Standardization is a common strategy used in many different industries. Organizations such as International Organization of Standards (ISO), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) exist to drive common requirements and practices internationally or within a particular industry. As defined by Wikipedia:
“Standardization can help to maximize compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality. It can also facilitate commoditization of formerly custom processes.”
Primary benefits of standardization include higher productivity, lower costs, and improved efficiencies. Common examples of standardization within the packaging industry are standardized footprints, modular stacking heights, and fork lift openings. These standard packaging practices drive bottom line savings via freight efficiencies, ease of material handling, and enhanced line side presentation. Standardization is typically best fit for organizations that manufacture a high volume of products with a low level of variation.
On the other hand, customization is changing something for a unique application. According to Miriam-Webster, to customize a product or process is:
“…to build, fit, or alter according to individual specifications”
Customization by definition results in high variation and therefore loses the economies of scale delivered by standardization due to altering the design to meet specific requirements. Manufacturers with lower production volumes and higher variation tend to benefit best from a customization strategy.
Cascadia Packaging Group uses both strategies to benefit our clients depending upon their specific needs. Sometimes we leverage both standardization and customization to offer a creative solution to meet our clients’ unique requirements.
Recently we developed a custom fabric insert solution designed to fit into a standard straight wall tote for an automotive client. The insert material consisted of a soft material offering part protection without use of expendable packaging materials while allowing for optimal part nesting. Our client used an existing standard hand held tote and customized with the fabric insert. Benefits included optimal cube for handling, ease of access for line operators, and zero packaging waste at point of use.
Some solutions require a creative, innovative thinking that might combine different strategies. How can Cascadia Packaging Group support your unique part protection and custom packaging needs? How can customized standardization help meet your logistics and supply chain needs?