Since its inception six years ago I have attended and exhibited at the annual London edition of the Easyfairs’ Packaging Innovations Exhibition. Every year my overwhelming impression has been of how visitors are increasingly asking about and exploring the option of sourcing once again from a UK manufacturer, as opposed to their current Far Eastern supplier. This is a process that is commonly known as “On Shoring”.
Furthermore, the vast majority of new start-up companies also seem to be seeking to source their presentation packaging from the UK, as they can see the advantages of greater flexibility and a reduced carbon footprint that locally-sourced packaging can bring.
It was a similar picture at this year’s show, with many visitors with whom I spoke detailing their current specs in order for us to provide both UK pricing and indicative UK lead-times.
I think more and more clients are realising that for a complete picture of purchasing, they must not only take into account price per unit, but also overall lead-times, inventory levels, flexibility in supply, reduced carbon footprint and consistency in price without pound/dollar exchange rate fluctuations. And as well as these practical considerations, there is “the elephant in the room” issue of quality, with several clients relating stories of placing orders, paying up front for the goods, and then waiting 12-15 weeks only to receive substandard products, with no time for investigation, correction or replacement, and no financial compensation.
It appears I am not alone in my observations on “On Shoring”. Recent articles in Printweek (“Briefing; Packaging Innovations”) and Digital Print (“Boxing Clever”) have both confirmed similar trends while at the same time also discussing the “premiumisation” of luxury packaging in general.
If the Smithers Pira forecast that the Luxury Packaging market will globally increase by $0.5bn per annum is correct, and this On Shoring trend continues, then clearly all UK luxury packaging manufacturers had better be prepared for a busy time ahead.