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Thinking About the Box: Taking Packaging Specification Management to the next level

2020/10/14

Centralised, digital packaging specification and materials management is the way forward for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) businesses.

It’s time to wake up to just how big packaging is – according the NVC Puma project, the world now packs at least 320,000 products each second. So, by the time you’ve read this far, over a half a million packs will have been created somewhere…

 

Packaging Hero or Packaging Villain?

Hero or villain? It depends your viewpoint, packaging can play either role.

Packaging Hero for ensuring food and pharmaceuticals are safe from potential contamination (especially relevant in current times!).

  OR

Packaging Villain as a constant reminder of our environmental impact: protecting the product to the point of consumption, but redundant once the product is consumed. 

Undoubtedly, it’s an exciting but challenging time to be a packaging professional in a CPG industry.  

Packaging technologists across food, pet food, beverage, household, health and beauty are responsible for the management of an extensive number of packaging material and component specifications. That’s a lot of master data.

  

Every piece of packaging is under continual review

New recycling and material recovery technologies, new viewpoints on materials, new consumer trends like the acceleration of ecommerce. These will all change the way we need to think about packaging.

But updating packaging is not a two second task. Each piece of packaging requires careful and detailed specification in terms of material substrate, dimension and performance. Factors include manufacturing line efficiency, supply chain efficiency, purchasing cost and environmental impact. 

Line trials and transit trials are required, multiple departments are involved from R&D through to Engineering, Manufacturing, Marketing, Supply Chain and Consumer Services. 

  

A constant and immediate requirement for packaging data visibility and reporting

What is new in the packaging space is a constant immediate requirement for visibility, impact analysis and reporting.

Now more than ever, CPG businesses are constantly tasked to search, analyse and report on the volume and specification of the packaging materials being used. Internally to support strategic objectives or externally to support consumers, retailers and/or the legal requirements of packaging levies and waste legislation.

The way packaging specifications are currently managed often does not support this requirement for deep searching, data mining and accurate analysis.

   

A misalignment of ways of working is burning internal resources

Many CPG businesses are using a mix of online and offline resources. Data can be split between ERP/PLM and Excel, and ways of working are potentially different between sites. Specifications may not be properly versioned, and some data is likely out of date or irrelevant.

A lot of internal resources are being consumed gathering information and creating custom reports. Time and expertise that would be better refocussed on future packaging innovation strategy. 

  

An opportunity to take packaging specifications to the next level

We like to think of this as an opportunity.

An opportunity to create a central digital store of all packaging specification data that allows:

  • Visibility in order to make better strategic decisions
  • Analysis in order to support and act on supply chain insights
  • Reporting in order to better satisfy consumer and retailer requests for information, calculate material usage and packaging levies

Centralising information gives remote teams greater opportunity to collaborate. Connecting teams up with data can streamline the way businesses operate. Suppliers can be made accountable for the data within specifications. Dashboards can be created to readily report on the progress of strategic rationalisation, standardisation and sustainability objectives.

We all need to do more with less resource, therefore making use of digital software systems to streamline and automate packaging change processes is a no-brainer.

 

Web based Specification Management Software is a potential gamechanger

Adding cloud or web-based Specification Management Software to your digital ecosystem is a potential game changer.

It offers opportunities to:

  • Centralise and digitise all specifications in appropriate structures and hierarchy
  • Create one connected repository for related file assets such as technical drawings; tooling diagrams; cutter profiles etc
  • Collaborate more effectively across the supply chain
  • Reinforce rationalisation and support simplification
  • Make faster decisions and perform quicker impact analyses
  • Integrate with ERP for the synchronisation and maintenance of master data.

And of course, create dashboards to report on any` aspect of the data or processes it is managing.

 

About 4Pack

4Pack is a cloud based SaaS solution that offers all these benefits and more.

4Pack is a powerful web based platform that enables businesses to centralise all data, file information and business process relating to packaging in a way that is personalised and specific to your business.

4Pack offers an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that allows each individual user access to customise their own dashboard, create their own searches and reports.

The team at 4Pack has over 20+ years of working with CPG businesses to solve their packaging, pack change and commercialisation challenges through digital transformation.

Speak to a member of the team today and we would be delighted to show you how we can transform your business.

 

4Pack exists to help Food & Beverage manufacturers and brands of all sizes to push innovative, safer products to market across channels quickly. If you want to turbo charge your product launch process, book a demo with one of our experts.

 

 

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