Improved label designs on the menu for Barilla

Kari Embree in Labels on August 18, 2014

As the global leader in the pasta industry, Barilla makes it its mission to celebrate the lifestyle, culture and cuisine of Italy. The family-run company that started as a bread and pasta shop in Parma, Italy, back in 1877 now has more than 1,500 brands in 100 different countries and its not slowing down anytime soon. Barilla aims to double its business by 2020 while at the same time increasing its sustainability efforts by reducing its environmental footprint.

However, to attain this impressive goal, the pasta company needs to be able to continue to lure in shoppers who are subjected to hundreds of products when going into a shopping market. Also, today’s consumers are busier than ever as they quickly scan shelves and more than likely reach for the most recognizable brand without thinking of other alternatives. This goes to show just how vital packaging is to a brand and its sales.

“Consumers face so many choices,” says Marco Rossi, IT business process support director, Barilla. “Packages are the first thing consumers come in contact with. They must not only find them appealing, they must find important information such as the product’s ingredients, nutritional information, suggestions for preparing and accompanying the product—and more technical information such as expiration date, storage and package recycling advice.”

Rossi adds. “We only have a few seconds to make a difference so we strive to make our pasta, sauces, cereals and breads, as attractive and as informative as possible.”
As a result of how important it is to attract the consumer, companies like Barilla invest significant time and money in reviewing, crafting and overseeing their packaging art and language. However, more often than not, despite the time spent doing this they are not achieving the type of yield on their investment. That’s because the process is highly collaborative as these global companies need to pay attention to cultural differences as their products hit shelves in other countries where label requirements may be different. Also, the labels need to achieve a uniform look across all the brands, which can be a feat in itself.

A collective effort
To better achieve efficiency and reduce lead time Barilla adopted Dassault Systèmes’ Perfect Package industry solution to drastically reduce packaging development times and costs. The pasta purveyor went ahead the first semester of 2013 with the solution; the ramp up of adoption proceeded in the months following.

The Perfect Package, which launched in 2013, is a consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail industry solution experience that enables brand manufacturers, design agencies, packaging suppliers and artwork studios to generate innovative designs by swiftly repeating new designs from initial concepts to validated designs on a single platform.

This drastically cuts down package design cycles, reduces packaging material costs and eliminates the chance for recalls. It turns what has been a serial development process plagued by multiple rounds of rework that results in sub-optimal designs into a synchronized end to end design process bringing together internal and external organizations to create breakthrough packaging in record time.

“In the world of fast-moving consumer goods companies, some succeed, some fail and some make an impact on society. This impact is mostly due to a perfect match between the actual product and the way it is delivered: the packaging,” says Monica Menghini, evp, industry and marketing, Dassault Systèmes. “Packaging is a key component of any brand’s equity. It is, essentially, the first and most important advertising for that product. This is what inspired us to create Perfect Package. Creating a perfect consumer experience requires more than just a nice design tool. Our 3DExperience platform allows them to embrace the design experience need of today’s marketers.”

“Creating package labeling is a collective effort of external art agencies and our research and development, purchasing, legal, marketing and sales divisions. All these stakeholders must have their say to ensure that the look and content of our labels adhere to international regulations and to consumer expectations,” says Rossi. “We needed order and consistency, which was only possible if we transformed our way of working.”

Built off the 3DExperience Platform, the Perfect Package gives Barilla’s stakeholders a dedicated labeling solution with secure digital access to its most up-to-date product information. No longer is it necessary to send paper samples back and forth, which helps drastically reduce the labeling creation time. Design is accelerated along with the approval process and quality is improved while label creation costs are lowered. The application also ensures designs and intellectual property that previously was handled by third-party agencies allowing Barilla to bring this back in-house.  

“With the 3DExperience Platform, all our stakeholders can collaborate from idea generation to validation of the final Barilla package using a digital representation of the same master label,” says Rossi. “Whereas the old way to communicate designs was to physically send paper samples from one department to another, now all stakeholders can concur from idea generation to validation of the final Barilla package using a digital representation of the same master label. No more working on outdated samples and making decisions that have to eventually be rescinded, consequently driving our costs up and our response time down. With the 3DExperience platform, we can digitally exchange ideas, which is faster, more intuitive and results in few to no packaging recalls.”

Alberto Maldino, IT business process support senior manager at Barilla, adds that they now have the potential to guarantee data consistency for their entire ecosystem and to facilitate collaboration between all Barilla sites in the different countries, as well as with their external partners and suppliers. They expect this to significantly shorten packaging development time and to improve compliance of their labels with local regulations.

Lessons learned
When asked what challenges were encountered during the implementation, Rossi says that the concept to move digital implies particular attention to change management/behavior. Most of the challenges were clearly known at the beginning of the process, even that minor evidence came in the roll out, relating to discipline in the process step and in the collaboration involvement with external providers.

At the end of the day though, Rossi says the process change was really impactful, specifically within the external collaboration relationship. A positive surprise was that the endorsement of the solution from the external agency provider was much higher than what Barilla was expecting.

The Perfect Package has been rolled out at 80% of Barilla’s sites around the world and is currently in the process of bringing all intellectual property under one roof.


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