How Barebones Eliminated Damage and Gained Consistent High Quality Packaging from Asia

Barebones realized they had a packaging issue when thousands of products arrived from the China factory to the US Distribution Center damaged and unsellable.

Wilson Sporting Goods

New packaging needed to be designed and sourced, the product manager had to travel to the DC and temporary workers hired to unpack and repack the product, which caused delays getting product to customers and had a big impact on their margins. This experience was costly, unsustainable and needed to be fixed. Barebones turned to BillerudKorsnäs Managed Packaging for a solution that provided the proper protection for high end products and a great customer experience for the fast growing brand.

Goals

Reduced damage and improved quality

Barebones needed a packaging solution that matched the quality and user experience of their products, while mitigating the additional costs from damage.

Packaging design expertise

The Barebones team created packaging designs from a graphics and branding perspective and needed a packaging partner with structural design and materials expertise to prevent damage in the future.

Transit Testing

To ensure all new packaging could withstand the demands of the supply chain, all new packaging concepts needed to be transit tested within ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) requirements prior to mass production.

Consistent, guaranteed packaging supply

With the broad portfolio of products and rapidly expanding manufacturing footprint in Asia, Barebones needed a packaging partner that could deliver consistent packaging quality to their growing list of factories and be able to move with them to new areas in SE Asia.

Sustainability

As a certified B Corporation, Barebones is committed to sustainability in products and performance with the aim of removing single use plastics in their packaging.

Solutions

Barebones sent product and packaging samples to the Managed Packaging Design and Engineering team in Portland for evaluation. New packaging design concepts and material specifications were developed for improved strength and presented to the Barebones product team.

Once concepts were approved, the Managed Packaging design team ran prototypes from domestic materials through a series of ISTA testing in the lab to ensure designs would withstand the demands of an international supply chain. After the prototypes passed ISTA testing in Portland, production files were sent to the Shenzhen team where samples were made from local materials to be used for actual production and a second set of ISTA testing
performed. After the packaging passed ISTA testing in China it was ready for mass production and delivery to the product factory.

Original packaging on bottom with molded pulp trays and new smaller concept prototype on top using corrugated inserts.
New package design with updated materials and branding. The new packaging was made from lighter and stronger materials, and the decrease in size provided freight savings.

The main areas where we were able to help improve the packaging was the visual impact of the product on shelf and its sustainability. In addition, we tested the concepts to ensure they will make it through the supply chain without damaging the product.
- Katelynn Denning, Packaging Designer, BillerudKorsnäs Managed Packaging

With a successful rollout of the first packaging program, Barebones has worked with Managed Packaging to improve quality and performance across their expanding product line, including expansion of production to Pakistan. Packaging production under control, the Managed Packaging team developed additional improvements where retail and transport packaging are designed in tandem for pallet optimization and more efficient use of warehouse space, something that they had not thought to do themselves.

“The previous lantern packaging used bulky molded pulp trays that wrapped around the lanterns and reduced visibility of the product. The new design featured a larger opening for better product visibility and used a lower profile corrugated insert to hold the product securely in place. This new solution allowed us to decrease the outer dimensions of the box and the materials used, which helps to reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact aligning with their B Corporation goals.
- Katelynn Denning, Packaging Designer, BillerudKorsnäs Managed Packaging

Results

Barebones has experienced significant growth in the past two years it has worked with Managed Packaging. The partnership between the two companies has allowed Barebones to remain focused on their core business of bringing high end outdoor products to market and leaving the complexity of packaging development in Asia to the experienced team at Managed Packaging. Packaging program results:

  • ISTA testing protocols prevent in transit damage and eliminate the need to repack at the DC
  • Access to a wider range of potential materials and structural designs result in higher quality packaging the factory could not source
  • Consistent, uniform quality across an expanding product line and manufacturing footprint in Asia for a better brand and customer experience
  • Product OEM/factories appreciate the higher quality packaging which saves them time for design and testing and is outside their core competency
  • One point of contact allows Barebones to run their international packaging program during regular US business hours. The BillerudKorsnäs team works across geographies and time zones for implementation and delivery of packaging to OEM/factories in Southeast Asia.

When our manufacturing partners receive BillerudKorsnäs packaging, they’re always blown away. It’s 10 or 100 times better than anything they’d even thought about... As a senior product manager, BillerudKorsnäs simplifies my job. I know that the packaging is going to turn out well, everything is going to be thorough and well-managed, and I don’t have to worry about any hassles.
Christian Halling, Senior Product Manager, Barebones