The speed-to-market vortex: don’t fall into this packaging trap

  • May 15, 2023
Black Hole with planet in space

The pressure to get your product to market quickly is real and ever present. But are you sacrificing optimized packaging, productivity gains and the opportunity to present your product to its best effect on the altar of speed?

These days, product innovations, new product introductions and getting those products manufactured and in consumers’ hands is vital to maintaining customer loyalty and growing your space in your respective category.

Often this speed-to-market cycle can follow a condensed development cycle, requiring shortcuts in some foundational development processes. Packaging engineering teams are often impacted by these expedited cycle times. They can’t thoroughly vet and optimize all components of a packaging system before a pilot or go-live launch.

So, how’d we get here?

As per usual: not enough time and not enough resources.

Not enough time to vet alternative options, materials and designs, makes it impossible to properly assess their total value and impact on supply chain performance. Packaging development teams can sometimes be the last to know in a product development cycle. Organizations that haven’t figured this out are still pitching their finished product over the proverbial wall to the packaging team to develop and test a proven solution in the waning hours before a product launch. In those instances, package engineering under speed-to-market pressure may need to lean toward over-engineered or more conservative (more expensive) materials or solutions to ensure an on-time and low-risk product launch.

What opportunities are you missing out on?

Following the successful commercialization or launch of a product, there may be time to go back and review your portfolio for optimization or cost-saving opportunities. Start with a bottom-up approach. Often an assessment of your specific supply chain and packaging systems is an ideal starting point when building out your project list.

To execute on short-term opportunities and put savings wins up on the board (and in your pocket) you need to look at tactical changes. We’re talking about areas that can be worked on and turned over in three to six months. A holistic approach to evaluating your entire value chain may help identify new, pragmatic opportunities.

Where to go from here

These improvement opportunities often point back to gaps in your existing packaging development process. Building the steps and time into your organization’s development and commercialization cycles can help you avoid the speed-to-market vortex and provide a better opportunity for teams to dive deeper, optimizing your packaging systems right out of the gate.

— By Rob Kaszubowski

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