The abundance of inexpensive Chinese products on the market may tempt entrepreneurs to buy their packaging in China. The benefits seem so obvious that there should be little to discuss. However, in practice, everything may not turn out so nice.
Chinese packaging: easy to buy, long to deliver
At first glance, the benefits of Chinese packaging appears to be a perfect match:
- Chinese packaging is rather cheap.
- China offers deliveries in any quantities.
- The deal promises to be profitable, all that remains is to wait for the goods to arrive.
You pass your order for your packaging, and all there is left to do is wait for the products to be shipped. This stage is when the surprises begin, and very often not pleasant ones at all. It would be logical to assume, on the basis of modern logistical possibilities and the distance between the countries, that the goods would be received within two or three weeks. In fact, it takes an average of three to four months between placing an order and receiving the goods.
There are several reasons for this.
First of all, the boxes need to be manufactured, and Chinese factories do not work with short runs. It means that it will take some time until the necessary number of orders is accumulated. If you are lucky, it will take a few days. If not, you will have to wait until someone else decides to order the same boxes, and your orders will be combined into a single print run. Therefore, you need to be prepared that it will take a month, or even two, for your order to be processed.
Secondly, fast shipping from China is expensive, which immediately cancels out the low cost of the products. Delivery, which will keep the competitive price of the package, is organized in such a way as to make it as cheap as possible. Unfortunately, speed is not a decisive factor in this case (as well as the integrity of the goods, but we will discuss this topic a little later).
Ukrainian manufacturers perform manufacturing and delivery of goods within a few weeks after an order is placed.
Packaging from China in bulk – cheap and nasty
The well-known “Chinese quality” has long been the subject of witticisms and anecdotes. Factories that cooperate with famous global brands maintain high standards, but they do not take on single orders, and the scale of their print runs is of a completely different order there. Smaller manufacturers, especially those who work in the lowest price segment, cannot boast of stable quality.
This concerns almost all areas: electronics, toys, clothes, shoes, household appliances, and other consumer goods. We should notice that a low-budget Chinese cardboard packaging has many defects. These boxes are not screened out neither at the production stage nor at the stage of shipment to the customer.
After three to four months of waiting, the average customer receives the goods and discovers that part of the order is hopelessly defective. A small percentage of defects can be ignored, written off as planned losses. Nonetheless, it often happens that the number of defective units is noticeably higher than expected. This is when the endless story of the return of defective goods to the manufacturer begins. It can be developed according to three scenarios.
Packaging manufacturers in China accept claims and agree to replace defective products. Unfortunately, it is common that the customer will have to pay for the return shipment of defective goods to the PRC and also for the new delivery of replacement goods. It means extra costs for the customer. Did I mention that this is the most favorable scenario?
«Slow help is no help»
We have already mentioned that it takes an average of three to four months from your order to the reception of the goods from China. Taking into account the return shipment to China, the replacement of defective items might take six months! So it is sure that the themed packaging will have lost relevance by then. Who cares about Easter wrapping in September and Christmas wrapping in May?
At best, you will have to look for space to store the products you do not need at the moment for the next six months. Unfortunately, this is also an additional cost. In the worst case, the packaging will turn out to be completely unusable, and it will either be sent for sale at a discount of 50-70% of the cost, or thrown away. This is a huge concern for packaging dedicated to themed events (anniversaries, memorable dates, etc.) or with images of totem animals from the Chinese calendar. Well, you cannot keep a box or bag with the Iron Ox for another 12 years, when his turn comes again to take the main place in the star horoscope.
An unfavorable scenario in which the Chinese contractor flatly refuses to acknowledge his responsibility for the delivery of defective goods. Arguments can range from not admitting guilt or looking for loopholes in the contract referring to force majeure, which is especially frequent during the coronavirus pandemic.
No one knows who to claim
It happens that the manufacturer is really not to blame, but the goods are still damaged during shipment. This can happen for both air and rail shipments. Barbaric loading and unloading, improper placement of cargo when something heavy is placed on top of light and fragile goods in several layers, moving unfixed goods around the cargo compartment or cabin and repeatedly hitting other objects, improper storage at sorting stations… All this reasons can lead to hopeless damage to goods.
So the customer will end up with a completely unusable gift packaging. In this case, Chinese manufacturers are completely innocent, but this does not make it any easier for the customer. Finding the guilty party and demanding compensation for damage is a futile matter. It is practically impossible to prove at what exact stage of transportation the products were damaged. But even if the culprit is found, he is unlikely to agree to pay voluntarily. To solve the problem in court would be too costly and troublesome. Besides, it might cost a sum incomparable to the value of the damaged goods.
Please note! Ukrainian manufacturers, in particular Kharkiv factory MitraPack guarantee a stable quality, always low percentage of defects, all claims are accepted and treated at the expense of the manufacturer.
What is the best packaging: “made in China” or “made in Ukraine”?
Packaging made in China is undoubtedly cheaper. More precisely, packaging from the budget price segment. However, a packaging of a good quality will be expensive in China too. In any case, the cost of delivery must be added to the cost of the product itself, and this significantly “weighs down” the final profits for the buyer.
Besides, while the boxes are waiting for their production and leisurely journey from point A to point B, a lot of different events can happen, both in China itself and in the transit countries. Natural and man-made disasters, local wars, epidemics and other disasters can permanently block delivery of paid goods to the customer. For example, the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 paralyzed all deliveries from China, triggering an avalanche of non-deliveries.
It is much easier to order holiday packaging or branded packaging in Ukraine and receive the goods within four calendar weeks. As for the higher cost in comparison with the packaging of Chinese manufacturers, this might only be a partial truth…
First, you cannot compare the quality of products from proven Ukrainian manufacturers and any Chinese factory, offering prices cheaper than ours. The ratio of “expectation and reality” has long been played in the Internet memes. What is attractive in the advertising of online stores can look quite depressing in mass production. You and your customers deserve better.
Secondly, thanks to the use of modern automatic and semi-automatic equipment, “long” print runs in Ukraine come out at the same cost as the price of China plus logistics. One may ask why to wait longer? With “long” print runs, the Chinese advantage in price is lost, but there are still problems with quality and delivery. The benefits in this case are obvious.
Thirdly, the Chinese manufacturers simply will not deal with “short” runs, while many Ukrainian factories, such as the previously mentioned MitraPack, work with both large and small wholesale.
Fourthly, we have representatives speaking fluently in English, French, Russian and Ukrainian. It allows our customers to present their expectations and requirements for the order in all the details. Chinese partners may simply not grasp many of the nuances.