Maybe you’ve heard of packaging engineers before but have no idea what they actually do and why you would even need one. However, if you have a new business that you’re starting or even a new product that you’re launching, you may want to consider working with a packaging engineer to make the process easier and more effective. 

We understand that you need to do your research and consider your options before making a decision, which is why we’ve created this guide on what packaging engineers actually do and why you may need one for your business. 

What Does A Packaging Engineer Do?

Starting off with the basics: what does a packaging engineer do? A packaging engineer helps design and develop packaging solutions for different products and businesses using a wide range of different materials. A packaging engineer is usually skilled in industrial engineering, marketing, logistics, lead time management, packaging science, consumer behavior, and graphic design. But what does this actually translate to in practice? Well, here are some key things that packaging engineers are responsible for as a part of their job:

  • New product development: One of the most important things that packaging engineers do is new product development. Whenever a new product is being launched, a packaging engineer needs to come up with the best way to package and ship it before it’s actually launched. 

    While this may seem easy enough, it’s no simple task! In fact, it involves many different aspects, including but not limited to environmental considerations, sourcing, designing, testing, fulfillment, and product lifecycle management. Packaging engineers are experts in all of these areas and can help companies seamlessly create packaging solutions for a new product from start to finish. 
  • Value engineering: In addition to new product development, packaging engineers also have to keep in mind the cost at all times. A key role of a skilled packaging engineer is to reduce packaging costs without sacrificing the quality or effectiveness of the packaging itself. This means that packaging engineers are constantly reconsidering old designs to see if they can potentially be made more efficiently or economically. 
  • Problem-solving: Sometimes, no matter what you do or how well you plan things out, problems tend to arise. Part of a packaging engineer’s job is to solve these problems as they occur. This can be a challenging task as there are often multiple different stakeholders involved, and solutions typically have to please them all! Thankfully, product engineers have the skill and experience to quickly and effectively solve these problems and get everything back on track in no time. 

Why Do You Need A Packaging Engineer?

Clearly, packaging engineers do a lot! But why do you need to work with one for your own packaging? For many small businesses, hiring a packaging engineer may seem out of reach—but it doesn’t have to be! When you think about it as an investment, it makes sense for businesses large and small. This is because one of the main benefits of working with a packaging engineer is that they can help you save money on brand packaging by focusing on the quality and efficiency of your packaging solutions. 

Going with the cheapest box you see online might seem like a great idea at first. However, you may come to find that it’s not thick or insulated enough for your products. Many of them may end up getting damaged throughout the shipping process—costing you money and possibly even customers as a result. On the other end of the spectrum, some businesses may be tempted to choose high-end packaging to impress their customers, only to later find that it’s not exactly cost-effective and there are other ways to have an effective design without paying a premium cost. 

A packaging engineer helps you through this entire process to find an effective and cost-friendly packaging solution for your products, shipping process, storage conditions, and tons of other factors that you haven’t even thought of. 

Can’t You Do It On Your Own?

All that being said, it’s understandable that you may want to try it out on your own first—this is especially true for small businesses who may not have a huge budget for packaging purposes. The good news is that there are ways to obtain amazing packaging products without actually hiring a packaging engineer. For example, there are custom packaging companies, like Box Genie, that allow you to design your own custom packaging online on your own terms! 

Box Genie offers four different custom packaging options: a custom mailer box, a one-piece folder box, a shipping box, and a triangle document mailer. Within these packaging options, there’s a wide variety of different colors, patterns, sizes, paper types, and printing side options to choose from. Their easy-to-use online design tool allows you to create your own unique custom box. You can either use one of their existing designs as inspiration or even upload your own design from scratch that can be printed onto the box of your choice. 

But that’s not all. Box Genie is also available to help answer your packaging questions and concerns to help guide you in the right direction in terms of choosing the right packaging. They understand small businesses as well as large ones, having worked with over 2,000 companies to find perfect packaging solutions. So if you can’t do it on your own but don’t want to hire a full-on packaging engineer, working with a company like Box Genie might be the perfect middle ground. 

How To Spot A Great Packaging Engineer?

That being said, if you find yourself wanting additional assistance with your packaging design, whether it’s from a packaging engineer or a custom packaging company, there are some things to look out for. Some people will claim to offer quality at affordable prices, only for you to actually get your hands on your products and see that’s clearly not the case. This is why we recommend going with options that are made in the United States and are all made in-house so that quality and consistency are guaranteed for each and every order. 

Another thing to consider when trying to find a partner to help you design your packaging is their understanding of your business and the overall industry. Each business and industry has specific needs and challenges that your packaging needs to meet. The right partners have experience with different types of businesses within different industries and can help guide you along the way based on their previous work. 

This is especially true if you’re a small business just starting out—as small businesses often deal with unique restrictions and challenges that can make the process difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. Thankfully, companies like Box Genie have tons of experience with small businesses and are family owned and operated themselves—so they know what it’s like, what your priorities are, and how to meet them in an efficient and cost-effective manner. 

How To Prepare For Meeting With A Packaging Engineer?

Once you’ve found a great packaging engineer that you’re excited to work with, you may think that your work is done. After all, aren’t you hiring them to do all the work? That’s not exactly how this works. Instead, there are some things that you’ll need to do to prepare for working with a packaging engineer so that they can have a good idea about the company, the product, the supply chain, etc., before they get started. Here are some things that you need to consider before meeting with a packaging engineer to help the process go as smoothly as possible:

  • Which do you prioritize: functionality or appearance?
  • What is your budget for packaging products?
  • Do you want your packaging to be easy to open or harder to open by utilizing safety locks?
  • Are you looking for one-time disposable packaging solutions or reusable long-term packaging solutions?
  • How are your products stored, and what is their shelf life? 
  • How fragile are your products?
  • How will your products be handled and shipped? 
  • Do your products require refrigeration, or will they experience extreme temperatures during transport? 

When you consider the answers to these questions ahead of time, you can have a successful meeting with your packaging engineer and help them begin to design and create the perfect packaging solutions for your products. 

Final Thoughts On Packaging Engineers

As you can see, working with a professional packaging engineer can be extremely worthwhile. While you may be tempted to just do it on your own to save time and money, it may not actually end up being cheaper and easier in the long run! 

As discussed, packaging engineers are experts at cost-cutting measures as well as designing effective and safe packaging. As a result, working with the right packaging engineer can actually save you a ton of money and stress in the long run—making it well worth the initial investment. 




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Megan D., CEO at SSBD

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