The Importance Of Packaging In The 21st Century

Packaging is a huge multi-billion pound worldwide industry that a little over a hundred years ago hardly existed. It is hard to imagine today a world without a packaging industry with just about every facet of our lives influenced by it. We come into contact with some form of packaging from the moment we wake up and make that first cup of coffee to the moment we go to bed when we brush our teeth.

The packaging industry has arguably been one of the great drivers of economic growth in the 20th century, allowing sellers of just about any physical good an increasingly efficient method of getting their products to an ever-increasingly fragmented and geographically diversified range of markets. Quite simply, the modern world could not function without a strong and stable packaging industry.

However, as the world evolves and the need to conserve the previous natural resources of the planet increase, the packaging industry has to continue to adapt and become better, leaner and greener and to this extent the advances in plastic technology through the use of shrink wrapping have made huge strides.

Shrink wrapping as a form of packaging is relatively new, only being introduced in the 1960’s, but has provided many benefits compared to more traditional forms of packaging. For example, if you consider the amount of packaging used when a 24 pack of water is shrink wrapped in just polyethylene shrink film compared to putting the same product into a cardboard box then it is clear to see the advantages. Indeed in this example the material costs are cut by over 80%, no space is wasted and the process can be automated so the bottles are collated much easier straight off the line compared to erecting a box, manually filling the box and using tape to seal the box. It would be impossible to see major conglomerates such as Pepsi and Coca Cola coping without shrink wrapping today.

Almost all of our shrink films are fully recyclable as you would expect but also major advances in polymer technology have allowed our films to get thinner and thinner, drastically reducing the amount of material used in the first place to do the same job. Indeed polyolefin shrink films used in a whole host of food applications have seen downgauging, averaging a reduction in materials used in the order of 25% in the last decade alone, which can only be a good thing.

Yorkshire Packaging Systems is a major supplier of not just these materials but also the equipment in order to provide the complete solution to the final end customer and has just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Offering both services is quite unique in the industry as most companies tend to do only one or the other but we have found added strength in investing in the hardware business in order to grow the materials business and this approach produces a win/win scenario for both us and our customers.

The customer wins as we go above and beyond when supplying a machine because the lifetime value of that customer is so much higher than if just a single machine was being supplied. Similarly, we win as the lifetime value of supplying materials is longer term business than just an initial single transaction. Indeed a machine sale is not the end of a transaction which is traditionally the case with most machinery suppliers, but the beginning of a relationship, which is what makes YPS unique in the industry and has contributed to the milestone of 40 years in business.

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