Changing the Packaging Process Takes Time & Commitment


Changing the Packaging Process

It is wonderful to see our customers embracing waste reduction. When they call us, it is to talk about changing the packaging process to reduce their materials consumption.

Two blogs crossed my computer today and they both relate to this indirectly.   The first – Why Going Lean is the New Green – was talking about the newest demographic – waste haters and how we need to be thinking about them because they don’t believe that corporations care about saving the planet. The author offers “some advice to green marketers.

  • Get Rid of Your “Save the Planet” Messaging: ultimately, it isn’t about saving the planet, it’s about saving humankind. As such, we need to motivate consumers to buy green products.
  • Focus on the Primary Benefits: If you are selling an energy-efficient lightbulb, don’t talk about the pollution impact, talk about how much money they will save. The environmental benefit is an added value. 
  • Don’t Go Green, Go Lean: Focus on efficiency in your products. Identify ways in which your products can be more efficient with a smaller footprint. Identify ways in which the consumer’s behavior can change to minimize their footprint. 
  • Embrace Creativity: Now is the time to think of creative solutions and progressive ideas to significantly reduce our footprint both at home and at work.

The practicalities of this are then offset by the second article I read –Principles of Sales -Selling is About Change.  To quote Dave Brock, ““Selling is about change.  Both parties must want something different than what they now have or do.  If either party sees no need for change, then nothing happens.””

Changing the Packaging Process is Scary

All too often when we talk about packaging reduction, there is fear in the room. Common questions expressed are:

  • What is the impact on this change on the rest of the packaging?
  • What will the consumer think?
  • What will it save us in materials, energy, etc?

But the real questions are

  • What is the risk if we don’t change?
  • How do I get buy in from people who are comfortable with the current process?
  • What will it cost in people’s time and effort to make this change?
  • How long will it really take us to implement this?

Why Change Can be Difficult

The phone call I recently received was one that suggested that the Company was ready to embrace some waste reduction. the problem was no one had done the packaging process they wanted to do, that senior management was committed to this and wanted to implement it by this year end. There was no sense of the internal conflict in these statements, although there might actually be some and I didn’t know it.

That senior management was behind it was wonderful, but less senior management needed to implement it and get the answers to the second set of questions above.

We have designed new machines for customers many times. Sometimes they are variations on a theme we have done before and sometimes they are completely new to us.  One thing they all have in common is that they cost more than we expect and they take longer than we would like them to.

Changing the packaging process is longer and harder than it seems. It requires lots of buy in and patience though iterations of change and machine development. It is seldom a six month process unless it has been proven out elsewhere.



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