Digital Transformation Is a Necessity for the Paper and Packaging Industry

The challenge facing the paper and packaging industry is how to survive the shift to digital technologies in a world where the demand for paper products has steadily declined. The industry has, however, not been evenly impacted by digital disruption. Packaging, hygiene and tissue segments are still experiencing solid growth. Paper, especially for printers and graphic design, as well as newsprint have taken the brunt of the impact. These segments must reconsider how they can provide value in a digitally-driven world.

The print and packaging industry must determine how they can remain relevant by finding ways to leverage technology to solve digital challenges. While it may seem counterintuitive, this industry must find a way to become more digital for it to advance in the future.

Here are 5 strategies paper and packaging manufacturing companies should consider to achieve future success.

  1. Digital innovation

Paper and packaging can still be improved using digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). For example, machine learning can help improve product quality and improve process automation while AR can support safety for workers while being cost effective.

  1. Customer collaboration

Digitized data can provide analysis of customers’ individualized needs, providing opportunities for growth and development. Leaders in the field are already co-developing new packaging materials and detailed tracking information for shipped goods, helping them stay relevant for customers.

  1. Logistics and operational efficiency

Paper and packaging companies experience complex logistics and manufacturing challenges. These range from warehousing to process management to transportation and asset downtime. Using sensors to capture and analyze data from vehicles, machines or products allows better predictions and decision making. Automation and connectivity can help improve efficiency through:

  • Plant floor error reduction
  • Increased speed in processing
  • Early prediction of machine failures and need for repair
  • Fewer hours of unplanned downtime
  • Curtailed operational costs.
  1. Use talent to the greatest advantage

Digital tools help workers spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time on strategic thinking and action. Technology helps employees focus on problem solving and facilitating outcomes faster and with less cost. It also has been shown to reduce error rates and accidents that tended to occur before automation was installed.

  1. Strategic partnerships

Due to the complexity of the paper and printing industry, a collaborative effort that includes technology provider partnerships is required to address core business processes that are integrated with emerging technologies. These industry segments must stay ahead of the game and, to do so, must rely on technological solutions that are innovative and forward-thinking.

The paper and packaging industry has experienced digital disruption in recent years. These manufacturing segments need to step back and reevaluate the role technology can play in their future success by increasing new opportunities, improving operational efficiency and accelerating their speed to market. If they can do this, they will create more value to their customer-base than ever before and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) are poised and ready to assist paper and packaging industry businesses with both current and future risks.

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