Fitting Pieces Together: Packaging, Product Design, Supply Chain and Testing

Examples of Packaging Consulting work

Major home appliances: Extensive work for some of the largest manufacturers in the US and Korea.  Millions of dollars saved in logistics costs and damages. 


Extensive work for some of the largest consumer products companies in the US, reviewing their packaging, test methods, and then implementing packaging postponement strategies.  Tens of millions of dollars saved in materials and logistics costs.

Extensive work on e-commerce trade for various Fortune 500 clients. Assessed why and how damages occur differently in e-commerce trade vs. brick and mortar retail outlets.  

Food manufacturing companies: substantial reductions on inbound freight of components, box redesign, and outbound freight costs for products that weigh out before they cube out trailers.

Expert witness in worker injury cases.  Kevin has thus far worked only for the injured party.  In each case, Kevin helped define why and how a package failed, leading to lifelong injuries, and how such failures could have been prevented with better design, better testing, and better knowledge of what actually occurs in distribution handling. 

Large, expensive machinery ($250,000 - $1 million a piece). Damages were an issue for one company, even though they used extraordinary amounts of costly protective packaging.  The problem though, Kevin discovered, occurred before the truck left the parking lot.  Another product, which was 100% air shipped, had been paying by volume, even though it weighed over 2000 lbs.  By simply reducing the size of the crate by a few inches they were able to pay by weight, reducing annual shipping costs by $2 million.


High volume electronics shipped globally.  Kevin has worked for several US based electronics companies, but also companies in Australia, Korea and China.


Large flat products shipped LTL, such as display boards, large screen t.v.s, windows, etc.


Food packaging distribution in Europe; 

Assessment of Sam's Club distribution system and then helped write the ISTA test method for this supply chain. 

Assessed the supply chain of one of the largest air freight forwarders in the world to discern why certain packages (from a Fortune 500 company) had high failure rates.  The manufacturer believed it was from abusive handling, but Kevin discovered the packaging hadn't been designed appropriately.

FAQs...Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where do you find the greatest savings opportunities?

A: Reducing logistics costs usually far outstrips reducing material costs, but it all depends.  Sometimes it's worthwhile to increase packaging costs to reduce overall costs.  For instance, if the client has shipping damages, it may require more protective packaging than was being used.  For one client, who assumed we'd trade out their expensive corrugated boxes for much less expensive shrink wrap, we actually decided to triple their packaging costs.  By using far more robust packaging, they were able to institute a returnable system, along with reducing damages, and saved $10 million in the first year of production.  Companies that only focus on one cost, such as components or packaging, often miss the opportunity to improve their profitability. 

Q: Describe a typical packaging consulting process.

A:  Once a contract is signed, Kevin normally visits the manufacturing and/or distribution site to see how products are tested, built, packaged, stored, handled and then loaded into trailers.  Kevin also inspects inbound trailers for their efficiency. If there's a returns area, then this can provide terrific insight as to what fails in the field.  

Larger clients usually have Kevin visit multiple sites, often overseas, to better understand why and where failures occur, and to search out the greatest savings opportunities.  Identifying problems, gaps in testing vs. real world inputs, and analyzing the cost impact for proposed changes, are all presented to the client as soon as possible after assessing the supply chain.  

Some clients have Kevin do the design work, help find appropriate suppliers, and then follow new designs into production, while others attempt to do these things themselves. 


Q: How do you charge?


A:  I have worked by the hour, by the day, by the week, by multi-month retainer, and by gain share.  Gain share is where the client pays nothing if Kevin doesn't find cost savings opportunities.  However, if there are savings identified, then the client pays a percentage of the annual savings.   As an expert witness, the charges are always hourly.  For most manufacturers, either gain share or some combination of hourly and gain share are negotiated.


Q: Are you fully devoted to the needs of the client, or are you compensated by others, like material suppliers, you may steer clients towards?

A: Kevin is a professional consultant, listed on the IoPP Consultants website, where members pledge an oath to work only for the good of the client.  In other words, this is similar to a fiduciary responsibility towards each client to offer only the best, most cost effective solution possible. Kevin is material agnostic and is well known for presenting technically creative solutions that balance the needs of product design, marketing, quality assurance, supply chain and packaging engineering, always driving towards the lowest landed cost possible, even if it means certain costs might increase.   

Contact Us

Drop us a line!

Packnomics LLC.

333 Southeast 48th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97215, United States

Kevin Howard Cell: (360) 606-0235 Desk: (360) 828-8822