“When used strategically, data analytics have the power to completely transform how a company performs. From improving the quality output of a product, to reducing waste and accelerating throughput, a focus on analysis can help packaging businesses stay competitive and successful for the long-term” – Jan De Roeck, Esko Director of Marketing, Industry Relations and Strategy
Packaging converters today are facing significant challenges. Order books are full, and packaging businesses are working to full capacity. While it is positive that the packaging market is still going strong and converter businesses are benefiting from the momentum of high demand, there is an underlying feeling that there is still more to attain. In other words, there is a constant need for increased operational efficiency.
Issues such as rising inflation, disruptions in supply chain logistics and skyrocketing energy and raw material costs – both in terms of fibers as well as fossil oil-based materials – are causing major headaches and have a direct impact on the bottom line of packaging converter businesses. Not only does the supply shortage make it very difficult to deliver packaging to customers on time and in the requested quantities, but with long-term or established service agreements in place, it is almost impossible to pass on the obvious additional costs by increasing prices to the packaging buyer.
More data, more efficiency gains
More than ever before, packaging converters need to identify and exploit opportunities to reduce waste. Not only the obvious material waste, but also to avoid wasting staff time and machine time. The key to future success is in delivering operational efficiencies wherever possible – and the increasing role of Data and Data Analytics is completely essential to achieving this.
A key theme for technology innovators for the supply chain of packaged consumer products is creating the tools to unlock greater value by turning all this generated and captured data into actionable insights. For many packaging converters, considering HOW to use this data is a relatively new challenge.
“Big Data” and “data analytics” have become buzzwords in the sector, an accepted part of the narrative around Industry 4.0. But the danger is that big data analytics are driven by IT technology, rather than by defined business needs. Without a clear idea of the business challenge being tackled, the potential return on investment is limited. It is therefore imperative to fall back to a baseline, for example by using the Esko Digital Maturity Model for Packaging converters, from where businesses can set priorities in their digitalization strategy, and identify what data technology needs they have to drive the strategy forward.
Making data more accessible
Another real challenge related to data analytics is the scarcity of requisite data analytics talent. At this moment, demand for qualified, experienced and available individuals in data analytics exceeds supply by a significant margin. That’s why companies like Esko are focusing development on providing users and managers with a functional and easy to use experience. As many businesses are now digitizing many of their processes, tasks and workflows, it is vital that ongoing digitization is supported by making solutions even more powerful, robust, yet simple to engage and user-friendly.
Esko has addressed the growing need for actionable insights with its latest software, Esko Release 22.03, which includes a host of new features to enable businesses to make optimal use of data. This is part of the company’s commitment to remove barriers to digital transformation and ensure that everyone is equipped not only with the data, but most importantly with user friendly tools to analyze and visualize data. The latter turns data into production intelligence and actionable insights – vital tools to meet the challenges they already face today and prepare for the emerging challenges of tomorrow.
For those organizations who are already advanced with their digital transformation, collecting more data than ever before, the release empowers them to make more with what they have – everything from usage tracking in ArtPro+ and Automation Engine and color preflight technology based on color profile data of presses, substrates and inks, through to new reporting tools and dashboarding in WebCenter that help to turn data into useful business intel that can shape a business by identifying and untapping new efficiencies and eradicating further waste.
We must note that while true that when used strategically, data analytics have the power to completely transform how a company performs, in order to be successful, we must ensure the business case is clear and drives the technology developments in data analytics.
For more on the Esko Digital Maturity Model for Packaging converters click here
For more on the latest Esko Release 22.03 software, click here
Jan De Roeck is Director of Marketing, Industry Relations and Strategy with Esko