Beyond 2020: Packaging Industry Recap + Learnings for 2021

“The global packaging industry has reinvented itself in 2020. We know it, we experienced it first hand. We’re sure you did too!”

2020 was quite a buzzkill. There, we said it! But it was also one long year to comprehend the way you do your business. We saw the biggest brands fall but we also saw how they rose from the ashes. All in all, however bad 2020 seemed, we all learnt & gained something out of it. What did Bizongo learn?

Well, the supply chain was the most affected sector during this period & packaging supply chain more so. The global packaging industry was forced to rethink & analyse to bring in some major fundamental changes. There was a great shift in perspective in addition to a futuristic view on how to overcome such drastic situations. 

While the vaccine seems to be around the corner, the way 2020 has shaken most of the businesses, the impact is going to be long-lasting. So let us help you be prepared for the new normal or the post-pandemic world & even beyond. 

We’ve listed down top 5 packaging supply chain challenges that 2020 introduced us to & set of solutions to triumph over them. Give it a read!

Tips to Navigate Through Possible Future Roadblocks in the Packaging Industry

Packaging Industry Roadblock #1 - Facing the Unknown

One thing that we know today is we can’t know everything. We expected natural disasters or workforce strikes or political instability. No one, however, expected the world to pause, the supply chains to pause, businesses to pause. Hence arises the need, from now on, to introduce preparedness to ensure business continuity.

Your Possible Defense

A disruption response plan is a must. If you don’t have one, this is the correct time to work on it. Employ a dedicated team for this task. Ask them to create a general response to every possible hindrance to your business - environmental, man-made or strategic. 

How to create an efficient response plan?

  • Ask what-if XYZ happens? Understand how it affects your business. List down all the XYZs & the most efficient ways to deal with it.

For example, Bizongo knew that packaging stockouts directly affect revenue as well as in cases, brand image. We decided to work on that & found inventory auto-replenishment to be the best solution. We created a software that helps our clients always be stocked up when it comes to packaging. You can know more about how this auto-replenishment system works here.

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  • Improve these solutions every 3 months until you reach your most effective & quickest response.
  • Once listed prioritise as per impact. What negatively impacts your business the most? If two occurrences happen simultaneously, you should know which response to execute first.

There might always be something you didn’t think happens. With a plan in place, at least those unknowns won’t be in the range of hundreds. Disruption response plans work wonders to create an uninterrupted supply chain.

Packaging Industry Roadblock #2 - Lack of available suppliers

Packaging is a niche industry & good packaging suppliers are fragmented across the country & hard to find. Hunting them around, trying & testing to finally find the one that suits your business can be extremely taxing. Especially when you are procuring for multiple locations, lack of suppliers can cause an issue considering the fact that longer logistics are not agile & more susceptible to global shifts. So what do you do?

Your Possible Defense

Go local. Build a vast vendor network. Localization of suppliers has great benefits. For one, the nearer your vendor is to the delivery location, the faster the delivery & who on earth does not like quick deliveries. But, we know, it’s easier said than done. So an ideal situation would be to work with packaging aggregators who have a huge vendor network. This will release you from the work of vendor discovery as well as management.

With this vendor consolidation strategy, Cure.fit achieved-

95% On-time In-Full Deliveries | 7% Reduction in Procurement Cost | ~50% Same-day Dispatches | 100% Procure-to-Pay Visibility

Read the case study in detail!

Bizongo offers vendor consolidation services where you not only find new, suitable vendors out of our 750+ manufacturing partners but also bring in your existing, trustworthy vendors with you. You will have full visibility on all your vendors & orders at a glance. Bonus? Leave the conversations & negotiations with the vendors to your one dedicated Bizongo POC.

Packaging Industry Roadblock #3 - The Huge Digital Wave

2020 served as a catalyst to digital transformation. A Google report states that, globally, at least 50% of increased usage of digital services have been from new users. As consumers migrated online, businesses of all sizes felt the pressure to adapt rapidly.

There’s no escape from this digital shift, so you might as well jump on the boat.

Your Possible Defense

Everything is now online. Clothes, books, food, groceries, education, this, that & even the supply chain. Yes, you heard it right. A sector so reliant on manual processes is now on the road of complete automation & we support that.

Automation of the packaging supply chain not only accounts for cost efficiency and productivity but also to make supply more resilient and transparent through real-time tracking. The result could be a greater need to integrate technologies like radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and near-field communications (NFC) into packaging. Innovative packaging designs will play an important enabling role.

Let go of the manual processes, go digital.

Empower your team with necessary digital tools to ensure a smooth transition into a smoothly-running packaging supply chain.

Packaging Industry Roadblock #4 - The Ever-Changing Trends

Trends. Well, the packaging industry has seen a change of trends every passing year, sometimes every 6 months. The only challenge that remains here is - how to keep up with these trends that change at the blink of an eye? Keep changing your packaging strategy every other month? No, we have a better way to go about this.

Your Possible Defense

Trends come & trends go. The space is fickle & everyone creates something new every day. The only possible solution to this is consistency. Consistently place consumer safety & convenience above all the trends. Embed that mentality in your business & you are good to go.

However, some trends stay long-term. Understand how to distinguish between a trend & a megatrend. A megatrend brings overall changes in the marketplace that affect manufacturers’ product placement and presentation. For example, You don’t necessarily need to follow the “Minimal Packaging” trend. However, 2020 nurtured a megatrend of hygienic packaging. Now, that needs to be catered. Address it & consider how you can use existing or new materials and solutions to develop a winning approach.

Packaging Industry Roadblock #5 - Highly Environment-Conscious Audience

Whatever you do, nothing will matter if the planet doesn’t exist. 

Sustainable packaging is important to the Generation Z. This younger generation is concerned about the eco-nightmare that is packaging. These young shoppers will avoid purchasing brands that are behaving in a planet-unfriendly manner. It is imperative that sustainability be a core agenda of your business in the coming years.

Your Possible Defense

Although sustainability has recently taken a back seat, it remains a key industry-shaping trend. Packaging-sustainability goals have not been abandoned.

So, become planet-friendly. There’s no if, no but in this case. Packaging is more than just a box. It is an opportunity to make the customer closely look at your brand. As per a Forbes report, packaging represents more consumer daily impressions than any other communications medium. 

To make your brand relevant & caring, participate actively to fight the biggest global problem, climate change. Be it something as simple as moving towards using paper packaging or as big as developing biodegradable courier bags to ensure reduction of carbon footprint in the e-commerce industry, PARTICIPATE!

The Packaging Industry Is Now Ready!

Who is to say what the future beholds? But this year gave us a good peek into what could be.

2020 taught us, majorly, to be prepared. Now that we know the possible challenges, we’re ready to face them or better, prevent them in this new normal & any more normals to come.

Hear more from Bizongo’s CEO, Aniket Deb on the changing landscapes in the post-pandemic world. 

P.S Tell us in the comments if there’s any challenge that you are currently facing in your packaging supply chain &  we’ll be happy to help!