Want To Get Your Team On Board With New Packaging Processes?
Posted on 10/02/2022
A recurring obstacle to a successful cost-reduction exercise in packaging is that packaging buyers find resistance from operational staff. For procurement teams trying to achieve consolidation across a group whose packaging has ticked along for years, even collating the current spec sheets across all items can be a huge challenge!
Now, this is understandable as despatch staff don’t want to risk the integrity of their packing process. If the packing isn’t right, damaged and returned goods are the usual (and unwelcome) result.
However, the actual problem is rarely the changes the buyer is proposing to make! The issue is often the lack of a shared understanding of why the change needs to occur, and often, a feeling of not being consulted enough in a process that could significantly affect them and their work.
We partner with the UK's largest food and beverage clients to implement high-impact packaging improvements and supply them with solutions that save six-figure sums (and hundreds of tonnes of plastics) annually. Alongside changes that can even boost your team's productivity and increase safety.
Here are our recommendations for a successful packaging tender or review that gets maximum buy-in from Operational Staff:
1. Make Sure Everyone Understands The Problem With The Status Quo
You could have multiple pallet wrap thicknesses being used across your company, meaning some sites are over-wrapping and spending extra money on every pallet wrapped. You might even have a corporate commitment to reduce plastics by 50% in 3 years, and your current provider isn't proactively helping you reach your goal.
Or, you could find a supplier’s service levels have worsened during the recent supply crises, and you need a more trusted alternative. But whatever the issue is, articulate it to key operational influencers.
It will dawn on them how working around a supplier issue every day is costing them time, effort, or stress - and that your project is going to solve it! With that, gone are the perceptions of the 'Buyer interfering'. Now the mindset is now that by working together, all sides of the business will stand to benefit.
2. Make The Implementation Process Of New Solutions A Key Selection Factor
Many supplier proposals will look attractive on paper, but how well they deliver the promised objectives is down to how well they're implemented with your operations staff.
You only get one chance at successful implementation, and suppliers with experience in the food and beverage industry know how crucial getting operational buy-in is. We recommend that Buyers consider suppliers who:
Take a data-led approach to changes
Have a supportive trial process, and
Show a strong practical knowledge of how your operational guys apply the packaging item.
These are all key elements that drive buy-in from your despatch team and can drive those successful procurement projects.
3. Emphasise that Continuous Improvement is a Key Supplier Requirement
Operations staff often want improved packing equipment, tools or products to advance their department. As a Buyer, you know these will help you reduce costs in the long game, but you won't be able to capture all of it and make the changes all at once.
However, by selecting a supplier who can demonstrate a pipeline of innovations, and an enthusiasm for solving problems, you will be in a good position to drive these improvements in the future. When Operations can see you’re making new supplier choices based on a long-term vision that will help their whole department improve, they will realise there’s so much to gain from your project.
4. Alignment Is Everything
Fundamentally, great food and beverage companies are values-driven, people-focused, and decisions are ROI-led. Your packaging project or review can be a success story when there's internal alignment between what matters to you and what your suppliers demonstrate.
For example, if you have a company mantra to 'Find a Better Way', look for suppliers that challenge the norms and embrace that. Your Operations Team will sense the alignment if you do - and they'll embrace the change you propose and be ready to support in future initiatives too.