May 12, 2017

Celebrating Mother Nature’s Perfect Packaging


This blog is dedicated to every mother on Mother’s Day and how mothers ultimately are the perfect package.


There is an optimized, or perfect package, for every product made on Earth. EPE has discovered the process and materials to find every products’ perfect package.  That’s a pretty bold statement, huh? Let me back it up.


Man-made products require man-made packaging, but to be able to understand how to create the perfect package, EPE had to first understand and learn from the greatest packaging designer on earth: Mother Nature.


Mother Nature inspires us at EPE with examples of her work on a daily basis.  I couldn’t think of a better lady to follow and emulate in case we needed help, which we obviously did. Okay, I know you’re wondering about Mother Nature’s packaging – allow me to provide some really cool examples.


For starters, what is the best package ever created anywhere on earth? It’s the mother’s womb. From a packaging standpoint, the mother’s womb has everything you could ever ask for in a package and then some. Protecting the product? What more could you ask for than being safely secured inside your mom? You’re basically hand-carried around for nine months with not only your mom watching out for you, but usually everyone around you as well. Pretty much the best product protection you could ask for.  What about graphics? Well, there’s no doubt about the baby bump and what that’s advertising right? Environmentally friendly? It’s the best because it completely goes away and doesn’t create any waste. Talk about a multi-functional package, huh?




So, let’s start with the definition of a perfect package. I’m sure everyone has their own opinion; the marketing focus will be on graphics and claim it’s all about customer appeal, while the engineers will demand product protection as the holy grail and conduct testing until they can be sure nothing breaks when it gets dropped from the Golden Gate Bridge.


I have a different viewpoint – one that’s more focused on reaching the balance of costs versus protection. To me, it’s about optimizing the intersection of the cost to transit your products from manufacturing to the end customer while maintaining the product integrity. Here’s my thinking, it’s a really simple process; first, product damage and packaging costs can be measured. Since it’s measureable, you can optimize the point at which they intersect. If you can optimize that intersection, you can find it, or for better terms, perfect it. Hence, the path to the perfect package.


Let’s look at some other examples, and again I will call on Mother Nature for her help. The egg is an example of a really good package, both for protecting chicks during incubation, as well as eggs that are destined for the supermarkets that ultimately end up on our breakfast tables. In the latter case, Mother Nature needed some help to endure the unnatural transit mode man created for shipping the eggs from hen to store. Man helped by designing the molded pulp or pressed foam for the pack of dozen eggs we buy today. Why twelve eggs per carton?  Check out the history sometime. It started in year 700 so there’s a clue how long it’s been around.


But I digress; the lesson to be learned here is about the egg packaging that we all see in stores, and why we all open and check for broken eggs before we put them in our cart or basket. Why do we check for broken eggs? Because we all know that in every few cartons of eggs you will find a one broken, and you want to make sure you get twelve good eggs before you purchase them – that’s why.




Wait, so I’m saying that everyone knows that there are broken eggs in the carton, and by default, that means the egg companies know that as well – really? The egg companies are shipping eggs in packaging they know creates a few broken eggs in every few cartons. Why don’t they fix this? Well, technically, they have. They have done the same math I have: finding the intersection of the cost of replacing the damaged product vs. the cost to transit the package itself.


The egg companies know exactly how many eggs are broken in transit, and they know exactly how much those broken eggs cost them. That is what we call a data point – pay attention, as we’ll use that data point later.


They also know exactly the cost of the molded pulp or pressed foam cartons they use to transit the eggs. That is data point number two.


Now the simple math: take the cost to replace the broken eggs (make sure you add the freight costs in) and then compare them to the cost of the packaging. The egg companies have done this math, and it clearly shows it is more economically beneficial for them to break a few eggs in transit rather than adding one more penny for packaging protection. For the egg, it’s clear that from a cost standpoint, the current molded pulp and pressed foam packaging has optimized the intersection of costs versus protection, and in the process, the eggs have found  the perfect transit package!


Now, not all products can follow the egg – sorry. In the case of expensive or dangerous products (things that can’t ever break in transit) you can’t afford to have a single failure, and you will bias in that direction when evaluating the cost of replacement vs. cost of packaging intersection.  Imagine how over packed nuclear material is for transit – no expenses spared, right?


I believe every product has a perfect package from a cost vs. protection standpoint. I am fully aware that many packages are focused towards a specific look, feel, and touch, and are biased in that direction for customer appeal.  Those products still follow a similar progression of trading off costs for appeal, and they also have an intersection that those products follow. The math is the same, with just different variables. Don’t believe me? Watch it here.


So, to honor the moms of the world, I have presented examples of great packages on this planet, created both by mothers and Mother Nature. But it’s the moms who are there for us from the beginning, keeping us safe in her perfect package, and then protecting us when we are grown in which we owe everything to.  We here at EPE appreciate her for the daily inspirations. We thank our moms and Mother Nature for her perfect package.


Happy Mother’s Day!