With 100% of beverage purchasers interacting in store with the package, retailers have the opportunity to use packaging for advertising. It's a different customer interaction to television ads, print ads or billboards so, as Dassault Systèmes is keenly aware, packaging - and especially secondary packaging - is an amazingly important and efficient advertising vehicle.
We hear a lot of compelling stories from packaging companies about how they are using software to innovate, create, gain a competitive advantage and keep costs low, and there are a few to showcase.
MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV), a leading global secondary packaging company serving the beverage market, saw its customers spending millions on primary packaging but paying very little attention to the secondary packaging, such as the cardboard or plastic that holds a six-pack together. This secondary packaging also carries a brand's equity on the shelf.
"For our customers, the package is becoming an integral part of their equity. They're increasingly interested in how the entire package can help them increase the consumption of their product," says Bill Cecil, vice-president of machinery and automation for MWV's beverage business.
Some years ago, MWV launched 'Insight to In-Market', a fully integrated approach designed to provide solutions that differentiate on shelf while providing customers with speed to market, flexibility and agility. The Insight to In-Market approach is rooted in consumer and market insights. The findings help identify opportunities to develop engaging packaging designs that strengthen the brand experience and loyalty.
MWV saw a huge opportunity to help its customers design better secondary packaging, and that's why it turned to Dassault Systèmes' 3DEXPERIENCE platform for collaborative innovation. MWV isn't walking into customer meetings with just some sketches on a notepad; using Dassault Systèmes' Perfect Package Industry Solution Experience, MWV designers can draw and simulate customised packaging concepts in 3D. Rendering concepts that used to take days now takes 30 minutes, and the whole process of bringing a new packaging design to market, which used to take 12-18 months, will soon be possible in just six.
"For our customers, the winning formula is speed combined with the quality of our solution," says Cecil. "It's developing the right package for their brand, for their consumer, that's efficient and automatable on a global scale."
Complementary to Perfect Package, the Perfect Shelf Industry Solution Experience enables MWV's designers to simulate and display a package design, and place it on a virtual store shelf surrounded by competitors' products.
"One of the weaknesses of traditional product design is that packaging is created in a vacuum," Cecil says. "This solution reminds us how our package compares with the rest of the market and encourages us to seek new ways to differentiate it."
This marks a real advance for the client as well as for the engineers - through Perfect Shelf, MWV can work with an accurate 3D representation of the package, enabling clients to virtually visualise and analyse it.
With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, MWV has compressed the packaging timeline from 18 to six months by developing efficient business processes and streamlining 3D data, from product design to manufacturing.
Philippe Loeb, vice-president, consumer packaged goods and retail at Dassault Systèmes, adds: "For CPG brands, now is the time for a redefinition of the value chain. We start to see packaging suppliers, such as MWV, extend their offerings and provide higher-value services today covered by agencies or brand manufacturers, while some brand manufacturers are going to reinforce strategic activities such as re-insourcing design.
"With each part of the traditional value chain - suppliers, designers, manufacturers and retailers - considering more than just its own core function, efficiency will be brought to the entire go-to-market process."
"Brands and retailers know that it is survival of the fittest in a highly competitive marketplace, where consumer is king. Those that properly prepare before going to market, guided by the intelligent use of technology to virtually 'predict' customer response, and focus on how they deliver the ultimate shopping experience with products they want, will gain the customer loyalty they seek."