Smart Packaging System Facts
A smart packaging system can contain embedded sensors that detect moisture, tampering and other indicators, or it can use digital tools such as NFC, RFID or QR codes to communicate with a customer’s smartphone. By combining the power of the Internet of Things with smart packaging, businesses can add value for customers and gain insight into their own products and markets.
Companies that adopt smart packaging technologies can enhance consumer engagement with their brands and improve internal efficiencies. They can also increase brand loyalty, reduce the risk of product spoilage and a host of other challenges related to product shelf life. Some examples of these benefits include:
Businesses that incorporate Smart Packaging Solutions into their operations can leverage tracking and tracing tools to manage supply chain efficiency and ensure product quality throughout the supply chain. Some of these systems utilize time-temperature indicators that document a package’s thermal exposure and can estimate remaining shelf life. These devices are especially useful for foods and beverages that require refrigerated storage and distribution, or pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Other smart packaging innovations offer the ability to track a product through its journey to a consumer, which can help to eliminate waste and optimize distribution networks. These systems may also be used to track the condition of a product during shipping and transit, and can alert suppliers to potential problems or damage, such as a tampered-with box that has been opened.
These new technologies can help to increase business agility, which is particularly important for SMEs that seek to compete in the fast-moving world of consumer products. By using agile innovation techniques like brainstorming ideas, quickly forming teams, jury-rigging prototypes, testing them in the market, and learning from results, small businesses can develop the right solution for their needs.
Depending on the technology employed, smart packaging can provide new opportunities for businesses to build direct digital relationships with consumers and generate additional revenue streams from data sales. The value generated by smart packaging can also be shared among the various players in a supply chain. For example, a consumer packaged goods producer that codeveloped a plastic “smart ticket” for an entertainment event company tracked customers through the venue space and added and deducted credits as they moved around, increasing customer intimacy and helping to drive revenue.
However, the proliferation of intelligent packaging can lead to disruption, especially for firms that don’t adapt and participate in the emerging ecosystem. For instance, packagers that provide the critical substrates and engineered materials for packages can become marginalized as commodity material providers if they don’t embrace and support the emerging industry standards for connected packaging.
In addition, the smart packaging business model is dependent on a small universe of technology providers. These players must invest in developing and acquiring the appropriate technology capabilities before they can benefit from the asset-light opportunities offered by intelligent packaging. This is a high barrier to entry for many players, and it can limit the market’s momentum if not overcome.