how it is put into a cargo container, or a 53 foot over-the-road truck trailer matters significantly. When lining up the boxes side to side, if there is space left on one side, you lose that cargo capacity. It also causes the boxes to break on the sides, and often the weight on top causes damaged underneath. This causes containers to compress and break open, causing spilled product, and losses due to that damage.

Likewise if there’s space left at the top of the trailer, that space is wasted. It matters very much when you redesign a bottle. Consider if you will a two liter bottle of your favorite soft drink. From time to time the manufacturers change these bottles around and when they do so they often get themselves into trouble. You see, not all truck trailers, cargo containers, or delivery vehicles are the same. Any wasted space means more trips, that means more fuel mileage, and more cost to ship the products. In looking over the size of his containers, that is to say his bottled product and the exact dimensions, it does not appear that they will be stackable into the boxes for shipping.

Does that mean he needs to go back to the drawing board, change the size of the bottles, or make modifications? Well, it may not matter now, but it surely will in the future as his production rates increase. Further I would submit to you that it is more important in the beginning when cash flow is tight, and the product is not highly accepted by the consumer to make sure that the maximum number of bottles fit into each box, and each box fits nicely at the proper width and height of the containers for shipping. Please consider all this and think on it.

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