Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Rethinking the Direction of Our Supply Chain

The supply chain runs both ways now.

Supply chains run both ways.

We all know that the manufacturing process begins with raw materials and ends with a finished product. But lately it feels more appropriate to consider the cycle in reverse — not pellet to product, but rather people to pellet. Consider this scenario: A brand owner decides to change a product’s packaging to appeal to consumer desires for greater convenience, freshness, sustainability, visibility or all of the above.

A design, or at least a concept, is decided upon. The brand owner takes the design concept to a packaging converter who optimizes the concept for performance, manufacturability and cost. The converter must put in a new line for the project and engages an equipment manufacturer. Together they reach out to material suppliers who help them obtain the desired properties for their new package.

SPI’s Flexible Film and Bag Division will be highlighting this dynamic at its Spring Conference (May 8-10 in Nashville). Attendees will hear from consumer trends expert Lyn Dornblaser of the Mintel Group, which will be followed by a real case  study of one company’s move from rigid to flexible packaging. The panel highlighting Clorox’s packaging change for its Fresh Step Cat Litter includes supply chain members such as Mondi Group.

As SPI begins to grow and engage its new Brand Owner Council, it becomes increasingly clear that brand owners should be part of SPI to optimize these discussions. No matter which way it runs, the supply chain circle is now complete.

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