Print Consulting Creates Major Savings for a National Sock Company

How Adams and I saved one client over 30% on retail packaging


Producing sock packaging can be a lot more complex than it sounds

Adams is proud to serve as the commercial printer for one of America’s oldest sock manufacturers. Responsible for printing all packaging, we first learned the manufacturer’s business, then implemented a system that helped them reduce the cost of printing their packaging by over a third.

How did we cut those costs? By helping our client standardize their packaging and stabilize fluctuations in design and demand.

The sock business is surprisingly complicated. There are many different categories and styles of socks that people need: dress socks, wool socks, hiking socks, etc. Each type of socks must be marketed according to its purpose, meaning design and packaging can vary greatly. Each time packaging is printed, there is a set up cost. When there is a whole range of shorter runs for different types of socks, both unit costs and overall spend can rise rapidly.

Additionally, the consumer market demands different amounts of the different types of socks. For example, dress socks consistently outsell hiking socks. The quantities of each type of sock required can differ hugely. Then there’s the whole issue of different brands, regional variations, and special runs for individual retailers. These factors create packaging nightmares with runaway costs.

Adams identified a way to cut printing costs and complexity

When the manufacturer first approached us, we spent time to learn about their business. We quickly realized the problem with printing costs. The easy route would have been to say nothing, take their orders, and let them continue to overspend on commercial printing. But that’s not how we create long-term relationships with our clients.

In this case, we met with the manufacturer’s key stakeholders, including the owner, the marketing brand managers, and the purchasing coordinators. After coming to understand the printing challenges that each department was facing, we recommended that the manufacturer standardize printing production in order reduce costs.

We developed an entirely new design of packaging for socks

Traditionally, the dimensions of each sock package are slightly different due to the varying size and thickness of different socks. The manufacturer was printing packaging with entirely different specifications for each their many sock lines. We helped them develop a pack that allows the dimensions to be changed during the packing process rather than the printing process. Just like some socks, we created a one size fits all solution!

To the untrained eye the new packaging actually doesn’t look much different from the original. However, some clever packaging engineering enabled the new pack design to fit more than 75% of our client’s range of socks. As a result, the manufacturer had sewer setup costs for each printing run. We also designed the packaging specifications so that we could produce more packs from each sheet of material. These two factors helped reduce their commercial printing costs by over 30%.

In addition to the printing more packaging per sheet, we also improved my client’s environmental footprint by creating a cardboard hook. This eliminated the need for plastic hooks. It also saved time. The manufacturer no longer had to order and manage their inventory of hooks, and employees did not need to affix them to the each sock’s packaging. The new design was quicker to assemble, so the client saved on more than direct print costs alone.


There’s more than packaging design in our solution

Adams didn’t just redesign the packaging. We reviewed the way we produce it as well. New standardardized packaging allowed us to change the manufacturing process. We developed a demand forecasting system with our client. Using our specialised planning processes, we can accurately predict our client’s upcoming printing requirements. This allows us to batch small quantities of packaging together into a larger, more economical order.

We also helped our client launch new products more effectively

As the business relationship between Adams and the manufacturer matured, we introduced a new service for our client. We now produce on-demand brand mockups for trade shows. We can run low quantities of packaging extremely economically. At the same time we are able guarantee that the mockups will look exactly the same as the any final packaging that we would mass produce. This allows the brand and marketing teams to test new ideas and products and lockin the designs that the market responds best to.

So what have the economic benefits been for our client?

We have saved our client over 30% in printing costs alone. Printing costs for lower-run sock packaging have been reduced by over 50%. When a company produces packaging on the scale that they do, that amounts to sizable savings.

However, they have also saved costs in other areas too. The new packaging has reduced packing costs and produces more packaging per sheet. Our client no longer has to source and stock manage plastic hooks for their packaging, saving money as well as assembly time.

Finally, the company now has a much more robust way to test products. This means that they are less likely to launch lines that do not sell. They can have confidence in their new promotions. Overall profitability has increased, and printing has played a major role.

How can we help your brand?

Adams and I do more than supply packaging and commercial printing. We serve as a strategic partner with an eye on improving our clients’ business. Many companies contact the printing company when they have a final design. The trouble with this approach is that it is too late at this point to create benefits and savings. Because graphic designers are not trained in packaging production, they do not consider the business costs that their design can have on packaging production. Many printing companies are happy to produce what their clients ask for. They profit from their customers’ lack of knowledge.

At Adams, we prefer to be involved at the beginning of the process. This allows us to challenge our clients and help them determine more cost-effective, profitable solutions. Whatever you produce, I am here to partner with you to improve your business. I enjoy finding solutions to problems that you didn’t know you had, just like I did with the sock company.

Contact me now to find out how Adams and I can help you with your packaging solutions.