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Within the Lines

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: October 3, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 7

With the rate of new product introductions, effectively further cutting the life span of trends, the upcoming trends must be forecast further and further out. “It is harder to look into the future as perhaps in years past,” said Pfaff. “So, we in the field of transparent folding boxes are trying to forecast the trend for the next 12 months.” As Pfaff also noted, the necessary reaction time to a forecast trend depends on how and who a packager is serving. For Seufert’s promotional packaging business, there is a high demand for flexibility, and the company is able to respond in seven weeks.

At PolyOne, designers and engineers begin a project 12 to 18 months before a product launch. “Colorant schemes are very high on the list of priorities to be completed,” said Prusak. “The danger is bad market trend data. If the ‘color of the year’ ends too quickly, a product launch could be in jeopardy. Packagers stay ahead of the forecasts by belonging to organizations that make up the trends. Speed-to-market is key these days.” CROWN Risdon underscores digital tools/methods and an encompassing system for design packaging. “The use of design software, rapid prototyping and stereolithography rapid prototyping (SLA) modeling has really enhanced the development of new products designs on several levels,” said Fagan. “It enables CROWN Risdon to effectively communicate with its customer base in a very efficient manner. A potential design can be confirmed for size, filling capacity and overall feasibility within hours.”

Prusak stresses that avoiding problems also is key to maintaining speed-to-market. PolyOne works with designers and engineers to pretest packages for issues such as product interactions with light, heat or the colorants in a package themselves—performing accelerated testing through its analytical departments—while systems such as Risdon’s SLA rapid prototyping models translate into the actual ability to make the tooling to manufacture the design.

By encouraging consumers to trade up to higher value products, color cosmetic manufacturers and marketers also have created the growing need for packagers to continually evaluate packaging’s selling power—consider what a package can do to promote that trade up.

According to Pearlman, CROWN Risdon has witnessed a trend over the last five years of up-scaling the products it supplies to the mid-mass category, and the company works to achieve a more expensive look through finishes such as lacquering, decorating such as hot foil stamp and decorative labels, and additional use of metal. “It can only be assumed that the more expensive look helps promote products,” said Pearlman.