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IPL Perspectives:

Rene Lombard & Gerhard Daniels

In July’s IPL Perspectives feature, we sat down with two of our experienced project managers, Rene Lombard and Gerhard Daniels.

Often responsible for ensuring projects tick over smoothly, it’s not always plain sailing in the project management department. Our PMs are often faced with navigating extensive briefs, coordinating multiple stakeholders and delivering on client expectations. What does it take to get a brief into production and a project over the line? Hear from Rene and Gerhard on the below topic:

In your opinion, what are some of the common mistakes associated with packaging briefs and how do you overcome them?

Read their responses below.

Rene Lombard | Project Manager

I would list the following points as some of the more common challenges faced with packaging briefs:

  • Unrealistic turnaround times i.e. from inception of the brief to delivery of finished product;
  • Luxury packaging expectations delivered at rock bottom prices;
  • Automation vs Manual processes that deliver varied advantages and disadvantages and need to be taken into account;
  • An unclear, open-ended brief or indistinct direction with too many options to be explored;
  • Expectation of perfection with zero tolerance for necessary changes or amendments where required;
  • Lack of understanding sustainable goals related to brand, finding the balance between sustainable goals (waste reduction) and associated material costs.

Special materials, the design, look and functionality, the quality requirements, whether the product is sustainable, how it should be received in the market; these are all aspects to be considered when sourcing for the perfect packaging solution.

Each buyer feels that their product deserves a place in the world and one cannot displace the “wants” from the “needs” and this is where the challenges originate. I feel it’s important that a customer understands that one needs to be open-minded to understand that changes to a brief are sometimes inevitable.

I feel this quote covers the right approach to facing the challenges; “It does not matter how sweet you can sing a song of love. You must know how to dance along with it. You can’t dance “salsa dance” on a “reggae song”.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

As global packaging specialists we take a hands-on approach to guiding and assisting our clients in finding exactly the right direction, materials and methods recommended for their specific needs and addressing their desired outcome. And that’s the magic, when it all comes together like a sweet symphony!

Gerhard Daniels | Project Manager

It’s always exciting to see new ideas come across my desk, knowing that I could be part of bringing a concept to life. What begins as a seed of inspiration, rolls out to a brief – and ultimately the delivery of an end product.

The devil lies in the details though. For any project to be executed timeously, the brief is a crucial element as it sets the tone – it also helps to dictate how we approach our buying sources – and could have a major impact on the timeline of the project.

Many of the more challenging briefs to execute are those where visual stimulation essentially overrules practicality. When it comes to secondary packaging, functionality and aesthetic appeal are both of crucial importance. A buyer should always ask: what do I want, what am I willing to pay, and when do I need it? These questions outline what a good brief should encompass.

Converting an idea into a final product requires methodical thinking, planning, executing and managing all aspects of the production process. To bring this all together: the brief should take into account the brand identity, the right choice of materials for the product, the product’s intended purpose, the manufacture packaging to intended requirements, where it is required, and if the product is sustainable.

For the end product to appear on a shelf, it needs to travel through various departments in the business – as a basic overview:

  • Design needs to execute how the product will identify with the brand;
  • Engineers must study the design to see if it is structurally sound, is fit for purpose and functions within the parameters of the brief;
  • Operations and Logistics must check how the product will travel to the markets and what the packaging requirements are to deliver the product in good condition;
  • Project Management needs to ensure the smooth dialogue between sales and supply.

Challenges inherent in a brief could include:

1. Unique designs that are dependent on significant development and testing; 2. Requested materials that are not fit for purpose; 3. Unrealistic timelines; 4. Submitted artworks that are not print-ready; 5. Unworkable budget constraints.

I would urge all buyers to factor these elements in their brand brainstorming sessions. Effectively addressing these issues will assist greatly in minimising any delays in cost estimates or having to extend development and testing periods and run the risk of projects exceeding their budgets and missing crucial deadlines.

GET INTO

THE MIND OF...


Each month we ask our “Perspectives” features a few questions to provide you with a little more context and insight into their job roles as well as themselves.

RENE LOMBARD

I’m a Project Manager responsible for planning, organising and allocating the resources needed to execute the completion of specific secondary packaging requirements while ensuring these projects are on time, on budget, and within scope. I champion promoting respect, kindness and consideration amongst co-workers. I’m the head of the Social Committee promoting fun and interaction within the workplace. This part of the role is not on the payroll!

My morning starts with a bit of meditation and reflection which helps keep my brain fresh and ready to tackle any challenge presented in the day! Positive thinking plays a key role in obtaining the results. Oh, and of course the oh-so-important cuppa java….the racing fuel to ‘rev up my engine’.

The flexible working model, part in office, part off-site works really well, it ticks all the boxes.The brain actually is stimulated more in this type of model because there is variety. For me it breaks the cycle of monotonous routine being exposed to different surroundings. This, in turn, contributes to a higher level of creativity and productivity.

To learn to operate a wider range of power tools as I do enjoy DIY Projects!

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Rene Lombard
Gerhard Daniels

GERHARD DANIELS

As project manager, my role is to ensure smooth communication, control and management between the expectations from our client via our sales teams versus the requirements from our various supply project teams, in what’s needed from our suppliers.

On the mornings that I commute to work, it’s all about dealing with traffic and having my first cup of coffee. It’s then a dive into discussions with our supply project teams and dealing with and reviewing and discussing challenges and general catch up on project timelines.

I prefer a hybrid work schedule. On the one hand it’s vital to have face-to-face interaction with colleagues, on the other there’s a benefit in not having to deal with traffic on a daily basis.

I’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language and plan to take up French lessons in due course.

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