Biondich: The other thing I thought of when Jorge was talking is about some of the data collection systems now, where you can put an artificial skin on a package and see everything that package goes through when you put it through a production line.
Jim Kerper: From Videojet’s perspective, it’s digital capabilities—connectivity to enterprise systems and sharing of data through increased printer capabilities and Ethernet capabilities—that have helped us bridge the gap from static lot and batch information to something more dynamic, which is a unique identifier, such as serialization, and then the compilation and sharing of that data. We use a combination of printing technologies, scanning and visual technology to manage an individual package through the line to collect that data and then do something with that—hand it off, post it ourselves or share it with an enterprise system.
Biondich: You have more competition now. There are a lot of people moving in the direct package printing space, trying to eliminate labels.
Kerper: There is a lot of competition but we’ve had digital solutions that print directly on packaging since the beginning. It’s up to the manufacturer to print on a label or on the package with variable data.
Biondich: If direct package printing evolved quickly enough, it could eliminate digital label printing. So there is a bit of race going on right now.
If direct package printing evolved quickly enough, it could eliminate
digital label printing. So there is a bit of race going on right now.
— Scott Biondich, president, Packaging Innovation & Design
Eric Davis: Talking about digital printing, the biggest food recalls of late have been Class 2 recalls from mislabeled or undeclared allergens. Every day, I’m seeing news stories on some large recall, and it was simply because somebody didn’t put the right message on the label.
Using digital technology to print that information on the fly, rather than having it done pre-print, is certainly helpful because, at that point, you can manage that through data. We can be sure that packaging is correct.
Biondich: You made me think of something else. With all this digital technology, when it goes down, it’s a problem. You’re at work and your laptop quits working—it’s like “I might as well go home. It’s not working.”
Have Plan B already in mind!
Let’s talk about ecommerce. Most operations in a manufacturer’s facility are pallet-load shipping. Ecommerce and small-parcel shipping is a much different process, with completely different product protection needs. The vast majority of companies are outsourcing that small-parcel fulfillment. But, as the business changes, there’s a huge opportunity for that to be brought in-house.
Biondich: I totally agree. Most companies when they move into that space, they do it externally—they hire a contract packager.
The way it’s done today is people throw corrugated [packaging] at it. There is so much over-packaging when you’re buying something online versus what you would buy at the store to make sure the product is going to survive the transit experience.
There are some huge challenges in front of the industry, relative to buying though the internet or on your phone.
Also think about the floor space requirements in a production facility for e-commerce shipping, as well as... CLICK "NEXT"