PLM – the right packaging and design management

Shakespeare already knew the consequences of miscommunication. Had Rome and Juliet reconciled, their tragic demise could have likely been avoided. What often serves as the best literary narrative is an important element the food and beverage industry: the right communication. Especially when it comes to managing and designing food product packaging, the seamless calibration of interdepartmental communication is a must. Therefore, investing in a product lifecycle management (PLM) system can be quite beneficial.

Laying the groundwork for success

Designing food product packaging involves several departments of an enterprise. Marketing, Manufacturing, Sales – all have their ideas about how to package these products. All these functional areas have the same intention: to design the best product possible to ensure the greatest sales potential, but their approach in doing so often differs greatly, presenting certain challenges to the overall management of food product packaging and design.

Imagine the following scenario: a cereal manufacturer wants to modernize the look and feel for the packaging of its breakfast granola. The company wants to better meet the demands of its customers and at the same time, assume greater social responsibility, so it delegates this task to Marketing, Production and Sales. For Marketing, it is instantly clear: you need a nice, large font on the box, which also needs to be able to accommodate important information and a cool logo. But for Manufacturing, the most important thing is a stable product carton. And Sales will want something else for consumers. If all departments were able to individually work on their own prototypes, the project wouldn’t be finished for years; hence, successful product package design requires cross-functional communication.

The PLM levelling effect

Designing product packaging is clearly the greatest challenge for enterprises in the food and beverage industry. Especially when dealing with a new product to be brought to market, all team members must be involved in the packaging and design management process. Multiple team members mean differing opinions to be sorted out, since each department has its own core competencies and focal points in the entire development process. Automating all processes, especially that of data management, is therefore indispensable at this point, and benefits enterprises in many ways.

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The packaging and design management process may entail endless meetings, countless e-mails and phone calls, but it doesn’t have to. Instead, implementing a PLM system can be just the right solution to help departments better interface with one other. With a PLM system in place, coworkers can input all their ideas and suggestions regarding food product packaging and make this data available to others, enabling other teams to access it. A PLM system, for instance, can aid everyone involved in the process of developing food product packaging, from the project’s very inception, and everyone involved up to date on the current status. This way, conflicts can be identified and solved more quickly, and in turn, the entire production time shortened, from the concept stage to product launch, and sources of error minimized.

Damage control by proactive planning

According to a representative study, the productivity gap between an enterprise’s most successful and least successful product is often up to 350 percent. This represents a big gap, one which can incur unnecessary costs. Total losses on food product packages follow a similar pattern. Nearly 0.25 to 3 percent of the total losses in annual revenue of the companies examined in the survey were attributed to such factors. Product recalls, reprints, including last-minute changes in the production process, all frequently lead to a food product packaging, costing companies a lot of money and damaging their brand image – and all before the product is even launched.

Working with a PLM system is therefore highly recommended, in order to prevent such financial losses. A PLM system can be used to detect and avoid early any kind of complications pertaining to packaging and design management. A PLM software offers so many solutions to many problems – and all within a single system. It simplifies the preparation of creative and technical documents for briefings, offers many tools for faster packaging design and makes several tests possible, eliminating long prototype production times, as well as enabling food production packaging to undergo multiple print and stress tests. The PLM solution also enables the on-demand reproduction of print templates during the production process.

State of the art with PLM

It goes without saying that the best marketing tool for a food and beverage enterprise is product packaging. But other requirements must also be met to be able to secure market position and differentiate one’s self from the competition. This puts a lot of demand on packaging and design management experts in enterprises. On one hand, the regulatory requirements and regulations for compliance must be considered, and on the other hand, the increasingly faster product lifecycles. This in addition to the increased pressure placed on food product packaging developers by online trading and social media.

Food and beverage enterprises must increasingly implement more projects in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, consumers are spending less money, resources are rising in cost, and the subject of sustainability is gaining increased significance, added to the fact that informed consumers are exercising more influence on the internet and social media. This puts enterprises to the test of developing a product perfectly tailored to consumer demands while at the same time, fulfilling both business objectives and societal standards. A challenge, which speaks to the need for PLM system support.

Effective bundling of efficient process steps

Businesses that take advantage of a PLM solution for food product packaging and design management are a step ahead. A PLM solution not only combines workflows of both creatives and technical team members, but also saves enterprises a lot of time. Especially in these fast-paced times, where enterprises must constantly adapt to increased demands of social responsibility and sustainability, using a standardized and future-proof system is a must. A PLM system particularly proves itself useful, as it has standardized tools and data, which can be accessed by all project members.

In addition, a PLM system facilitates optimal use of materials, modern production methods, and traceability of all materials and processes involved, reducing food product packaging manufacturing costs and development times while simultaneously improving the quality of the final product. Ultimately, with PLM, nothing stands in the way of a seamless development process, from concept to graphic and structural design, through to the final test, validation, and product launch phases.

Featured Image: © fotolia / tumoxasan

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