Understanding lead time for Custom Printed Packaging Boxes

The laws of marketing encourage brands to keep an increasing focus on the packaging of their products. The boxes in which a product is packed are the first interaction between the product and its customer. An innovatively designed functional and attractive packaging prompts consumers to explore the product.

Due to the importance of these Custom Printed Packaging Boxes in the overall marketing strategy, brands have dedicated teams and resources to ensure boxes articulate the brand personality and act as an ambassadors of the brand. Cardboard boxes are a common form of packaging for at least two centuries. Its main purpose is to protect the products stored inside from damage. However, in recent times, it has evolved into Custom Printed Packaging Boxes.

This innovative packaging carries numerous benefits. Despite satisfying its main function of protecting the product, it enhances the appeal of the product and conveys insights to the consumers resulting in informed buying decisions. By including these boxes in the marketing strategy, brands become capable of reaching their sales goals.

However, for companies to foster successful branding strategies and maintain supply chain efficiency, they need to make sure the lead time for Custom Printed Packaging Boxes is minimal. Every company has a vendor or multiple vendors that they have selected after carefully vetting and planning. They do their part in making sure that the boxes conform to the committed standards and are delivered according to the time frame decided in the contract. The cost is another point that is negotiated and agreed upon by the vendor and the brand.

In this article, we will shed light on the factors that affect lead times for the delivery of these boxes and how to ensure compliance with the decided deadline. What steps vendors should take to ensure they are building high-quality printed boxes in the least possible time?


Determinants of the lead time

Lead time is defined as the time it takes from the placement of an order to its delivery to its end user. The lesser the lead time the more effective and efficient a company is in the conduct of its operations. Lead time serves as an important factor in the packaging industry. It influences various stages of the manufacturing process. Only those companies can provide quick lead time that has streamlined its operation. Such companies enjoy a considerable competitive edge over others.

Moreover, the current era requires companies to display agility in the manufacturing and distribution of products. This particular attribute results in customer satisfaction which is key to the success of any business.

There are a handful of critical factors that affect the lead time. In the following bullets, we will try to elaborate on them.

  • Vendor order book and order volume: The first thing on which lead time is determined is the order book of the manufacturer. A company with an established reputation and market presence will have a strong order book hence the lead times will be longer. However, it is worth waiting a bit longer as this vendor will provide superior quality service and its product will meet the expected quality. The larger the order volume the more time it will take the vendor to complete it.
  • Order complexity: Any additional requirements for the brand also increase lead time on behalf of the vendor. Such as requirements related to any hand-crafted work or a specific type of material that is not in the vendor’s stock will result in increased time in manufacturing. The vendor in that case has to redirect the energy and time of its sources. Furthermore, it will also take time to procure a particular type of material that may not currently be in the inventory of the vendor.
  • Order history: If a brand has a history of delegating work to a vendor then that vendor will value the relationship and offer lower lead times.
  • Transportation: It is the time it takes to ship the order. The lead time in this case is directly proportional to the mode of transportation and the distance between the brand and the vendor. The transit time can vary from one day in case the vendor is located in the same location as his customer. Or it can be stretched out to a month in case of an overseas shipment. Similarly, transportation via sea takes the most time but is cost-friendly as compared to transportation by air which is less timely but expensive.


The quicker the lead time the more credibility and customers can a vendor enjoy. This can be achieved by enhanced vendor and customer collaboration. This reduces the supply chain disruption and streamlines the design process. By mastering the just-in-time manufacturing lead times can also be reduced. This approach minimizes inventory handling costs and optimizes production schedules. Companies that invest in automation and advanced machinery can also make their production process faster. Lastly, companies should partner with logistics experts to provide the fastest transportation possible thereby reducing the lead times.

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