We are often asked by our customers to “value engineer” a POP design they have created. This request is a weekly occurrence at least. All brand marketers are budget conscience these days. Yes, an effective POP display is always the design goal; however, the “value” part should be a designed-in aspect of a truly effective display, not an afterthought. Consideration should be given to materials, labor, finishing, graphics and logistical costs.
A major aspect of material costs is part yields per panel. This is something that should be understood at the beginning of the design process. A commonly used panel size is 48″x96″ for veneered plywood and 49″x97″ for MDF/Particle board melamine and High Pressure Laminates (HPLs). Detailed thought should be given to grain and pattern directions, part sizes and material loss at cut lines. Minor dimensional tweaks can make a large difference in part yields per panel , especially in shorter run production amounts.
A store fixture that is designed to include many small parts or more complex sub-assemblies may increase the production labor costs. This is always an important area in the cost management of a merchandising display. Just the inclusion of simple rounded corners or curved shapes can substantially increase a retail display’s labor cost. I like displays that include curves and softened corners, but if the budget is really tight they may need to be rethought.
Another cost area in a store display that uses natural wood or unlamented MDF is finishing costs. A wooden display that is designed specifying a custom mixed stain and a gloss clear coat is going to be labor intensive. Designers tend to forget about all the drying time and sanding between coats. This can be expensive. The same economics apply to painting. A quality paint is not cheap, and a nice looking finish will need to include sanding and primers. It doesn’t mean finishes can’t be used. Just keep in mind while designing that a nice oiled finish or maybe a flat or mat paint with a clear finish will save labor dollars.
Graphics are an important part of most retail displays, maybe more so today than ever before given all the high tech digital output choices out there now. Graphics have been a blog subject here in the past, so we won’t get into much detail now. But graphics can substantially affect the cost of a point of sale display. A good rule of thumb is the more dimensional the graphics, the more the cost. By dimensional I mean cut-out letters, engraving or other cut-out graphic sub-assemblies. Also potentially costly (depending on run quantities) are multiple color silk-screened graphics. If quantities are lower than 250 displays and cost is important, limit the colors to as few as possible or consider digital output.
Lastly, logistics can also play an important role in the delivered cost of a POP display. Obviously, a display that can be shipped knock-down and easily assembled in the store is optimal. Choosing a design that works well with available knock-down fittings is always best, and a design with as few parts to join as possible is also best. Try to include any complex assembly as shop sub-assembly and not left for field installation or assembly. This, however, is not always possible for all display design solutions. If a display must be shipped assembled, give consideration to final pack dimensions, weight and all aspects of getting the display off loaded, unpackaged, and set-up in its final location in the most cost-effective way possible.
While there are certainly many other aspects of value engineering, focusing on the 4 key areas discussed here will go a long way toward helping to create the most cost-effective POP displays.