“I just want you to pack the stuff into the jars and put them on a pallet and send them to me. Why do I need a box?” Good question. Nobody wants the extra cost of more packaging but there can also be a cost of not having it. If you have no box at all we must find a way to stack all of the product onto a pallet so that it can shipped safely without damage to the goods, and importantly, it can be counted easily and correctly when the pallet is stacked and when it is received at the other end. This counting can be automated with barcode technology. Neither party wants to spend more time counting than necessary.
The minimum packaging would seem to be a box that will contain the maximum weight of product that it is safe for someone to load onto the pallet and unload from it, that can be filled and labelled so that the total quantity of product is easily counted onto the pallet and off it. Into the bargain the product has an extra layer of protection from the weather, dust and dirt and the accidental impact of another pallet.
In some circumstances the box can have another value too. As a distribution unit, the box, containing 6, 10,12,24 or more retail sales units can make it easier for the logistics chain that delivers the goods to the ultimate retail outlet to: protect, carry, count and account for the goods and consequently reduce the cost of doing these things for the benefit of the ultimate retailer. It can even be customised to the level of the individual consumer. The brand owner also has an opportunity to use the outside of the box with graphics to promote the brand further to everyone in the supply chain from manufacturer to retailer. In some cases where the ultimate consumer is a business, the distribution pack and the pallet itself can be a powerful branding opportunity. Think of the amount of advertising area that is on offer on a farm or construction site where a load of pallets are stacked in full sight of visitors.