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Tips to build packaging's 'voice' with management

In this Q&A session, packaging consultant John Caporaso advises companies to give packaging a seat at the senior management table, understand that packaging innovation can boost stock price, and that packaging should be leveraged to help meet consumer expectations.
Packaging Insights: How can management better utilize packaging within the company’s operations?

Caporaso: I think that the packaging department organization today is often suboptimal. The group responsible for packaging equipment is on one organization, the graphics group in another, and the development and R&D in another. This is inefficient for obvious reasons, and ultimately dilutes the voice and level of influence of packaging in a company. These functions should be organized under one senior executive, and have a seat at the senior management table. In this way, proposals for investment and funding could get the visibility commensurate with its potential impact on the business.

Packaging Insights: Beyond helping to build sales of a product, what “bottom-line” benefits can packaging provide a company?

Caporaso: Take the opportunity to go online and listen to the latest quarterly analyst meeting of your favorite publicly held food company. It is easily seen that innovation is a key component
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investment analysts use in projecting share price. Since so much innovation in the food business is linked to packaging, I think the management cognoscenti will increasingly get the picture, and this will ultimately be reflected to some degree in their companies’ stock price.

Packaging Insights: We’ve talked about building a case for packaging with management. What about the consumer perception of packaging?

Caporaso: Consumers have high expectations of packaging, and manufacturers have an obligation to meet them. Consumers expect their packaging to be convenient, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible. I think we should add to that list the elements of delight, surprise, and satisfaction that come from using something that functions just a little bit better or provides a benefit that reflects particular insight into design, and makes the user’s day just a little brighter. We’re not just in the packaging business, we’re in the business of making peoples’ lives just a little more interesting, fun, safe, convenient, and satisfying.

Editor’s Note: “Touting packaging’s value to management” is the subject of a “First Person” Q&A in the September issue of Packaging World magazine.


John Caporaso is a packaging industry consultant with years of experience as both a packaging professional and a food scientist with companies such as Campbell Soup, Nabisco and Unilever. He is the president of Nupack LLC and can be reached at [email protected] . John also serves as vice president of new business development for T.H.E.M.

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