InfinityQS and the Packaging Industry: #1 – A Good Fit

Welcome to a blog series that has been created specifically for the packaging industry. My quality colleagues and I, here at InfinityQS, invite you to read these blogs over the next few weeks—about working with and achieving consistent quality manufacturing, about the pain you feel in mastering your quality issues…and how we (and our solutions) are here to help.
 
We’ve been working with the packaging industry for a long time. InfinityQS understands how the industry works and the types of challenges you face. I’ve recently thought about the successes we’ve had working with packaging manufacturers. But also, because our software is so perfectly suited to the industry. To me, it seems like a good fit: InfinityQS quality control methods and the packaging industry.
 
So, with this blog I intend to discuss how and why InfinityQS software fits the industry—by discussing packaging and why it’s important, walking through some challenges to packaging manufacturing organizations, and how we can help.
InfinityQS for the Packaging Industry

Judgment Call

Ever judge a book by its cover? Of course, you have! We all have! At the supermarket, bookstore (yes, there are still a few left), department store, you name it. We look at the packaging and make our decision to buy or not. And that’s why the packaging industry is so important.
 
In an article in Inc. magazine, the author says that ”Packaging is powerful because it tells consumers why your product and brand are different.” I couldn’t agree more. He goes on to tell us that “95% of new products fail every year—because of the packaging.” That gave me pause for further thought. Those two statements alone are significant enough, in my opinion, to warrant further investigation into the packaging industry. So, let’s go beyond “reading the cover,” and talk about what packaging is, what it does, and how it fits with InfinityQS’ quality solutions.
 

The Value of Quality Packaging

As we all know, packaging comes in many forms and is important in so many industries—and for so many reasons. When I think of common forms of packaging, I think of corrugated boxes, boxboard or paperboard cartons, paper bags and sacks, and bottles and cans. Those corrugated boxes protect heavier products, like fruits and veggies, or appliances (see how diverse packaging is?) and are great for shipping. Boxboard or paperboard packaging is the thinner, lighter weight carton material—we see it everywhere in supermarkets and department stores. And paper bags and sacks help us carry and collect many items—from groceries to yard debris. And we’re all super familiar with bottles and cans.
 
Clearly, packaging is a diverse, big business. But, to me, its always been about the psychology behind the packaging. Think about it. We all know we’re buying the product that’s in the box, yet we fixate on the container. That is fascinating. And it raises the value of the packaging.  For many reasons…
Quality Packaging

Words to Live By

What is on the packaging? A list of the contents, maybe some descriptions, some important instructions and warnings, and, of course, graphics—photos, artwork, colors, patterns, logos, and more. And they all play a part in the importance of the packaging.
 
A few examples:
  • The pharmaceutical industry. A consumer could potentially overdose on something as simple as a painkiller—because of the instructions (they must be easy to read and without error), and because of the integrity of the packaging (the contents must be kept safe).
  • Food and beverage: A consumer could become ill (or even die) from contaminated product. The ingredients and “sell by” date must be accurate and clearly legible.
  • Electronics: The technical specifications must be clear and easy to read. Otherwise, the consumer could purchase a product that is incompatible with the equipment they own.
  • And so on. The various industries are rife with examples of how important packaging has become. 
 

The Importance of Quality Packaging Cannot be Understated

Let’s look at something I mentioned briefly above: the folding carton packaging industry.
I can tell you from experience, they have very demanding customers. Very demanding. Their customers want these folding cartons to be exactly right. In fact, the standard for quality across the packaging industry is through the roof.
 
There are huge expectations because, let’s say I’m ready to buy a beverage and I go to the beverage aisle—how that package looks makes a huge difference in whether I buy this product or that one. Remember the package itself is just meant to contain the product. But I have to buy the package because I want the product within it, even though the package gets thrown away.
 
The package is a tremendous amount of the marketing and sales process because of the aesthetics, the cleanliness, the attraction of the package itself. I have purchased products sometimes or just said, “That is cool packaging. I'm going to buy it because the pantry looks awesome.” Most people don't do that, but I do it because I'm kind of crazy about the packaging industry. I think it's kind of cool.
 
