Around the world, many industries are affected by digital transformation or corporate digitisation. Since 2010, technology has expanded dramatically thanks to the Internet of Things, everyday technologies, and the emergence of Industrial Revolution 4.0. It has altered how customers and businesses interact and conduct business.
Regardless of whether the business is B2B or B2C, the sectors worldwide have embraced the digital transformation drive and are digitising their business operations to improve client connectivity and service.
The packaging industry is also becoming more dependent on digitalisation to keep pace with this change. Customers’ shifting preferences, escalating competition, and the demand for increased operational efficiency are the main drivers. As a result, businesses are using digital transformation to create new business models and consumer solutions.
Global Packaging Scenario
The retail industry is evolving. Consumers consume a lot of packaged goods, and several producers are driving demand for creative and affordable solutions, which forces the global packaging market to adapt. The packaging sector needs a fully linked solution that unites all data points for continuous improvement.
Today, paper and paperboard, plastics, aluminium, and glass are the most frequently used packing materials. Whether they are selling medications, food, and beverage, electronics, toys, carrier bags, or practically any other product, all companies employ some form of packaging in their facilities. However, the packaging sector continues to face difficulties due to the fluctuating costs of raw resources, including wood, natural gas, and petroleum because it affects both distribution and production.
At a CAGR of 3.94% from 2023 to 2028, the size of the global packaging market is anticipated to increase from USD 1,098.81 billion in 2023 to USD 1,333.02 billion by 2028. Because of concerns about sustainability, packaging manufacturers will need to handle thinner materials and more difficult designs while maintaining productivity. The packaging industry must develop to become more consumer- and cost-friendly.
Additionally, there has been a rise in the demand for adaptability and flexibility in automation capabilities, machine optimisation, and integration as the packaging sector develops and becomes more digitalised. As eCommerce expands, the box delivery process is getting more complicated and needs to be completed quickly without losing quality. Due to these problems, the packaging industry is forced to think outside the box to create new, more lucrative business models without losing operational effectiveness.
Impact of Digital Transformation and Technological Advancements in the Packaging Industry
Amidst the rising concerns of this industry, technology has come to the rescue. Let’s look at some of the ways it is helping improve their processes.
1. Automated order management system
Despite being a B2B industry, managing orders online and automating order management can assist the packaging industry in improving efficiency and transparency with its clients and employees. Customers can efficiently track their orders, and staff members can be fully informed of their responsibilities and the timetable.
2. Packaging design software for customisation and faster go-to-market
Packaging is now considered one of the branding collaterals by branding managers due to the growing importance of branding in light of the fiercely competitive industry. Customers and social media trends have also brought packaging to a position of importance within the company. As a result, unboxing is still popular, necessitating the use of eye-catching packaging. In addition, marketers are integrating QR codes and similar technologies into packing materials to connect with consumers and convey their brand message.
The requirement for customised packaging has grown dramatically due to these changes. Thus, the industry is experiencing significant demand for packaging design software. They can now design their packaging and send a bulk printing order with a ready-to-print file thanks to tools that not only digitise the product design process but also provide a high level of customisation.
3. AI for a personalised product offering
Personalisation is popular not only in product packaging but also in corporate operations. People are eager to share their data with businesses to receive tailored recommendations. Businesses are implementing AI and other cognitive technologies to create individualised user experiences through successful customer services. They use automated marketing emails, cross-selling, and up-selling marketing strategies to provide better products while maximising operations, sales, and marketing.
4. Sustainable production and sourcing approach
The concept of sustainability is sweeping the globe. Fighting climate change has become crucial, but with Gen Z’s growing purchasing power, they want the firms they patronise to take a sustainable stance. Every retail sector, including luxury firms, the fashion sector, e-commerce behemoths, and the food sector, is attempting to adopt sustainable packaging.
Consequently, there is a strong need for eco-friendly packaging materials. The packaging business also needs equipment for producing sustainable packaging. Companies also use cognitive, AI, ML, and IoT technology to reduce their production waste and offer clients a product with little waste. There are various AI, ML and IoT Business opportunities where companies can leverage their potential abilities to achieve sustainable solutions.
5. Remote monitoring and data analytics solutions for effective waste management
Another concern is the inability of traditional packaging businesses to make data-driven decisions. One can boost production and decrease unplanned downtime using automated plant and workflows, effective quality control systems with remote monitoring, and optimised equipment performance. Additionally, with the aid of integrated systems, the stakeholders’ data sharing is made more efficient, aiding in successful policy formulation and strategy development using data-driven judgments.
6. Limiting downtime
The disturbing machine outages are reduced thanks to digital technologies in the packaging industry, with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors that gather information on machine health. The objective is to give operators useful information about potential issues before those problems result in outages.
Smart sensors are used in some pneumatic packaging machines to keep track of variables, including engine vibrations, airflow, and pressure. Even people with limited technical knowledge can easily obtain data and make the right decisions with these solutions. Once problems are detected and reported, packaging providers can switch from routine maintenance based on machine cycles or operating hours to predictive maintenance.
Digital updates can considerably enhance the operations of packaging companies, and their product offerings to current or new clients can be increased. However, the most effective technique to incorporate packaging industry technology into workflows relies on a company’s present problems and objectives.
Leaders must also make clear how much money can be spent on such upgrades and how they will keep track of progress. A packing facility’s layout must be examined if the digitalisation approach entails purchasing new equipment. Before making a purchase, consider the location of the equipment to maximise both productivity and safety.
It will be easier for executives to decide when, why, and how to invest in packaging technologies. With this, they are likely to receive great rewards and profitable returns on their investments.