Presentation summary of Thomas Reiner keynote address at the SPC Open House
In a far-reaching keynote speech that kept a packed audience at the SPC Open House spellbound for almost an hour, CEO and co-owner Berndt+Partner Group, Thomas Reiner focused on two major packaging industry trends – digitization and sustainability.
Brand owners and retailers determine demand and set requirements for packaging. A fast time to market, low minimum orders to reduce waste and changing consumer behaviour like growing demand for e-commerce solutions are all among the reasons why organisations and brands have to rethink business models.
“Compelling Trends Driving Digital Transformation in Packaging” was the theme of the presentation at the Durst Innovation Center East in Lienz, Austria, given by Mr Reiner, the founder of Berndt + Partner, the packaging and communication consultants with a network of offices across the world.
To underpin a message of the vital importance of sustainability, Mr Reiner used a mixture of graphics and varied fact sources to get his message across. “Converters are in deep waters” was one where he pointed out that whereas 78% of converters recognize sustainability as an opportunity, only 12% have a strategy to address the issue.
Waste has been recognized as a problem that has been escalating since the 1980s, climate change concern has been particularly growing in the 2000s but now the combination of climate and waste is going to cause a massive disruption.
Regardless of where people are in the packaging value chain, there is an unmistakable transition to a circular economy, a subject on everybody’s agenda. Coupled with legislative risk of the Green Deal, converters are going to have to be agile and adaptable to be able to thrive in the unfolding paradigm.
Consumers are taking an active role. Whether it’s renewable, recyclable or biodegradable inputs for production or recovering resources and materials from end-of-life products, brands and retailers are responding with their sustainability strategies.
Mr. Reiner quoted Larry Fink (Chairman and CEO BlackRock) “With the impact of sustainability on investment returns increasing, we believe that sustainable investing is the strongest foundation for client portfolios going forward.”
In his keynote speech, Mr Reiner also covered digital transformation and provided examples of brands and retailers moving towards more sustainable packaging. A move in the right direction is that 70% of US branded companies already design their packaging to be suitable for e-commerce.
Companies and individuals need to close the gap on the fast rate of change in technology advances where the market shifts from supply driven to a demand driven basis.
There is a major disconnect between consumer expectations and industry agility with respect to time to market. Mr Reiner showed a graph where the reality is a 198-day time for new product variant, the CMO perception and aspiration is actually 90 and 30 days respectively, yet the consumer expectation is nearer to one day!
Change is coming! As Mr Reiner concluded with a quote from Albert Einstein:
“The purest form of madness is to leave everything as it is and hope that something will change at the same time.”