Packaging Logo October 15, 2012 Forward
Package Development
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How to work with demanding retailers
Manufacturers no longer call the shots the way they did more than 100 years ago when Henry Ford told consumers that they could have their Model T painted any color "so long as it is black." Just as the Information Revolution supplanted the Industrial Revolution, retailers - empowered by scanner data - supplanted manufacturers as the most powerful players in in the supply chain.
"The balance of power shifted 25 years ago, and that just continues," says one packaging professional with a CPG manufacturer. The advent of retail scanner data gave retailers access to shoppers' buying habits that effectively turned the tables on brand owners, who until then were presumed to have the closest ties to consumer wants and needs.

The challenge for packaging professionals is to wrangle some semblance of control, or at least sanity to the pressures of major retail buyers who think that creating a new package consists of "flipping a switch" and having shipments appear. Too often, they expect their CPG suppliers to jump through hoops that may be detrimental to the product, the integrity of the packaging, the brand owner's packaging operation and the profitability of doing business in the retail arena.

Here are some tips to help you cope:

Improve sales/packaging communication: Too often, CPG sales reps will cave to pressure by retail buyers' pressure to create unique customer-specific packages. While working to help customers improve their packaging knowledge - something that may or may not be accomplished - packaging leaders can, nonetheless, make efforts to improve communication with their own sales organization...

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