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How the packaging industry can navigate the coronavirus pandemic?

The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every industry in the world, quite dramatically. The world will likely never be the same, and certain areas of the economy have been affected worse than others. The packaging industry has seen a large increase, and there are many different factors which have contributed to this increase, but at the same time there has become a shortage of cardboard boxes and other raw materials used in the production of packaging which is linked to the pandemic and other macroeconomic factors. So what has caused an increase in demand during the pandemic?

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  • There has been a huge increase in people shopping online for everyday items and products, especially in the run up to Christmas. This is because most high street shops have been forced to shut, all over Europe and around the world, and this has forced people to shop online for almost everything. Online shopping for cardboard boxes for moving house has been increasing slowly for the past twenty years, but this pandemic has accelerated the switch in shopping patterns. Everything that is sold online has to be packaged up safely and effectively, and so the demand for packaging has seen a massive increase.
  • Traditional companies that sell on the high street, or supply shops on the high street, are no longer going to be viable, especially during the pandemic, and so the packaging industry cannot survive supplying these customers. It has to shift to digital retail, and many brands have already made the switch.
  • The packaging industry needs to ensure that it keeps its staff as safe as possible, to minimise the health risks, and to ensure that the factories producing packaging and cardboard packing boxes can remain fully operational. This can be done by having plenty of PPE equipment readily available, and to ensure that the workforce are as spread out as possible. Hand gel stations should be placed around the factory too, and outside contact should be minimised.
  • There has been a shortage of cardboard and other packaging raw materials in recent times as well, and this has been caused by the increase in demand combined with the UK’s exit of the EU. Most of the cardboard used in the UK comes from Europe, and the delays at the boarder have caused a long delay on packaging being readily available. This will eventually ease up, but for the short term it is a problem that most packaging companies face.
  • Many packaging companies are now offering PPE equipment alongside their packaging products such as cardboard packing boxes for moving house, and this not only helps the people of the UK to remain safe but it also helps to keep packaging companies afloat.
  • Another factor which has caused a shortage of packaging is the smaller workforce levels which are operating in most factories in the UK and Europe due to many workers having to stay at home as they are high risk. Less staff means lower production capability, and this has contributed to the shortage.
  • Delivery times of getting packaging to customers has increased substantially too, because the courier network in the UK have seen a massive increase due to the increase in online shopping. This has meant that normal packaging companies are sending their products to customers, who are having to wait much longer than usual before they are received. So there have been hold ups all over the industry, and this has lead to smaller specialist packaging companies succeeding well, who are usually based locally and able to react more quickly and efficiently.