By Stephan Lechel, Porsche Consulting and speaker at the European Label Forum 2017

Digital change preoccupies companies in every industry. In the packaging industry, however, digitalisation is especially visible. Many consumers deal with packaged food and cosmetics every day and virtually every industrial company uses labels and packaged material in production. With digital technology this packaging is being transformed. Its function is expanded so that instead of just a protective cover when transporting goods, more and more packaging is providing intelligent and customised add-ons to the packaged product.

But not only the packaging itself is becoming more digital. Planning, control and manufacturing processes are also evolving with the aid of digital technology.

Porsche Consulting has investigated what progress has been made when it comes to Industry 4.0 for packaging companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Their aim was to obtain answers to the following key questions.

  • Where does the packaging industry stand with their knowledge of the current change? Do companies have the required skills?
  • To what extent do companies employ a digitalisation strategy and how do they evaluate its benefits?
  • How innovative are packaging manufacturers and how are they developing their business models?
  • Where do packaging companies use digital technology today already and where will they invest in future?
Digitisation: one of the biggest challenges Digitalisation will revolutionise entire industries – crucial changes are expected in the next two years and they are starting already. The study shows that for many manufacturers rapid digitalisation will be one of the greatest challenges in coming years. The packaging manufacturers have to adapt to new situations in many sectors. But the opportunities that will arise are huge. According to Porsche Consulting, four basic principles will determine success or failure in future.
  1. Everything that can be digitalised will be digitalised – a lot is already feasible today.
  2. Customer benefits and needs will determine success, not the technology.
  3. The development of skills and early positioning in the market are crucial for above average growth.
  4. A limiting factor is willingness to change, not the technology.
And finally: what does Porsche Consulting have to do with packaging? Quite simple – for years they have been adapting the success factors in the automotive and other industries to the packaging sector. This is how they help their clients achieve new peak performance levels – including when it comes to digitalisation.