The Connected Package: Consumers Want to Know Your Story | Technical Workforce Development Trends Within Manufacturing

Consumers want more from their brands and no package can hold the entirety of your brand's story. QR codes can unlock your brand experience. Also on Take Five: NAM initiatives reach out to minority communities to fill the demand for a quality workforce.


Quick hits:

  • COVID-19 is not over and brands continue to attempt to navigate the social minefield.
  • Consumers want more from their brands, including transparency into climate and social messaging.
  • No single package can tell a brand's entire history and stance on today's issues. But your packaging should provide a link to a rich online world where consumers can find your entire brand story.
  • Even though positions are now opening up again after the pandemic, filling them with a quality workforce is proving difficult.
  • The National Association of Manufacturers has made a Pledge of Action to reach out to minority communities and grow a more diverse workforce.
  • PMMI’s apprenticeship program is nationally portable, industry-accepted, and third-party credentials-endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers’ Skills Certification System and has been used by Amazon to create its apprenticeship program.

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Listen to the story here:

   Read the transcript below:

Jim Chrzan: Hi, this is Jim Chrzan. I'm the Vice President of content and brand development for Packaging World Magazine, and welcome to Take Five.

I had to send a funny memo to my writers last week, and that was to stop using the term "post-COVID-19" in our headlines and articles because frankly, we're not post COVID-19. And so America is stuck right now in between this crazy period where some are ramping up to get back to business and other folks are ramping back down.

But there's one thing that clearly has emerged from the COVID-19 experience of consumer staying home—and that is they're demanding more from their brands. They're demanding more action on earth friendly initiatives with the packages. They're asking more about local resourcing or their stand on political issues. And that is clear that that's not going to a back up or go back in.

And how have CPG has been responding? Fantastically, frankly. They last summer retired a bunch of different brands and iconic images that could've been perceived as being insensitive. I mean, you had Uncle Ben's, and Aunt Jemima, and then Eskimo pie. I mean, who knew about Eskimo pie? Nobody. But now we do know, and we're trying to be better people. So the package has to work so much harder to include things like non-GMO, and keto friendly, and no animal testing. And frankly, no package can work that hard. They just aren't large enough.

So what I'm not seeing enough of is QR codes on the package that take you back to the company and tell you all about their stand on the environment or some other social issues. I pointed at a package of tomatoes the other day, and watched eight videos made by people who harvest them, produce them, and ship them off.

So in terms of connecting both with your consumers and connecting the package online, I'm going to be connecting with people live in Las Vegas at the end of September vaccinated and masked up reporting all the latest packaging innovations. If you can make it to Vegas, see you there. If you can't, we'll be doing a lot of coverage online as well.

Thanks for watching!

Melissa Griffin: Hi, I'm Melissa Griffin, and today on our Take Five video, I'm discussing technical workforce development trends, both in connection to and beyond COVID-19.

In the recent executive leadership conference held by PMMI, the association for packaging and processing technologies, Gardner Kerrick, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Manufacturing Institute and National Association of Manufacturers presented on this topic. He noted that the industry has seen a significant increase in position openings for manufacturing though the numbers decreased when the pandemic hit. Yet, even though positions are now opening up again, filling them with equality workforce is proving difficult.

The National Association of Manufacturers has made a pledge of action to reach out to minority communities to grow a more diverse workforce. It provides the following programs, which were presented on in detail at PMMI's executive leadership conference meeting. Creators Wanted, which is directed towards high school graduates. The Heroes Makes America initiative, which is reaching out to veterans and those preparing to leave the service for their next career. The Step Women's Initiative, which not only reaches out to women, but highlights their success in the field and the Second Chance Operation, which is for those who have been previously incarcerated and are now starting a new.

The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education Apprenticeship Program was also discussed and this is a multi-skilled maintenance technical program, which is run by multiple companies and is meant to further promote professional behavior in both speech and dress, and educate workers on the culture of manufacturing.

PMMI has a similar apprenticeship program, which provides guidelines for mechatronics technicians and is competency-based rather than time-based. This apprenticeship program, is based off of a PMMI is mechatronics certification tests, which are nationally portable, industry accepted, and third-party credentials endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers skills certifications system. And it has been further used by Amazon to create its apprenticeship program. 

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