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Our series detailing the brand manager’s role in managing packaging workflow concludes with the final installment of four articles. This month’s article completes our examination of packaging from concept to production and allows us to take a look into the future of packaging workflow and how it can best be integrated into the existing larger Product Life-Cycle Management umbrella.
We’ve spent the past three articles exploring the packaging workflow, beginning with the initial concept and continuing through to production of the package. Our next and final step in the workflow is the filling, palletization, shipping preparation and ultimate distribution of the packaged product.
It might appear as if the workflow presented in Fig. 1 is strictly linear in nature. However, in order to make the most of a packaging workflow system, stakeholders such as graphic designers, structural designers, brand marketers and others can and must be involved to one degree or another at each step of the workflow. It is this type of cross-functional approach that makes it possible to leverage the strength of each stakeholder in the most efficient way.
END-TO-END “SYSTEMS” VIEW ON THE SUPPLY CHAIN
FROM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TO DISTRIBUTION
Take for example the seemingly straightforward task of palletization. Surely this is a clear example of how software can make an onerous task much simpler. Instead of physically stacking pallets in myriad configurations to determine which is the optimum arrangement, software can perform the task in a fraction of the time and effort.
But if you are working within an integrated packaging workflow, the benefits are farther reaching still. The same software that will be called upon to optimize the configuration at the end of the workflow can also feed data upstream that can impact how a structural designer might choose to design his package before it has even left the virtual “drawing board.”
“Obviously, the more products you can fit on a truck, the less the cost associated with transporting that product,” explains Jan de Roeck, worldwide marketing director, packaging software, Esko-Graphics. “By integrating the distribution logistics data into the workflow, we give the designers access to that data. It then becomes an interactive process whereby the structural designer can ask questions such as, ‘What happens if this carton is an eighth of an inch smaller? How does that affect the efficiency downstream?’ It’s that kind of interaction that has the potential to save brand owners a great deal of money over time.”
Over the course of the Seminar in Print series of articles we’ve reviewed but a few examples of the efficiencies that can be created using an integrated packaging workflow that is the heart of Esko-Graphics’ Design Life-Cycle Management initiative. Design Life-Cycle Management (DLM), which is based around Esko-Graphic’s Scope workflow products, is designed to be fully integratable beneath a company’s existing Product Life-Cycle Management umbrella. Complete PLM solutions are used to manage product design, packaging design, production and manufacturing in many of the ways we’ve already discussed in this series of articles. A number of PLM projects have been recently undertaken by Fortune 500 companies and have produced substantial cost and time savings.
By integrating the distribution logistics data into the workflow,
structural designers can take this information into account at the
beginning of the design process and make decisions that can
ultimately mean significant savings down the road.
“Our work with consumer product companies, private label retailers and their graphic communications partners has given Esko-Graphics the experience to drive cost out of the design-chain,” says Simon James, executive vice president and general manager, Esko-Graphics. “Our Design Life-Cycle Management solutions will speed time-to-market and dramatically reduce costs, while also helping to eliminate errors.”
But Design Life-Cycle Management’s true value lies in its ability to manage and accelerate innovation. By removing the onus of time-consuming project management and streamlining the process, Design Life-Cycle Management frees up brand owners, package designers and all of the stakeholders in the design chain so that they can innovate. The system helps brand teams move beyond simply building an individual package to building a powerful brand platform for an entire product line.
“Perhaps the key benefit is providing a collaborative platform across the entire supply chain that fosters innovation,” says James. “Managing and encouraging innovation is rapidly becoming the strategic competitive advantage across a swath of industries.”
Design Life-Cycle Management solutions enable companies to bring more compelling product to market faster, at less cost, and with greater brand impact. And perhaps most important of all, DLM solutions help the package do what it does best—sell the product.
This is the final in a series of four articles on managing packaging workflow from a brand marketer’s perspective. Articles one, two and three appear in the July, August and September 2005 issues of BRANDPACKAGING respectively.
Top of Mind for Brand Owners
Why Design Life-Cycle Management is important
- Lower costs: It drives down package design and production costs through focus on error reduction
- Ensure regulatory compliance: It enables all stakeholders in the supply chain to collaborate in real-time, speeding the packaging design and production process and maintaining consistency of messaging.
- Accelerate time-to-market: It helps speed time-to-market by more than 40%
- Drive quality
- Build brand equity: It fosters innovation, a key competitive advantage in a marketplace that demands new products and new packaging in increasingly shorter lifecycles
At Point-of-purchase, can Your Packaging Compete?
At the point-of-purchase, most consumers don’t see an innovative product—they see the packaging. As most buying decisions are made three feet from the shelf and on impulse, package design is a key competitive advantage for Consumer Product Companies (CPCs) and Retailers (or Private Brands).
Esko-Graphics’ Design Life-Cycle Management solution increases packaging innovation and streamlines the package design process – from ideation through production and distribution. Based on the Esko-Graphics Scope suite of workflow tools, it enables a company’s employees and all supply chain partners alike to communicate, collaborate and execute decisions upstream, downstream and everywhere in between.
Scope covers a wide range of functions, from job management, through graphic and structural design and pre-production operations, to platemaking for printing and toolmaking for converting. Its configurations are specifically designed to the application, process and business needs of individual customers.
In addition, Scope integrates pre-production and process management tools throughout the entire supply chain, from design to delivery in a collaborative workflow, allowing remote and distributed operations. Scope works with open industry standards such as JDF and PDF, and most common MIS and database systems.
Esko-Graphics Design Life-Cycle Management solutions: meeting the needs of Consumer Product Companies and Private Label Retailers.