Packaging service providers and printers are under constant pressure to reduce costs, improve productivity and deliver new and innovative packaging concepts to brand owners. Understanding the trends affecting the industry today is the first step toward addressing these challenges and creating a differentiated offering.
Esko announces the release of a new white paper identifying key market drivers that affect the packaging supply chain and discussing opportunities for innovation and efficiency in prepress and converting operations.
"Our research and our many conversations with customers and industry professionals has identified five key trends that affect the future of packaging prepress and production," said Jan De Roeck, Esko's Director of Solutions Management. "These trends have guided our product development process, resulting in the many enhancements customers will see implemented in Esko's product range. They are key drivers for the necessary business process change within the industry. The white paper not only thoroughly explains these trends but provides actionable ideas for both brand owners and packaging converters as they look to remain competitive in a very dynamic marketplace."
For packaging converters, the challenge is to push more production jobs in shorter runs through their plants while operating faster, better, cheaper and greener. Brand owners expect all that from their suppliers, but on top also are seeking creativity and innovation from supply chain partners in order to differentiate their products and create greater shelf appeal. Achievement of these objectives requires seamless collaboration among all supply chain stakeholders as a key outcome.
"Increasingly, the package is the brand," Sherburne added. "Brand owners and packaging converters alike must stay current with the latest technologies in order to better understand the possibilities for innovation and improvement across the entire packaging design, production and distribution process. In doing the research for this white paper, I was particularly intrigued by the smart template concept as a basis for near-lights-out prepress workflow in packaging preproduction. We have seen this concept in play in other areas of the printing industry, where it has made a huge difference, and it is exciting to see smart template capabilities now becoming available for packaging preproduction as well."
Smart templates separate design from content creation. Content resides in a cloud-based packaging management system, and smart objects within the templates are linked to approved content in a secure database. "This type of infrastructure accommodates the need for smaller runs of more targeted packaging," Sherburne said, "and also allows late-stage editing, critical in a dynamic environment such as the one we face today. The ability to change content once and have it flow through a variety of templates also ensures that all content remains current and in regulatory compliance. This improves efficiency and reduces cycle time, benefiting all stakeholders within the packaging supply chain."