Explaining Overs and Unders in Custom Manufacturing

By Katelan Cunningham · December 21, 2017

Overs and unders are common in all kinds of custom manufacturing, not just packaging. 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. In the case of packaging, let's say you order 10,000 custom boxes. You'll actually receive up to 10% more or less than 10,000, but why? 

The long and short of it is that overs and unders are a tool for quality control. Let's talk about how they work, why they happen, and how do they affect your cost.


In custom packaging, manufacturers make tooling (printing plates and cutting dies) just for your project, then your 10,000-box run is queued up for machine time. Within your project's machine time, the manufacturer allots additional setup time and materials (around 10%) for testing.

During setup, they check the boxes and pull rejects that can come from from printing plates shifting, ink wells clogging, or temperatures changing. Setup is pivotal for a successful production run, and this is when the manufacturer uses your overs. If setup goes smoothly with only a few bad apples, then there's plenty of time and additional materials for your project run. In that case, you receive the additional 10% of boxes in your final order.

Cost: At Lumi, overs are listed on your final invoice and you'll receive your invoice after your production run. We won't produce more than 10% overs. 

 Explaining Overs and Unders in Custom Manufacturing


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 you will receive less than what you ordered. 

Cost: Unders happen very rarely in custom packaging, but if they happen at Lumi, we'll refund you or give you a credit for the difference. If unders are a big concern, let us know. We maybe able plan for more time or materials than the standard 10%, but in that case you could be charged more than the 10% of overs. 

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

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