Support for the industrial packaging development process: Buyer and supplier perspectives

Sandra Silgård Casell

Research output: ThesisLicentiate Thesis

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Industrial packaging contains the parts of final products and is used in the handling and transport of them from the component supplier to the manufacturing company. An increased interest and emphasis on industrial packaging is necessary if the associated potential benefits in terms of costs, efficiency and effectiveness of packaging related activities are to be realized (related activities are those that have an impact on or are affected by the use of packaging). The fundamental conditions for these resource savings opportunities start in the actual development process of industrial packaging. On the whole, insight into how to bring about these savings, or even that there are savings to be made (and in terms of what), has not yet been acknowledged or clearly understood from the point of view of manufacturing

In the research presented, two case studies were conducted at companies that are active world-wide. The first study encompasses two manufacturing companies; one in the automotive industry and one in the electronics industry. The second study encompasses three packaging suppliers delivering industrial packaging to these and other industrial segments.

The purpose of this research is to describe deficiencies of the industrial packaging development processes and to explore potential changes dealt with in the same. It was found that the establishment of interdepartmental collaboration between the stakeholders of industrial packaging in the areas of logistics, engineering/design, packaging and purchasing was favorable in terms of spreading knowledge of the activities and hence objectives of each of the stakeholders involved. This can in turn remedy the dominance of certain objectives over others, especially when the overall beneficial situation of efficiency and effectiveness of the stakeholder activities is not taken into account. The results indicate that the objectives of manufacturing companies’ purchasing functions to decide on the most cost effective packaging solution were often found to downplay the objectives and priorities of other stakeholders’ activities in the supply chain. Another finding was the value of early supplier involvement, which was acknowledged by both actors as being important in terms of resource efficiency. Although the packaging suppliers argued that there has been an improvement in the timing of involvement, they claimed that manufacturing companies most frequently still involve the packaging suppliers at a late phase in the development process of industrial packaging.

These research findings can be used as support for further research into aspects that impact the developmental process of packaging, especially as regards industrial packaging directed to intermediary customers. This research raises the importance, from a systems perspective, of acknowledging these customers’ needs as well as other stakeholders’ needs. To practice the findings of this research favor manufacturing companies interested in developing their packaging development strategy with particular emphasis on industrial packaging used for transport and handling. The research especially raises the importance of integrative and collaborative efforts among functional units.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Packaging Logistics
  • Olsson, Annika, Supervisor
  • Jönson, Gunilla, Supervisor
ISBN (Print)978-91-7473-133-0
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Mechanical Engineering

Free keywords

  • Collaboration
  • development process
  • industrial packaging


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