Explaining Overs and Unders in Custom Manufacturing

December 21, 2017

Overs and unders are common in all kinds of custom manufacturing. If you have overs or unders in your order, that means that the quantity you receive will be slightly higher or lower that the quantity you ordered. 

These overs and unders are a tool for quality control. Let's talk about how they work, why they happen, and how they affect your cost.


In custom packaging, manufacturers make custom tooling (printing plates and cutting dies) for your project, then your box run is queued up for a dedicated slot of machine time. Within your project's time slot, the manufacturer allots additional time and materials for setup and testing. 

This setup phase is why a manufacturer orders/makes additional material, aka overs. During setup, they use that excess material in setup, testing to ensure that the machines are dialed in. They pull rejects and they may make adjustments to print plate alignment, ink, etc. 

This setup time is pivotal for a successful production run. If setup goes smoothly with only a few rejects, then the manufacturer will use the rest of the production time and material and you will receive a higher quantity than what you ordered. 


At factories, machine time is key. If setup is complicated or a manufacturer needs to run many tests, they may run out of machine time for your project, and/or they may need more than the excess testing material. Running out of time or material would mean that you'd receive less than the quantity you ordered.

Unders happen very rarely in custom packaging, but if you need an exact quantity, you may want to over orders slightly to account for unders. 

At Lumi, we hold to a 10% maximum on overs and unders. Whether you have overs or unders, at Lumi you're, only charged for the number of items produced.

The next time you're working on your packaging budget, don't forget to plan for overs and unders.

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