When it Comes to Packaging, Paperless Manufacturing is an Art. Literally.

packaging_as_art_manufacturingYou’re in the store, shopping for a household item. You scan the shelves quickly, see the brand you’re looking for, and grab it. Or perhaps you don’t have a specific brand in mind, and you’re attracted by the package design. Either way, you’ve just shown how important the package can be to a product’s success.

To enterprises that sell their goods on consumer store shelves, or even online, packaging is a vital part of the sales process and is integral to the brand itself. For some products and customers, the package is the product! That’s why companies spend so much time reviewing, refining, and managing their packaging art and copy. (In some cases, the packaging can actually become a highly desired piece of art, such as the image at right!)

But, manufacturers may be spending a lot more time than they need to, and not getting the results they want. That’s because packaging, for a global producer, is so highly complicated and collaborative. It crosses boundaries into different regions, cultures, languages, and laws. That package you see in the U.S. will be in a different language in other countries, with different labeling requirements. There will likely be subtle cultural differences too.

Yet somehow, global companies need to achieve consistent look and feel wherever possible. And when a product package needs to be varied for a specific region, the variation must be managed and implemented in a strategic way to protect and grow the brand.

Getting everyone properly involved in development and review, and then translating their decisions onto the actual packaging art as part of the manufacturing process, is a slow and often painful process.

Enter a company called Barilla, a global leader in the pasta industry. The company sells some 1,500 brands in more than a hundred countries! To get their packaging art under control, Barilla has implemented a paperless solution that streamlines the artwork and label creation process, and provides each of its stakeholders with secure, digital access to all the elements of the package including copy, logos, and designs.

Every stakeholder is able to collaborate from idea generation to validation, working from the same master label. The final artwork can then be moved seamlessly into the packaging production systems around the world, with complete confidence that it is reviewed, accurate, and up to date in every instance.

Marco Rossi, IT Business Process Support Director at Barilla, says, “No more working on outdated samples and making decisions that have to eventually be rescinded, which drove our costs up and our response time down. With this solution, we can digitally exchange ideas faster, more intuitively, and with few to no packaging recalls.”

None of this should be a surprise. Manufacturing Execution Systems are already used by many enterprises in product manufacturing to enable material synchronization, manufacturing efficiency, quality and compliance, in support of accelerating innovation and new product introductions.

If a manufacturing execution system can operate as a paperless solution to deliver these benefits for product design and production, then why not for packaging art as well? It’s the logical next step in the transition to paperless manufacturing.

You can read more about Barilla and paperless packaging art in this press release.