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Is it Time to Change Your Corrugated Vendor?

Once you choose a corrugated vendor it’s easy to become complacent and stick with them unless you have critical issues that force you to take action. However, if your vendor isn’t regularly collaborating with you to make your company stronger and more profitable, it might be time to look for a new vendor. Having exceptional customer service, having a strong quality system, and proactively looking to provide you with cost savings ideas are all characteristics of a good vendor.

Here are a few questions to contemplate & help determine if it is time to replace your current corrugated vendor.

Corrugated Vendor Evaluation

Customer Service

Does your supplier hit your requested delivery date 95 percent of the time or more?

Late deliveries cost you money and can hurt the trust you have established with your own customers.

Does your account representative arrive with an agenda and prepared to talk about what is important to you?

Has your vendor ever asked what your company’s goals are? Are they showing up to make a sale and/ or upsell, or are they looking to provide solutions that are in line with your company’s goals?

Does your supplier have critical relationships built with relevant people in your organization?

The salesperson should have a relationship with contacts in purchasing, marketing, structural design and engineering, shipping, and accounts payable, but are all of the critical relationships established? Has the finance person established a relation with accounts payable? Is there a top-to-top relationship built between your vendor’s CEO or owner and your CEO or owner? Building proper relationships is important to ensure you are getting superior service.


Does your vendor supply a quality product that meets your defective parts per million (DPPM) goal?

Having a quality system in place is important for ensuring constancy with your boxes and reducing defects. There is no reason that you should be consistently seeing defects at rate higher than the DPPM goal. If your rate is higher, a corrective action plan should be executed. Which leads us to the next question…

Does the vendor have a thorough quality complaint resolution procedure, including a procedure for material return credit?

Are you satisfied with response time and corrective action response to non-conforming product? If you receive bad boxes, is your rep coming out four or five days later or are they at your facility the next day to take the product back and leave a replacement load? When they take material back, are you seeing a credit right away or are you waiting 60 or more days? Any delays in correcting the situation and/or crediting you could be costing you more money.

Cost savings

Is your vendor making the proper capital expenditure investments to ensure cost competitiveness and suitability for your industry long term?

The brown box may not have changed much in its lifetime, but that doesn’t mean investment in new equipment and technologies should stop. Equipment has gotten faster or more efficient, and if your vendor isn’t making investments in capital equipment, it could be costing you more.

Also, older equipment can break down. If your vendor isn’t investing in keeping equipment in top shape and if they don’t have a back-up for when equipment is down, you could find yourself facing large shipment delays. And time is money.

Is your vendor regularly bringing you suggestions for cost savings?

In light of rising materials costs across the industry, has your vendor brought you cost savings ideas to mitigate the cost increases. Does your corrugated vendor perform packaging audits when they evaluate your packaging floor and make suggestions for improvements that will be cost or time savers? Do they ask about your processes and talk to your employees working on the line?

A good corrugated vendor will look for ways to save you money whether it’s from reducing packaging, consolidating SKUs, process improvements, or something else. There are cost saving improvements to be had on nearly every packaging floor.

Your Responses

If  you answered no to any of the above questions, it is probably time to start evaluating alternative vendors. A good corrugated vendor will not only meet your quality and delivery requirements, but they will also partner with you to find areas where changes can bring about cost savings.

Why Partner with Akers

At Akers, we understand corrugated boxes, design principles, and the importance of delivering a high-quality product quickly. We don’t just sell you a box, we provide you with a solution. We have proven tactics for reducing costs, bringing real value to your company’s bottom line.

One way to reduce costs is to ensure you are using the correct packaging for your product. Since the paper represents such a high percentage of the cost of the box, lowering the basis weight (light- weighting) of the corrugated material will not only reduce cost but also provide an environmental advantage. Of course, there are limitations on how far the basis weight can be reduced and still provide adequate protection to the product during shipping and handling. But this is where we can help you.

If you never experience shipping damage, it’s possible you have more box than you need. We have experienced R&D staff and in-house testing capabilities to ensure that changes in basis weight will not impact performance, but it will result in a reduction in cost.

Free Packaging Assessment

Like all corrugated box manufacturers, we have no control over industry price increases, but we can help identify solutions to reduce total costs. Reducing basis weight is just one of the many ways we can help. We offer a no-cost complete packaging assessment to help you discover savings that may be hidden in your packaging and processes. Let us assess your current packaging processes and work with you to recommend the most effective, cost- saving options available to you.