Switch from rigid to flexible packaging represents big savings and more for a pool chemicals producer

In an industry dominated by rigid packaging – typically in the form of high density polyethylene (HDPE) containers – one company has stepped out from the competition. America’s leading private label producer of pool and spa chemicals recently added flexible stand up pouches (SUPs) to its product lines currently packaged in rigid snap-lid pails and over-sized jugs. The primary goal in making the transition was to reduce packaging costs in the supply chain without compromising product quality or integrity. They achieved that and more with the help of NJ-based LPS Industries, a leading provider of flexible packaging solutions.

LPS developed flexible SUPs in four sizes to accommodate the entire line of over 25 SKUs in 4 to 25 pound packages. LPS recommended a two-layer film construction that would enhance puncture resistance while delivering the required barrier properties.

The move to SUPs reduced the packaging weight of the product by more than 90%. Plus, a shipment of unfilled packaging that would normally occupy an entire trailer could now easily ship on a single pallet. Finally, with the switch to SUPs, the per-pallet weight of finished product was reduced by over 5%, resulting in not only lower shipping costs but reduced CO2 emissions created delivering the product.

For LPS’ customer, the benefits of switching to flexible packaging from rigid went far beyond cost-savings associated with the size and weight of the physical package:

  • More Efficient Storage – Less shelf space was required to warehouse both filled and unfilled pouches compared to the rigid containers.
  • Expanded Display Area – The flexible SUPs provided 44% more surface printing space compared to the rigid containers, permitting an expansion of graphic content, including the use of charts and graphs to better depict product functionality.
  • More Dynamic Graphics – The flexible package graphics involved a five-color design, with a much more vibrant print quality in comparison to the previously-used small-label-on-pail decorating approach.
  • Distinction at Point-Of-Sale – The flexible SUPs provided dramatic on-shelf appeal and immediately differentiated from competitor products marketed in plastic HDPE pails, often the containers-of-choice for pool chemicals in volumes of 10-pounds or more.
  • Improved Product Protection – The SUPs feature a tear-away top with a re-closeable zipper, offering superior product protection from moisture vs. rigid packaging, especially reducing the product clumping that occurs in humid climates.
  • Increased Consumer Convenience – SUPs with re-closeable zippers do not require use of a screwdriver to open as do most HDPE pails, greatly enhancing convenience-of-use throughout the product lifecycle.
  • Less Disposable Waste – After the product has been used, the SUPs are much easier to discard than rigid pails, with lesser impact on the waste stream.

“Our customer elected to use this as an opportunity to refresh the package design for the entire product line, while taking full advantage of the larger decorating surface area,” commented Domenick Pasqualone, vice president at LPS. The company’s experienced team provides total support through the entire package design process, which is especially important in situations like this one. LPS’ recently enhanced graphic capabilities combined with tight quality control throughout the printing process allows rapid changeovers for product runs involving multiple SKUs.

“In addition to manufacturing both the material and the pouch and printing the film in-house, we also extrude our own zippers,” added Pasqualone. “This ensures that the zipper will properly adhere to the film, resulting in consistent and proper closure functionality.” Working with a vertically integrated manufacturer, LPS customers not only benefit from end-to-end quality control, but also speed. “We  were able to readily meet our customer’s production schedule, which is a critical factor for seasonal products such as theirs.”

Flexible packaging produced by LPS also inherently aligns with the ongoing eco-friendly movement in consumer packaged goods. The company’s Moonachie, NJ-based facility uses solar power produced from 3,870 rooftop solar panels, generating 704.34 kW (DC). In addition to reducing power required from the grid, the CO2 emissions offset annually by the use of solar power are in excess of 1.1 million pounds. “We also reduced the cooling cost of the manufacturing facility 20% by concurrently installing a new, white Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roof when the solar panels were installed,” Pasqualone added.

The pool products manufacturer chose LPS because of the company’s solid reputation in the industry, its comprehensive in-house capabilities, and openness to collaboration. “Projects like this really energize our entire team,” Pasqualone said. “When a customer involves us early in the package development process, we are in the best possible position to help them achieve their packaging goals, whatever they might be.”

Pasqualone continued, “We don’t focus exclusively on the package; we take a broader view, as we seek to clearly understand our customers’ objectives and what factors may be impacting overall cost beyond the physical structure. So when our pool products customer initially shared their goals and performance requirements, we knew that we could deliver precisely what they were looking for.”

And, LPS did exactly that. “The new package has been extremely well-received,” Pasqualone concluded.

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