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November 20, 2018

Shorten lead times: Digital transformation in packaging production

By Chris Rogers, Solutions Marketing Manager, Esko.

This article discusses how the digital transformation of processes at converters improves design efficiency and shortens lead times.

Updating packaging to incorporate new marketing, design, and regulatory information is a constant.


But, how long does it really take to update packaging ?

Through our own market research, Esko has discovered that CMOs at FMCG and CPG companies would like to execute a change to an existing package within an average 30-day lead time.

Those same CMOs believe that today it takes them 90 days; whereas it takes an average of 198 days to implement a change.

CMOs believe that today it takes them 90 days; whereas it takes an average of 198 days to implement a change


Digital transformation in 3 steps

So, how will digital transformation bring the aspiration and the reality closer together?

To make the dream real and achievable, converters need to do three things to their packaging design processes.  They need to:

  • Digitize
  • Automate
  • and Connect


By digitizing packaging design…

A workflow that is currently conducted in a series of static, fragmented stages becomes one live, fluid and cohesive process by digitizing packaging design.

Design assets will be centralized, making them easier and more efficient to share with others in the supply chain.  And manual tracking of projects becomes a thing of the past, because a fully task-driven design workflow will do the tracking for them.


By automating packaging design…

The number of manual interventions will decrease dramatically by implementing automated workflow templates.  Automated email notifications ensure that stakeholders are kept continually up to date about the jobs they have an interest in.

Furthermore, design cycles will shorten, due to the automation of manual design tasks, such as the production of pack shots for customer approvals.  It’s not yet total lights out automation perhaps, but certainly heading in that direction.


By connecting packaging design…

Instead of using different tools, converters can standardize on the technology they use to communicate with colleagues and stakeholders.  Errors caused by the keying and re-keying of data will reduce due to the integration of their design and business management systems.

Potential incompatibility problems – caused by the frequent translation and transfer of files – will also be reduced dramatically because everyone in the supply chain will be working on the same platform.

Today, executing a change to an existing package in 30 days is not an aspiration, it is a reality.

Chris Rogers

About the author

Chris Rogers is a Solutions Marketing Manager at Esko with specific responsibility for the folding carton and corrugated converter segments and has been involved in the packaging supplier industry for almost 30 years.