Exploring pharmaceutical packaging innovation management: a customer-supplier relationship case study

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


Packaging innovation is a strategic and valuable tool yet underexplored in business and extended value chains. Demographic changes, as population aging, and the increase of healthcare costs pose challenges and opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry, where packaging innovation offers new opportunities to provide patients with better solutions. This study employs a multi-stakeholder perspective to understand how companies manage packaging innovation by establishing partnerships and gathering resources that may also affect their product innovation performance. This research uses a cases study methodology built on empirical data from a global drug manufacturer and a large-sized packaging manufacturer in a customer-supplier relationship. Five senior management executives participated in semi-structured, in-depth, face-to-face interviews. The findings present propositions to guide further research. Importantly, the study identifies stakeholders’ needs impact on trade-offs when innovating in pharmaceutical packaging, whilst the robustness of packaging is prioritized in spite of a patient-centered approach. In the customer-supplier relationship, the drug manufacturer leads packaging innovation, while the packaging manufacturer is a follower of innovation and a source of reliable expertise. Furthermore, both firms increased their innovative performance when collaborating with other partners, e.g. start-up companies, patient’s associations and academia in the development process. This research has theoretical and practical implications on the management of pharmaceutical packaging innovation. The study provides a basis for benchmark upon which subsequent research can examine packaging innovation in other contextual settings.


External organisations
  • Linnaeus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • Case study, Drug manufacturer, Innovation networks, Packaging innovation, Packaging supplier, Pharmaceutical industry
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceeding of the 7th Global Innovation Knowledge Academy (GIKA), 28-30 June, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
PublisherThomson Reuters
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul
Publication categoryResearch
Event7th Global Innovation and Knowledge Academy - School of Economics and Management, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 2017 Jun 282017 Jun 30


Conference7th Global Innovation and Knowledge Academy
Internet address

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Related activities

Carli Lorenzini, G. (Presenter), Rana Mostaghel (Participant), Hellström, D. (Contributor)
2017 Jun 282017 Jun 30

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

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