Many large companies make their own boxes and print their own information on the outside. They keep as much as possible in-house to save costs. Small and medium sized companies do not always have the labor force to do this work. They must depend on box manufacturers to make the boxes and print the outside. Many packaging manufacturers do this work in-house and have at least 1 staff member to work with these smaller companies. They will help create the design and print it on the boxes as part of the packaging manufacturing process.
There are costs involved for a packaging company that embarks on this step. There is the cost of box design if it is an offered service. Computers are necessary to handle the graphics as well as control the printers. Printers used for this type of work are industrial grade and are very expensive. A continual supply of ink is another added cost. All of these costs are passed on to the purchaser, but they must be kept in check by the packaging company.
The computers and printers are relatively fixed costs. Both machines will need maintenance and occasional upgrades, but the price can be built into the budget easily. Designers are employees and while they do generally require occasional raises, this cost can be controlled and determined by the box manufacturing company. Ink is another matter entirely.
Any item that is used and must be replaced is a consumable product. Ink fits into this category. When the printer runs dry, production screeches to a halt. Unfortunately, while commercial ink is much more reasonably priced than that used in home printers, it still costs money. Prices generally go up, not down and ink is no exception. The materials used to make ink are just like boxes. Cost control on this product cannot be exercised by using easily available recycled materials. Most inks contain a dye made of various mineral components and fillers. While ink companies do their best to control costs, this is not always possible. The cost is then passed on to the buyer. Managers of packaging companies must comparison shop on a regular basis to keep this cost under control.