Stakeholders in Packaging
- Identify the different stakeholders involved in the development of consumer goods products, such as this ready-to-drink coffee beverage.
Hi everyone! My name is Julie Suggs and I am the Academic Director for the Packaging School. While Dr. Hurley is taking a much needed vacation, I will be filling in—great to be here with you all.
As you know, the roles and responsibilities of the folks that develop packaged goods are diverse and wide-ranging. Each member of the team has a distinct function, and each is critical to the outcome of a successful packaged product.1
With all that is required, there are many stakeholders in the competitive, complex business of packaging that must be viewed as part of a great system—and that is what I am here to talk with you about today!
R&D, as you might guess, is split twofold for most companies. Research, specifically market research, unveils what consumers want, market demands, price points, and how to fill needs within the product category.2 Development is focused on the conceptualization phase of the product life cycle based on the data the Market Research team has uncovered.3 To quote what our Chief Learning Officer, Dr. Hurley, often says: “Packaging decisions should be data driven.” This division of stakeholders is tasked with constantly innovating new products and solutions and to be the first to offer these solutions to customers.
Product Development takes R&D one step further and moves from the conception phase in the product life cycle to the process of designing, creating, and marketing new products or existing products with new features.3
Packaging professionals work in tandem with product development to ensure the product makes its way to the consumer safely where it can be used, stored, and properly disposed of. While doing this, they keep the client's needs and an efficient use of raw materials in mind. Packaging focuses on structural design, and in this case, material options and form, package sealing, package graphics, etc. . Package testing is also conducted under various conditions by simulating real shipping and handling scenarios to ensure packaging durability.4
The procurement department requires the proper materials and works to find suppliers with the best prices and most reliable service. It is also important to vet factories for labor and environmental compliance in order to ensure your quality standards are met.5
Production is concerned with ensuring a smooth operation on existing machinery. Before finalizing a design, it is best practice to evaluate the equipment that will be producing your packaged product. This component of this stakeholder process is also responsible for establishing and executing policies, procedures, and programs that assure products are developed, manufactured, and marketed in compliance with in-house specifications and all applicable legal and regulatory agencies.6
Based on the production forecast and abilities, sales will push products to customers either directly or through retail / sales outlets.
Marketing is the center of the traditional consumer packaged goods workflow. It establishes the target market and requests a package that fits the bill in a unique way. A product manager in marketing will be established who is responsible for the lifecycle of the product and manager of the product team, which includes development, packaging, logistics, production lead, advertising, etc.7
The goal of the advertising committee is to utilize media that will easily be seen by the target market to get the intended message across. This, in turn, promotes the new product and brings about awareness.8
One of the most important stakeholders is the end-user. A project’s success is ultimately decided by the capacity of the end-user to desire, buy, and consume the final product.9
Overall, packaged products span across numerous departments and stakeholders that should all be involved in some capacity in the project right from the start. Each has a vested interest in improving efficiency (and the bottom line!), consumer affinity, and brand awareness.10