Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shrink wrapping , a necessary pain ?

Shrink wrapping was a mystery to me.  I thought you had to have specialised machinery to wrap your CDs. So either I was going to outsource it and probably substantially increase my unit cost on the CD or I was just going to have to resign myself to shipping CDs naked. As it turns out it does not take much to do shrink wrapping of at least your CDs. First of all you need one of these:


An industrial heat gun which goes for $58.00. I bought this at which I found has an intense supply of everything related with packaging, stationary, you name it. They also have the other necessary component, of course I’m referring to the PVC shrink bags. These babies go for $18.00 for a 500 unit carton i.e. an approx 4 cents added to the unit cost of the CD. Now, we all now from the tedious accounting classes some of us took at school that cost is not just materials. Its time & materials. So here’s the rub. It will take you a couple minutes or more to do this and guess what it won’t look quite perfect. The bags come with excess material , too much I think. Some excess is needed to accommodate for “shrinkage” but this extra stuff does not quite melt so nicely. Maybe there’s a trick that I have not caught on or maybe you do need some fancy machine to make it look as nice as the CDs you purchase in traditional retailers.

Lately I have been asking myself how necessary is this really. It does protect the CD. Its sort of expected, but this again is a brave new world we independent musicians live in and there are no hard fast rules. I can’t complain about the added material cost but it sure would be a pain to have to do 500 of these by hand. CDBaby interestingly enough does not require them. Secondly, CDs are sent to customers well protected in padded bags when we fulfill the orders. My guess is that these do become necessary when one is sending decent amount of CD stock to traditional retailers but let’s face it we are not there yet. If orders are fulfilled via CDBaby or our site then I think that shrink wrapping is a pain we can do without.

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