Can Late-Stage Customization Help Your Business?

First Published: October 6, 2023

Late-stage customization (LSC) is a process in which packaging is customized for specific markets, customers, or products at the last minute before it is shipped.

This is in contrast to traditional packaging, which is usually pre-printed.

Advantages of Late-Stage Customization

It can help businesses to reduce inventory costs. By customizing packaging late in the process, businesses can avoid having to manage inventories of pre-printed packaging materials.

With late-stage customization, either blank or generically printed materials are ordered that will be customized right on the packaging line.

LSC can help businesses to improve their speed to market. By being able to customize packaging quickly and easily, businesses can bring new products to market more quickly or respond to changes in customer demand more quickly.

When there is a new product launch or a change in the packaging, rather than having to procure new materials, a change to the in-house printing is usually all that is needed.

Third, LSC can help businesses to reduce waste. By customizing packaging at the last minute, businesses can avoid having to dispose of pre-printed packaging materials that are no longer needed.

Not having to dispose of obsolete printed materials and less waste for machine setup, as many changovers will just need a change of print.

LSC can be used to customize a wide variety of packaging elements, including:

  • Labels: Labels can be customized with variable data such as product information, barcodes, and expiration dates.
  • Cartons: Cartons can be customized with variable data such as product information, barcodes, and shipping labels.
  • Case packs: Case packs can be customized with variable data such as product information, barcodes, and shipping info.

LSC can be implemented at a variety of different stages in the packaging process. It can be implemented at the packaging plant, at a contract packaging facility, or even at a distribution center. The best place to implement LSC will vary depending on the specific needs of the business.

Examples of Late-Stage Customization

  • A food company uses LSC to print GS1 barcodes, product information and company information onto unprinted corrugated cases. This can be done using inkjet printing, printing and applying labels or laser coding.
  • A pharmaceutical company can LSC to customize packaging for different markets. For example, the company can print product information in different languages or add different regulatory information to the packaging depending on the market where the product is being sold. This can be achieved with labels (many years ago, HAPA produced a labeling system that allowed the plant to buy generic or unprinted labels and print them using platen printers right on the labeling machine), or with digital or flexo printers printing directly to blister foil or other flexible packaging.
  • Using LSC, a consumer electronics company could customize packaging for different retailers and markets. For example, the company can add retailer-specific branding to the packaging or include different promotional materials.

LSC is a powerful tool that can help businesses improve their packaging operations in a number of ways. By reducing inventory costs, improving speed to market, and reducing waste, LSC can help businesses to be more efficient and profitable.

Conclusion

LSC is a powerful tool that can help businesses improve their packaging operations in a number of ways. By reducing inventory costs, improving speed to market, and reducing waste, LSC can help businesses to be more efficient and profitable.

LSC is particularly well-suited for businesses that:

  • Need to quickly customize packaging for different markets, customers, or products.
  • Have a high volume of SKUs makes managing printed packaging materials difficult and expensive.
  • Are implementing lean-manufacturing and want to reduce waste.

If you are considering implementing LSC in your packaging operations, be sure to carefully assess your needs and choose the right solution for your business. With careful planning and implementation, LSC can help you to achieve your packaging goals.

Here are some additional benefits of using LSC in packaging operations:

  • Improved customer satisfaction: LSC can help businesses to improve customer satisfaction by providing customers with the products they want, when they want them, in the packaging they want.
  • Reduced risk of errors: LSC can help to reduce the risk of errors in packaging by eliminating the need to apply labels and other add-ons manually.
  • Increased flexibility: LSC can help businesses to be more flexible in their packaging operations. By being able to customize packaging at the last minute, businesses can more easily respond to changes in customer demand or market conditions.

Overall, LSC is a valuable tool that can help businesses improve their packaging operations in a number of ways. If you are looking for a way to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction, you should consider LSC.

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