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What skills will you need to succeed in healthcare packaging?

Survey respondents identify knowledge of validation and regulatory issues, as well as materials expertise as critical.

In the next two to three years, what will be the most important skill(s) for a packaging professional in the healthcare market?

“Knowledge of machinery and materials and validation programs for both, as well as [an understanding of] how products are used, stored, and handled all over the world,” remarked a respondent to last month’s Healthcare Packaging survey.

“Business understanding and the ability to perceive the role of packaging within the big picture,” offered another reader. The respondent added, “Promotions will go to those who have a broad range of experiences, not just skills. Don’t tell me about how well you know sales if you’ve never actually sold.”

Another respondent said the “job search will become necessary if the lead by Pfizer to cut staffing spreads across the industry. More business will be subcontracted to reduce costs, so the skills of working with subcontracting sources will become more valuable.”

A design consultant and art director listed three key skills as important: “One, maintain avant-garde information about novelties and new products. Two, offer new services for OTC, and be a change agent for our marketers’ customers. Three, maintain relations with international providers to contact for new customers in Mexico City and NAFTA countries.”

A more specific knowledge area identified by another respondent was, “Unit sizes needed versus machine ability to handle different containers. This requires evaluating packaging sizes, methods, and materials.”

General skills mentioned as important included innovation, E-sourcing, adaptability, and creativity. Understanding validation processes and regulations (the Food and Drug Administration in particular) were common answers among respondents, with one person recommending future professionals be able to “read mass quantities of regulations.”

Further skills mentioned included understanding packaging materials (in one instance materials used to pack moisture-sensitive products was specified), project management, RFID and traceability issues, “sterilization pros, cons, systems and developments,” implementing anti-counterfeiting designs, robotic solutions, and “the ability to strategically align packaging processes and data with the rest of the business.” [HCP]

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