3.7 Packaging considerations

The way the goods (food or non-food items) are packed will influence the speed and effectiveness of the distribution. Consider the following:

  • Grouping items in a kit can reduce the distribution infrastructure needed (e.g. stations/tables/staff) and makes the distribution faster (good for when security is an issue or distribution needs to be rapid). It also facilitates management and monitoring of stock flow as only one article needs to be monitored.
  • Packing a kit requires more time, labour and packing materials prior to the distribution, and it is ultimately more costly.
  • If packing a kit, packing should be culturally and environmentally appropriate.
  • Packaging of kits can be negotiated directly with the suppliers (i.e. they deliver pre-packaged to CARE), or an assembly process can be managed by CARE after receipt of supplies.
  • The durability of materials can also affect packaging and distribution options. For example, more fragile bottles of oil that may leak or break should not be packed to prevent contaminating other items or foods. In such cases, it may be advisable to distribute certain items separately from kits.
  • Preparing packaging materials in advance. For example, developing reinforced wrapping for oil with the supplier can prevent many problems during the supply chain and distribution exercise.
  • Gender, diversity and ability to move packages should be considered. Package size and weight should be adapted to the individual retrieving the package.