In recent years, a paper crisis has brought significant challenges for the printing and packaging industry. As current predictions estimate the cost of paper to rise by 2.1% within the next few years, printers and packaging manufacturers are becoming increasingly concerned with losing profits. After all, not only is the production process in and of itself highly complex and expensive, but now it’s most vital resource will cost an arm and a leg.

In addition, the fact that the majority of press runs produce a significant amount of scrap is highly damaging both environmentally and economically. Interestingly, in this particular scenario, the economic and environmental issues are inherently linked. Simply put, if printers could find ways to maximize paper, not only would they produce less waste, but they also would not need to buy nearly as much of this expensive resource.

While the industry-wide concerns are worrisome, there are steps that can be taken to ensure printing and manufacturing remain both profitable and environmentally sustainable–a true win- win for everyone.

Produce higher quality products

When raw-materials cost about 50% of total production costs, many business owners may choose to scale down. However, the strategy is problematic to say the least.

Instead, thinking outside the box can yield greater results. If you’re manufacturing a higher quality, value-added product, you can charge more, and if your clients know they are getting more for their money, the extra cost will not deter them. Furthermore, positioning yourself as a high quality service gives you a niche to rise above your competition. In an industry where materials are expensive and stakes are high, differentiating your business can help you gain new market share and increase profit.

Waste Less

Since presses work with tremendous amounts of paper, it is difficult to estimate the amount of waste produced when manufacturing packages of any run size. However, the we all know it’s highly significant.

But savings can definitely be made through maximizing paper or cardboard use by ganging jobs.  This way, trees are conserved, money is saved, and of course significantly less trash is produced. Not only will the environment be thankful, but you will also appreciate the added economic incentive of buying less paper per package produced.

Find ways to produce faster

While it may seem counter-intuitive to invest in high-tech production solutions, if it can help slash production time and produce a higher quality output, the amount of product produced per hour will increase dramatically, and generally this means the amount of energy used is also decreased.

Digital finishing solutions help tremendously in this department. With these innovative new machines, you simply create a sample identical to the package you intend to make. With this method, you eliminate the elaborate process of creating a sample on a sample maker, then producing the tool or die for production and again pulling of samples to check the product.(which is also an extremely wasteful process).

This technology allows you to send a finished product to clients faster, resulting in happy customers and high recommendations. In addition, you will also be able to handle the growth in customers as job runs get shorter.

Allow for Easier Customization

Take the creative design to the next level by offering packaging clients the option to customize. Often times, the package production process is so cumbersome and time consuming, that clients are unable to let their imagination run wild.

Since traditional die-cutting makes customization a huge headache, it is worthwhile to seek out alternative resources to simplify the process.  Believe it or not, there are ways to create custom packaging without outsourcing the tooling to third-party manufacturers.

The Highcon Euclid  machines use laser technology to cut and a special polymer to crease labels, cardboard and microflute. By reducing the manual labor involved, greater customization and variety can be accomplished faster and more inexpensively than ever. Most importantly, since dies are no longer necessary, the energy and resources saved will add up significantly. Other high-caliber machines include Luciano and Accraply.

The rising paper expense is intimidating enough to threaten even the most stable printing businesses. However, despite these challenges, the printing and packaging industry is not going anywhere anytime soon. After all, packaging and branding companies will always need to produce fresh looks that make their products pop off the shelves. In order to keep up with this need, printers simply need to rise to the occasion by getting creative and more design oriented while increasing quality and environmental sustainability. This way, they can easily gain a loyal client-base and keep up with the ever-evolving market.