Supply chain drives Stila Cosmetics' 'fashion-forward' look
One retailer wants everything to be tamper-labeled. Another requires small counter displays. A third requests the development and assembly of 100,000 pieces into eight-piece kits. Through it all, the focus has to be on the core consumers—educated, youthful-spirited young women.
These are the challenges facing Stila Cosmetics, a relatively small but growing company in Glendale, CA. If that weren't enough, Stila has the daily challenges of achieving the right mix of product formulas in fashion-forward, eco-friendly packaging.
Stila (pronounced Stee-la) accomplishes all of these objectives and has forged a close personal bond with its consumers by using guerilla-marketing tactics in which packaging plays a vital role. Its packaging supply chain, which includes a host of contract manufacturers, fillers, packagers, and assemblers, in the U.S. and around the world, plays a huge role in the company's success.
An important factor in Stila's approach to its supply chain is the focus on developing strategic relationships with vendors, in which departments inside the company plan carefully to optimize production efficiencies and produce cost savings and manufacturing process stability over time, so long-term relationships are preferred. Price is just one measurement when Stila qualifies contract packagers, for example, as opposed to a more tactical use of vendors, in which a brand owner increases capacity and capability as needed and bases procurement primarily on price.
"The cosmetics industry is very much led by innovation and who can get it to market fast, so we look for who can do it fast, and they often come to us with ideas," says Gretchen Rider, Stila's vice president of operations. "It's high service and helping us out when we need it, because sometimes, people don't give us the proper lead time. Sometimes, people don't have flexibility in their schedule, so flexibility is very important to us."
The need for speed and flexibility in operations is essential because development cycles are shrinking due to retailer and consumer demands. Jill Tomandl, who oversees the package-design operations at Stila, says turnaround times typically were one year not long ago, from package creation to the shipping date. Those turnaround times recently have plummeted to five months.
Consider Stila's range of collectible travel palettes. The foldout compacts contain four eye shadows and a convertible color dual lip and cheek cream. The focal point of each pack is a custom illustration on the front panel that is created in-house and printed in four-color process. One illustration puts a young, on-the-go woman on the beach with the tagline "Fabulous in Fiji" while another has her dressed stylishly for winter in "Make an Impression in Moscow."
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U.S. pharma packaging market to grow 5.5% annually through 2014
Demand for pharmaceutical packaging in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) will increase 5.5% annually to $18.4 billion in 2014, according to a Freedonia Group Inc. report on pharmaceutical packaging prospects.
Recently upgraded regulations and standards that address issues such as barrier protection, infection control, patient drug compliance, drug-dispensing errors, and drug diversion and counterfeiting will underlie the growth, Freedonia said.
An increased focus on these issues will boost demand for high-value-added containers and accessories, including enhanced barrier plastic bottles, calendar and wallet blister packaging, prefillable syringes and inhalers, track-and-trace and authentication labels, and unit-dose pouches.
Contract packagers, which work extensively with pharmaceutical companies, likewise will be kept busy.
Demand for primary pharmaceutical containers will increase 5.3% annually through 2014, Freedonia estimates. Despite below-average growth, plastic bottles will remain the most widely used package for oral drugs distributed in bulk and prescription dose volumes to retail and mail-order pharmacies. Pharmaceutical blister packaging will sustain favorable growth based on its adaptability to unit-dose formats with expanded-label content, high visibility, and built-in track-and-trace features.
Request Foods launching skillet meal co-packing program
Request Foods, Holland, MI, a contract packager of frozen entrees, side dishes, and specialty items, is adding skillet meals to the company's product lineup. The new products are scheduled for launch in June, upon completion of a new skillet-meal production facility.
The 230,000-sq-ft facility is being built adjacent to the company's 370,000-sq-ft production plant. When completed, the facility will house preparation, blending, custom deposits, and freezing systems for co-packing private-label and national brands.
"Skillet and bagged-prepared meals are a growing category in the frozen-food aisle," says Jack Dewitt, Request Foods president. "With our new facility, we will be able to offer new and existing customers culinary development, fresh preparation, and best-of-class production in their sealed-bag, prepared meals."
Request Foods produces more than 400 different prepared-food items, packaged in single-serve containers up to 6-lb pans and pouches. The new skillet-meal lines will add sealed-bag and meal-kit options for custom-developed recipes for customers' proprietary flavor profiles.