How to Choose the Right Packaging Material Supplier


Posted: March 13th, 2020 Author: Jim Higgs

Table of Contents

  1. Challenges
  2. Considerations
  3. Capabilities

As a distributor or procurement professional, you may be wondering what to look for in a packaging material supplier. There's a lot to keep in mind, from design capabilities and materials to availability of stock and lead times. But, the main thing to consider is: do they have what your business needs?

In this guide, we'll discuss some tips for choosing the right packaging material supplier and how choosing the right one can lead to a successful partnership, save you time, and help you deliver your products safely.


The trick to finding the right packaging manufacturer is knowing how to balance multiple factors. If you're a sales and purchasing manager, you likely have some pressure to keep costs low. But more goes into saving money than the quote your vendor gives you. Lead times affect your bottom line, so it may be worth it to pay a higher premium for packaging that can be delivered faster. 

The essential consideration is the quality of the material and construction. Protecting your products is paramount — it's why you're looking for packaging in the first place.

So, your main task is to balance these elements to find the best solution for your packaging needs.


What might you consider in a packaging material supplier? Examining the following conditions can help you make the right decision:

Experience and Quality

Your packaging manufacturer should have the expertise to meet your standards. When looking for custom packaging solutions, ask to see a portfolio of their past work. Review some of their clientele and look for experience in your industry or similar companies to yours. A top-notch supplier will even refer you to some of their other customers. If your industry has regulations on packaging, ensure the manufacturer is familiar with those codes. 

Some suppliers specialize in build-to-print processes, while others offer a robust design and manufacturing team to fulfill your custom needs. The manufacturer's knowledge and resources in these areas should align with your needs.

Keep the company's overall experience in mind, too. Ask how they've honed their processes in the last few years, and what they do to provide efficient service. You might also inquire about planned improvements to maximize efficiency. These questions help you determine how your packaging material supplier will grow with you throughout your partnership.

Customer Service

A devoted customer service specialist can save you time and resources and ensure top quality for your packaging. Each order deserves time, attention to detail and skillful execution, so you get the best products delivered every time.


As a vital aspect of supply chain management, sustainability has risen in demand. Both consumers and distributors alike want to know their products are sustainable. In order for products to meet sustainability standards, their packaging needs to be manufactured using renewable energy and created with as many recycled and renewable materials as possible.

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Quality of Materials


High-grade materials protect your products. No matter your product line, ensuring they reach consumers intact is essential. Plus, the packaging is often the first thing your customers experience about your products. Durable construction that's pleasing to the touch reflects your brand's quality. Your vendor will recommend materials based on your packaging needs to provide the highest quality.

Availability of Stock

Your supplier should offer a selection of quality materials for your packaging. You'll want a supplier who has a vast arsenal of materials to build your current and future projects. A wide variety of textures means your vendor will be able to meet requests even as your needs change.

In addition to variety, you should look for availability. Greater supply means a shorter lead time for you, which saves you resources.

Reasonable Prices

Looking for reasonable prices means factoring in quality, too. A superior packaging supplier will offer competitive pricing based on the quality of their materials, manufacturing and service. However, more affordable options may sacrifice on quality.

Timely Delivery

Time is a precious resource. The shorter the lead times of your supplier, the smoother your company's operations. Packaging suppliers that offer timely delivery will work to improve efficiency and reduce these lead times. They keep orders on track and inform their customers with precise estimates.


Familiarize yourself with a potential supplier's capabilities, so you know they can deliver. Here are a few questions to ask packaging material suppliers:

  • Which processes do packaging material suppliers specialize in? Your specific packaging needs will require one or several procedures. Packaging suppliers often specialize in converting, corrugation, fabrication, extrusion, thermoforming and vacuum-forming, injection molding, milling and assembling. Look for a variety of operations beyond the scope of your current needs, so the vendor can provide packaging solutions as your needs expand.

  • What materials do packaging suppliers work with? Materials can range from plastic, paper or cardboard to alloys and woods. Packaging suppliers may offer a range of materials within one focus area, such as plastic. Look for packaging manufacturers who will offer a variety of materials within their areas of expertise. The more extensive the selection of materials, the more likely the vendor will be able to meet your needs, both present and future.

  • What design capabilities do packaging material suppliers have? When looking for where to buy custom packaging, the design capabilities of the supplier reign supreme. Ask suppliers if they can work from a drawing and create shop drawings based on it. Or, ask if they start from scratch without an initial design. Knowing these details upfront can help you save resources on in-house package design.

Knowing how to choose a packaging manufacturer can be confusing, but these three questions can help you make your choice with confidence.

Caltex Plastics, Your Professional Choice Packaging Material Manufacturer

Choosing a packaging material manufacturer can be a a complicated process. Luckily, Caltex Plastics is here to help.

Caltex Plastics provides the most value for your plastic packaging needs. We create custom solutions for bags, pouches, tubing and more. With the largest selection of roll stock, we can accommodate several design and packaging needs. Since we operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we offer the fastest delivery time possible. With a customer service team dedicated to building lasting relationships with our customers, we can meet or exceed your expectations and considerations when you choose us as a packaging supply partner.

Send us your designs or reach out to learn more about our custom services. We can provide you with all your packaging solutions, from design to fabrication and beyond.


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Last updated: March 13th, 2019