Digitisation in Packaging. The rise of the machines will see the people rise too.
“The packaging industry is, without doubt, feeling the impact of increased digitisation,” says Mark Castro, Senior NPD Manager at IPL Packaging. “As part of this marked AI revolution we’re spawning a generation of consumers accustomed to instant gratification… personalised marketing, same-day delivery and global product consistency.”
But do we need to be afraid? Will the machines take over? Will digitisation really work if the human element is sidelined? “The answer to those companies who are integrating it effectively is – no! …But, that’s because they’re employing IA,” he says.
“In contrast to AI, which is a standalone system capable of processing information as well as or better than a human, IA or ‘Intelligence Amplification’ is actually designed to complement and amplify a human decision maker’s capability,” explains Castro. “IA has one big edge over AI: it builds on human intelligence that has evolved over millions of years, while AI attempts to build intelligence from scratch.”
IA has effectively been around from the time humans first began to communicate, at least in a broad sense. Writing was among the first technologies that might be considered as IA, and it enabled us to enhance our creativity, understanding, efficiency and, ultimately, intelligence.
“You see, for all of its promise, big data left unbounded can be a source of financial and intellectual frustration, confusion, and exhaustion,” says Castro, “The potential of the machine is harnessed around measurable insights. But the true impact comes from putting those insights to work and changing behaviour at the point where decisions are made and processes are performed,” he explains. ”That’s where amplified intelligence comes in.”
Accelerating the digitisation of any business can be a crucial key to success. The consumer benefits – and companies and brands benefit too. When digitisation is effectively implemented in any business or supply-chain, the results of lower costs, better operational processes and greater consumer insight can better enable brands to offer competitive prices and also to eliminate wastage.
Simplifying and digitising the value chain can enable businesses to get products to market quickly and with accuracy. The product’s packaging process is a critical part of this chain.
“Leading digital transformation in packaging, as in other sectors, means driving competitive insights through intelligence, integration across organisational structures and an in-depth understanding of capabilities,” continues Castro.
“However, none of this can happen without the people involved in actualising the changes. The ‘people dimension’ of digital transformations is the key to unlocking value and ensuring the sustainability of AI implementation and digital changes. This is because, amongst other things, the creation of effective packaging requires the consideration of two key factors; time and communication,” he states. If you look at IoT (the Internet of Things), it is really a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.
It can take months to create an overall packaging design; working through many reiterations of design involving the constant communication between client and supplier throughout the entire NPD process. Now, with increased digitisation in the packaging space, suppliers and manufacturers should be more driven than ever to collaborate, be more customer-oriented, manage their time, learn new skills and change amidst a changing digital world.
“There are today a plethora of emerging digital disruptors in both the printing and packaging marketplaces,” continues Castro. “At IPL Packaging our supply base utilises tools that shorten processes and lead times and add a greater variety of manufacturing technologies as well as more options being to rectify supply chain challenges.”
“One thing is important though,” stresses Castro, “When you connect people and expertise, digital technology has a greater chance of building better brands and solving problems quickly to drive results,” he says. “In adapting to new digital environments, organisations need to meld culture, human resources, facilities and technologies – and the companies who wholeheartedly embrace these changes are sure to flourish and prosper,” he continues.
“We do not need to be scared of this new world of AI, both in the packaging industry and many others beyond”. People will always be the key to unlocking its potential!”