I mean, look at Apple. Many people have wonderful experiences with the packaging alone! I’ve heard so many stories from folks about unwrapping an Apple product. It’s an additional layer of marketing that can nudge the consumer toward purchasing the product. (And, as we all know, people do not throw away their Apple boxes. Reselling with the original package is worth more.)
Quality Standards Across Packaging Facilities

Quality Software for Packaging

InfinityQS quality software systems—Enact® and ProFicient—are perfectly suited for the packaging industry. Mostly, I say that because of one word: flexibility. InfinityQS quality software is immensely flexible. Our systems can manage virtually any product code, on any production line, with any variety of sampling required, with any variety of tests that need to be performed, with any kind of specifications or statistical requirements.
 
But there are so many other reasons why InfinityQS quality software works so well in packaging. Just a few (because this series will explore the many other reasons for choosing InfinityQS in the packaging industry), which I’ll mention here; these are InfinityQS’ bread and butter:
  • Data collection
  • Analysis 
  • ROI
 

Data Becomes Action

All that data you already collect has the potential to become a vast reservoir from which you can extract meaningful, valuable information—information that you can act upon to make your products better, your machinery more efficient…and your company more profitable.
 
On the shop floor, your operators are inundated with lots of information, a vast array of sounds, messages, and inputs—at the same time or in quick succession. It’s a busy, hectic place. Decisions need to be made quickly, if not instantaneously. And your packaging products’ quality hangs in the balance.
 
Sounds, smells and data are all evaluated. These inputs can tell operators when something has changed with their machinery. Operators evaluate the inputs—the data and information—and then make adjustments or fixes based upon what they learn from those inputs. As I mentioned in a previous blog, Don’t Drive Blindfolded–The Importance of Real-Time Data in Modern Manufacturing, operators are artists. “The art of manufacturing is best understood by operators who have had extensive amounts of time operating a production line.” And when those artists are armed with the science of data and statistical tools, they have greater insight into what needs to be adjusted and when.
InfinityQS for all Packaging

Actionable Information – Needed for Analysis

InfinityQS quality software is such a perfect fit for the packaging industry because by using our systems you can produce “actionable information”—information your operators and quality professionals need to make big improvements in quality and your bottom line.
 
Obtaining actionable information is about collecting the right data and getting it into the hands of your operators. InfinityQS quality software enables those difference-makers to combine their expertise with control charts and real-time analysis to enable consistent improvement within your organization.
 

ROI for Your Quality System

With actionable information, your quality pros and operators can get to the root of problems, make the necessary fixes, establish best practices, and affect your bottom line.
 
Operators are the ones who—with data and information—constantly assess a machine’s health problems, identify corrective actions, and prescribe the right medication to prevent the same problems from happening in the future. The result is instantaneous fixes, modifications, and improvements that help management get a return on their quality system investment.
 
Getting a return on your quality software investment also involves your quality professionals—Six Sigma teams, managers, engineers (and others). These are the people who want to aggregate and analyze data at a higher level and do so on a regular basis. They search for trends and valuable information across machines, plants, regions, or even the entire enterprise. When these professional analysts look at summarized data, they distill the information down to a point at which they can tell where their organizations have the greatest opportunities for improvement.
 
Defects, costs, overruns, too much scrap—these are the kinds of insights that come from the data that packaging companies gather, aggregate, and analyze. Generally speaking, the biggest returns on investment are found in summary data, and if your teams don’t stop and analyze lots of data on a regular basis, you are missing out on the biggest opportunities for cost savings and quality improvement. More on this in a later blog.
 

Closing

As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about when you open the quality software package. Consider this blog the “cover” of this blog series. Join us for a look inside the perfect partnership of InfinityQS and the packaging industry over the coming weeks.

Read other blogs in this series:  
Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips today: contact one of our account managers (1.800.772.7978 or via our website) for more information.
 
Steve Wise
By Steve Wise
Vice President of Statistical Methods
See Full Bio

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