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The Evolution of B2B Buying:  5 Essential Criteria for Selecting Your Ideal Packaging Partner

In today's fast-paced B2B landscape, where Millennial and Gen Z buyers dominate the scene, selecting the right packaging partner is crucial. The evolution of B2B buying demands more than just a transaction; it requires a strategic alliance with a supplier who understands the unique challenges of your industry. Here are five essential criteria to guide you in choosing your ideal packaging partner.

Today’s B2B buyers have higher expectations in how they source and purchase from suppliers.  A few must-haves to appeal to the Millennial and Gen Z community which now makes up more than 60% of B2B buyers includes access to self-serve data, intuitive product variety and validated examples of success before engaging with a salesperson.  If you are looking to make a supplier decision, here are five essential criteria to evaluate when selecting your ideal packaging partner.  our options that will help you get the most from your partnership.  

Business is moving swiftly, forcing you to make decisions that much quicker.  When you’re tasked with selecting new packaging equipment or exploring a more efficient approach to achieving your packaging and fulfillment goals, you want a trusted partner who understands your needs and can provide concrete data and insights to enable you to make the best decisions. Here are five ways to assess if you have the right packaging partner.


1. Streamlined Product & Services Search  

Buyers simply do not have the time to chat with a host of salespeople from various companies (nor do they want to!).  As you start your digital journey to search for products and services, look for vendors that make it easy for you to find what you are looking for with intuitive search terms, various ways to locate options on their website and bold imagery that visually demonstrates the products or applications. 

The quality of the information is important too. You want convenient access to validated research, easy to understand product information, product demonstrations, and more.   Look for research and product information that’s presented in a consultative manner, is objective, and easy to read. It shouldn’t be filled with complex technical jargon, rather it should naturally guide you through the buying process, thoughtfully outlining key features and benefits.  

Be sure to access social media channels to gain a better understanding of the company behind the products. YouTube is ideal for demonstrating products which is often a good indicator of the training and support resources provided by a company.  Look for companies to be active on LinkedIn with regular posts about product innovations, articles that provide insight into industry challenges and provide a glimpse into their company culture.


2. Expertise in Your Industry

Every operation has its own set of distinctive challenges and the most successful and long-lasting solutions come from vendors who have deep experience in a variety of industries. You also want to partner with a supplier that understands there are multiple stakeholders involved in the decision making. Today, it’s not unusual for six to eight people to be part of the selection process– all with different motivations.

Investigate manufacturers who have a variety of case studies that illustrate that they truly understand the challenges you likely face. Studying this evidence-based research allows you to review companies with issues similar to yours and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the manufacturer’s proposed solution. Essentially, it serves as proof that companies can achieve what they say they can do.

As you have narrowed down products, systems, and even manufacturers, be sure to review the manufacturers’ knowledge hub for articles, white papers and eBooks. While case studies focus on one client, these valuable research tools take a consultative, advice-giving approach, featuring best practices for improving throughput, sustainability, and even unboxing techniques to boost customer perception.  

A robust content library that offers detailed analysis, emerging trends and market shifts that affect the packaging industry and businesses like yours is a strong indication that the company is a thought leader can help you anticipate and quickly respond to future trends.


3. Solve the Biggest Challenges – Before & After the Sale

Sooner or later, many companies encounter unique or especially challenging packaging issues. Rather than suffering downtime or a drop in throughput, it’s important to look for a vendor with a team of curious and certified packaging professionals who have a passion for finding the right solutions.  Confirming that there is ample support before and after the sale is critical. 

An example of this can be found at the Pregis IQ® where a team of engineers tackle businesses’ biggest packaging challenges. Inside the US and Europe packaging innovation headquarters, ISTA-certified packaging engineers provide recommendations for lowering damage rates, implementing sustainable products and processes, and integrating solutions into an operation’s packaging line to increase efficiency and reduce labor demands. Once a solution is created, the staff conducts package testing to meet ISTA and Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network (APASS) protocols. The Pregis IQ offers the expertise and capabilities to deliver a level of confidence that’s difficult to find elsewhere.

The Pregis team doesn’t stop at the recommendations of what to do but rather shift into the implementation phase to provide installation, training and support after the sale.  Choosing a supplier that has internal resources and a network of trusted partners to provide local, custom tailored support is key to managing the fast-paced changes of today’s business environment. 


4. Demonstrate Data-Backed Decision Making

The next generation of B2B buyers are active information seekers.  That’s why it’s so important to look for a packaging manufacturer that can takes the time to understand your key performance indicators and quantify their impact to your business.

If sustainability is part of your selection criteria, you should rely on a data-driven approach for selecting sustainable packaging solutions. For example, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) provides a concrete model to measure the environmental impact of a product from raw material sourcing, to manufacturing and through use and disposal. Simply stated, LCA data helps you make fact-based decisions.

As numbers don’t lie, another evaluation to lean into is the Pregis EcoGauge.  The EcoGauge calculator quantifies the environmental impact of products damaged during transit.  This evaluation analyzes data provided by the shipper, including the number of annual packages shipped, damage rate, and average product weight. The report compares how a packaging solution can reduce the amount of resources that will be needed to dispose of damaged products and deliver replacements. These easy-to-understand calculations give you the confidence to green light (or red flag) packaging solutions.

The most important part of the evaluation is making sure the supplier understands your needs and can validate how they are helping you achieve your goals on a continuous basis. 


5. Invest in Environmental and Philanthropic Efforts

Choosing a packaging partner is not about price alone. And, as more Millennial and Gen Z buyers take the lead on purchasing decisions, manufacturers are discovering they must be transparent and sincere in their environmental, social, and philanthropic efforts.

Dive into manufacturers’ websites to explore the depth of their sustainability efforts. Is sustainability truly part of their DNA? Do they employ a multi-faceted approach to protecting, preserving, and inspiring its customers, community, and industry?

The Pregis 2K30 goals are a good example of a company’s commitment to reduce consumption of virgin raw materials and greenhouse emissions while also focusing on educating customers on how to improve their sustainability profile. 

The company is also giving back with its #InspyreChange. The Pregis Inspyre™ Packaging is a brand member of 1% for the Planet, a non-profit that tracks and verifies donations to a collection of approved charities. Through the Inspyre Program, at least 1% of all Inspyre packaging sales are donated to Uzima, a charity that fights water insecurities around the globe by providing water filters and clean drinking water to people in need. All Inspyre packaging carries the message of helping to fight water insecurities for customers and end-users.   


At Pregis, we’re eager to help you keep your products safe. We would enjoy the opportunity to consult with you on your toughest packaging challenges. Please contact us.