As a UK-based merchant, you might be debating whether to choose a local packaging supplier versus an international-based supplier. Many will make the decision purely based on cost, not taking into consideration the many other factors that can impact your business and supply chain.
The truth is, choosing between a local supplier and an international one for your product packaging shouldn’t be an off-the-cuff decision. It’s entirely dependent on what you value as a business and how this will also impact your customers.
Local Packaging Supplier vs International
To help you decide, we’ve put together some key components to ordering packaging and the pros and cons of local and international suppliers.
This may seem like an obvious point but ordering from a local supplier is often a lot easier from a communication standpoint. For starters, there’s unlikely to be a language barrier, which you may experience when ordering internationally.
Time zones are also key here. If you’re looking to talk to someone immediately about your order, local suppliers will be readily available to answer any questions, saving you the time and headache of waiting for a response.
Product packaging is extremely important. It is a physical representation of your business, which is why a lot of merchants opt for customised packaging. This can include custom-sized boxes, unique configurations and printed packaging. This level of customisation is often done by specialist cardboard box manufacturers, such as ASC Direct, and can require a bit of back and forth in order to get right.
When it comes to ordering custom packaging internationally, it is often more inconvenient than ordering from a local supplier. This is because custom packaging often requires creating samples that are sent to the merchant for approval. This would be incredibly expensive if buying internationally and had to ship individual samples overseas. Of course, there’s always the gamble of ordering without seeing a prototype, but that could be incredibly risky.
One of the main reasons many businesses opt to buy their packaging from a supplier abroad is because of the cost. Generally, international suppliers have the abilities and technology to produce large quantities at speed. That, combined with lower labour and material costs, means an increased margin for your business.
However, you do also have to factor in the costs of shipping your packaging overseas. You will also have to think about storage for your boxes as generally, the lower cost is a result of purchasing in bulk.
Choosing a local supplier means that you can often get your new products a lot quicker. With easier communication and quicker sampling processes, there’s often less of a wait than with international supplies. You’ll also have a clearer view of your supply chain, an understanding of where the materials come from and greater transparency over labour costs and conditions. This is especially important as more businesses are being held accountable for their supply chain which can affect whether customers decide to purchase from you or not.
A shorter supply chain also means you can order smaller quantities and expect to receive them much more quickly than if ordering from overseas.
Here at ASC Direct, we aim to manufacture and dispatch our custom cardboard boxes within 48 hours of placing your order. Customers can also rest assured that we are an ISO 9001 2015 certified company.
According to Supplyia, it’s imperative that you consider the differences in quality checks when ordering from China versus Western countries. Not only are there differences in quality standards, but China also has more relaxed rules around intellectual property so there are a lot of counterfeit products.
Local cardboard box manufacturers will be able to provide sampling and even production site visits, meaning businesses can keep a closer eye on quality control.
Many international suppliers are more advanced when it comes to manufacturing processes than local suppliers. This is partly down to the fact that many regions will be dedicated and set up for manufacturing certain items.
According to Statista, in 2021 China was the leading paper-producing country worldwide after producing over 125 million metric tons of paper. This is likely down to the speed at which they are capable of producing boxes down to their streamlined and sophisticated systems.
However, it’s important to note that production speed isn’t everything and can often result in more issues with quality control.
Perhaps the biggest advocate for choosing a local supplier over an international one is the environmental impact of shipping items overseas. International shipping equates to a large number of CO2 emissions, which is extremely damaging to the environment.
Many international suppliers also don’t consider the sustainability element, which means that even when producing materials such as paper and cardboard, billions of trees are cut down each year without any consideration for the environmental impact.
Choosing a local supplier is often a better choice for the climate. ASC Direct not only produce 100% recyclable cardboard boxes, but we also receive our board from an FSC Certified manufacturer, meaning our cardboard is obtained in an ethical and environmentally-friendly manner. We also plant one tree for every 1000 boxes produced!
Choosing a Packaging Supplier
Businesses should weigh up the above and decide what aligns most with their business goals, values and needs. While an international supplier may save you money with bulk buying, a local packaging supplier is likely to be easier to communicate with, have a shorter supply chain and have a lesser environmental impact.
If you’re looking for a new cardboard box manufacturer based in the UK, get in touch with the ASC Direct team for more information.