Packaging giant DS Smith has opened its first two UK PackRight Centres, enabling customers to work with packaging experts to design and build new or improved packaging prototypes.
The new facilities, in Featherstone, Yorkshire and Hinckley, Leicestershire, soft-launched to customers in the summer and have officially opened over the past few weeks.
Although they are the first of their kind in the UK, the format is established in Europe, with 24 PackRight Centres already operating across the continent.
DS Smith’s packaging strategists collaborate with customers at the centres to brainstorm ideas that address their packaging and supply chain challenges.
The company said customers put their packaging requirements into context by learning about broader trends within the packaging industry and sharing their vision, ideas and concerns on everything from the branding and look of the packaging to transportation in the supply chain and recyclability.
They can then undertake a series of hands-on workshops to explore their ideas in the design studio, using technology including sketching boards and visualisation software.
DS Smith UK Packaging Division sales and marketing director Mick Thornton said: “The feedback we have received from customers so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The PackRight Centres have collaboration at their heart and so we use local site-based skills and also bring in team members from across the DS Smith network to ensure that customers have access to the expertise they need to solve their packaging and supply chain challenges.”
He added: “The collaborative approach at the PackRight Centres allows customers to get more hands-on with the packaging process, tapping into DS Smith’s insight, technology and industry leading knowhow. Customers can take away digitally printed prototypes, giving them a tangible customer specific solution that could be brought to market.”
The company did not disclose which digital kit it was operating at the centres or the investment cost of opening the two sites, but said it had “an ongoing investment programme to help customers achieve more sales, reduce cost and manage business risk”.
Britvic senior shopping marketing manager Chris Curtis said: “Our visit to the PackRight Centre at Featherstone provided us the opportunity to think differently about how we approach and design packaging for our brands.
“Covering everything from supply chain to in-store, the experts in the DS Smith team facilitated our session over the course of two days, utilising a suite of technology to achieve tangible outputs that we could take back to our project team and stakeholders.
“Using the PackRight facilities and expertise available at DS Smith has set the benchmark for how we collaborate as a business and with our partners going forward.”
DS Smith also announced its has appointed Isabel Rocher, former Amazon head of EU packaging and shipping supplies, as the head of its new specialist ecommerce team.
Rocher has been in the packaging industry for more than 15 years and was responsible for the EU shipping supply budget at Amazon.
“To a certain extent, the packaging industry is still finding its feet in this area (e-commerce), and with DS Smith’s proud history of innovation, I’m looking forward to working with customers to better understand their needs and to communicate the very real value that packaging can bring to the ecommerce supply chain," said Rocher.