The packaging manager: making savings from product to process

This article previously featured in Technical Magazine, No 36, a magazine by FME, the employer's organization for the technology industry.

Moonen Packaging believes it's high time to modernize the vision on packaging in industry. It's time to get the boxes and plastic working for you. While you may know how much they cost, you may not know how much they could save. Moonen's packaging manager goes beyond your products; they look to connect these with your processes. In doing so, managers can help you make considerable savings in terms of money, CO2 emissions, space, and time. Moonen Packaging has the knowledge required: the Weert-based packaging wholesaler was recently awarded level four on the Dutch certification scheme for Corporate Social Responsibility (MVO-Prestatieladder) in acknowledgement of its CSR performances, and also received Gold Status from the global platform EcoVadis. The MVO-Prestatieladder is the highest awarded sustainability certificate in the Netherlands. It provides a concrete, objective, and demonstrable measurement of a company's sustainable undertakings.

As a front runner in the field of efficient logistics and packaging innovations, Moonen are the crème de la crème when it comes to helping clients make savings. The secret to success is this: Moonen fulfils the role of 'packaging manager' – a role which clients are lacking – and can uncover hidden savings in their organization.

Smart purchasing: a no-brainer
'Many companies are unaware of their packaging requirements; they see them merely as costs,' explains CEO Gé Moonen. 'Once you've allowed us to scrutinize this as a packaging manager, you'll soon look very differently at things. The obvious answer is purchasing. As one of the biggest Dutch players in industrial packaging, we have a position in the purchase market that delivers economies of scale. This position has been given new impetus thanks to the recent strategic takeover of Paperlinx Packaging. In particular those clients who are major consumers of cardboard will immediately notice a change.'

More and more sustainable
Moonen is an international and independent packaging specialist. This autonomy enables it to utilize alternative materials and manage the design and development of sustainable packaging solutions. To achieve this, Moonen actively looks to establish connections with suitable partners in its worldwide network. 'Clients always have access to cutting-edge packaging solutions,' adds Gé Moonen. 'These solutions are more and more sustainable, and we don't want to throw away any valuable raw materials. This is why we are constantly looking for alternatives that use renewable raw materials.'

Transparency
The commercial point of departure for Moonen is Package Deal®. This is a concept in which Moonen maps out a client's entire packaging requirements and fine-tunes its services to meet the client's products and processes. 'If you would like us, as a packaging manager, to help you make optimum savings, then transparency is key,' believes Piet Vanoverbeke, Moonen's Key Account Manager for Industry. 'Open communication with the purchaser ensures that we, as a packaging manager, can add value in various areas within the organization. For example, we take the burden off logistics managers by more effectively managing stocks. This means that managers acquire more storage space and can reduce their CO2 emissions. Using our knowledge and working together, plant managers can produce more quickly and more efficiently. As soon as we enter the client's business as a packaging manager, savings that weren't identified before come to light. That's our added value.'

'We don't want to throw away any valuable raw materials. This is why we are constantly looking for alternatives with renewable raw materials.'

Stricter requirements
Industry is putting increasingly higher demands on suppliers. These demands not only focus on product knowledge, but also on brainstorming on a process level. 'That's our strength,' says Vanoverbeke. 'Armed with the knowledge of logistic processes, waste management, and sustainability, we can devise solutions that work on different fronts. Swamped with packaging, one of our clients ran out of room in the paint train for his aluminium products. By entrusting us with stock management, he could deliver weekly on a call-off basis. The whole hall, once filled with packaging material, could be converted into a second paint train. Another client used a multitude of packaging types to package profiles. So many, in fact, that the fire department ordered them to compartmentalize their warehouse. To avoid this, we first advised them to install another packaging machine that works with new packaging. This brought multiple benefits, such as time savings in production, a reduction in the material used, and more space in the hall. What's more, these measures were also in total compliance with regulations.'

Interventions
When carrying out "interventions" like this, we supply a schedule document,' explains Michiel Schouten, Account Manager for Industry. 'This document guarantees a seamless transition from the old to the new situation. If there are interruptions, you don't make savings; instead, you burden the clients and employees. I like that there's always more to be done. Clients can let us get on with our job, as we're the ones who take care of making additional savings. We keep the range up to date, improve packaging methods, and adapt where needed to production processes. We also like to keep regular contact with people in the workplace. The industry is always changing.'

Green business
Vanoverbeke thinks that the industry will focus more on sustainability. 'A number of years ago, sustainability was mainly associated with cost savings. Now it's become a serious topic of discussion, with industrial clients showing a great deal of interest in our large range of sustainable packaging and disposables. While the starting point is still cost reductions, the conversation revolves about more than just products. Clients are curious about our vision for sustainable logistics, waste, and energy, as well as our internal measures in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR). I sense that increased interest when I invite them to Brainpack, our inspirational event that takes place every two years. For the first time, the industry had many representatives at Brainpack 2015 in June. They want to listen and express their own opinions. I think it's a really positive development.'