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Packaging managers play a high-profile role

Over time, packaging has become an even more important factor at consumer goods companies, especially the multinational companies. As a result, packaging is becoming increasingly relevant in the marketing strategies of these multinationals. This is at the heart of a study released in mid-February by UCIMA, the Association for Italian Packing and Packaging Machinery Manufacturers (www.ucima.it) and ICE, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (www.ice.it). The associations presented the study's findings on the day preceding the opening of Ipack-IMA, the Italian packaging show, in Milan. Packaging Digest attended the presentation.

Inside multinational companies, the role of the global packaging manager is fundamental. He is, in fact, responsible for the development of new packaging solutions on the basis of input received from the marketing department, on the one hand, and the requirements of production on the other. However, the study reveals that the breadth and depth of multinational companies' innovation in packaging is somewhat limited by the absence of a close relationship between global packaging managers and packaging equipment manufacturers.

Equipment manufacturers, considered by end users as essential in the field of packaging innovation, have difficulty anticipating the actual requirements of their clients, the study finds. This is due to a lack of an "advanced client culture," which goes beyond mere technical competence and know-how to include such things as an awareness of new trends in packaging, their customers' marketing needs and the demands of end-user consumers. Moreover, the relative absence of proactive behavior among equipment manufacturers prevents them from presenting their best offer to the best advantage.

Based upon the scenario drawn from the study, the opportunity emerges for the global packaging managers and equipment manufacturers to strengthen their relationships. This, in turn, would improve the effectiveness of the global packaging manager's role and, therefore, the extent of packaging innovation carried out by multinational end-user companies. It would also allow equipment manufacturers to build a more sustainable competitive advantage, based on factors that are not easy to imitate, such as a familiarity with their customer's production processes and related requirements.

For more information on the packaging study, or to receive a copy of a press release about the study, contact Tina Landi at [email protected].

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