November 30, 2022
IPL Perspectives: Ryan Broomberg & Neil Macaulay
As we wrap up the penultimate month of 2022, we sat down with two of our directors, Ryan Broomberg and Neil Macaulay, to get their perspectives on a key topic within the packaging industry.
We asked them:
What do you view as some of the biggest challenges facing packaging suppliers today? How do you believe these can be overcome?
Find out what Ryan and Neil had to say and how they plan on overcoming the challenges thrown their way.
As packaging suppliers, we are, without a doubt, facing a multitude of current challenges. This range of issues faced covers all bases – ranging from cost and logistic pressures to post covid resource ‘hangovers’. In reality, though, this is true for just about every business sector today, with almost all being confronted with a variety of difficulties to overcome.
Whilst it may seem hard to prioritise these, certainly for us as a global supplier with many years of experience in the international packaging industry, one of the most important issues to address is the need to do what one can to retain core human resources.
One cannot overestimate the value of competence and knowledge built up in a team over time and, whether it’s a big or small team, a company cannot easily tackle the various hoops it has to jump through without such important human assets as its backbone. In a post-pandemic world of remote or hybrid working, the ability to draw on years of ‘culture building’ can prove a huge advantage for any company, packaging or otherwise.
It is, of course, true that as the saying goes; ‘the devil is in the details’. It’s increasingly necessary to really dig into each problem and understand the nuances of it properly before the appropriate strategies are implemented. From my vantage point, it’s also about trying to set the appropriate tone for the business as we navigate the future.
The fact is, even your best people want to know the direction their company is headed and most importantly, they need to feel good about the journey they are on. Just as brands want to work with suppliers and partners who are successful, so employees want to work for companies who are innovative and ahead of the curve. Most employees are aware of the difficult environment we work in and the extra pressures we face at work and at home, but believing in the company’s goals can be a massive differentiator.
From an IPL point of view, we’ve looked to refocus and reshift ourselves on a regular basis over the years. This means not only reinventing and refreshing our outlook but also keeping track of where the world is headed. Sometimes these ‘softer issues’ are harder to encapsulate.
Of course, we know that environmental issues loom large for us all. As a packaging company, we’re being required to allocate more of our resources to looking for solutions that enable our offerings to better serve both our clients and the planet. Being in the luxury premium space as we are, makes the task even more difficult.
Here the ‘softer issue’ is perhaps trying to clarify to our team and our clients how we will be transparently interacting and communicating our solutions to the issues we all tackle in today’s world.
Excitingly, our new website has just launched and reinforces what it means to be an IPL team member. “We take packaging personally” reinforces, both internally and externally what we have always felt and that for us, this is not just a job; our reputation and integrity that’s on the line in everything we do.
Whilst hopefully our clients are already aware of this, we believe it really taps into how people feel in today’s new reality. We all have an innate desire to be cared for and looked after and not feel as if we are just another cog in the wheel.
Naturally, there will always remain obstacles to overcome from a practical point of view. Being commercially competitive is a must. In the premium and luxury world, so too are quality deliveries. So, cost, quality and reliability are non-negotiables for any company that wishes to survive and thrive into the future.
Aside from these, we need to focus on:
- Developing a deeper understanding of the different causes and effects of eco-friendly manufacturing and offering the best solutions to meet our clients’ sustainable objectives.
- Understanding the ever-moving shifts in sentiment regarding global manufacture and being best positioned to offer production where it makes the most sense to our clients.
- Finally, we need to stick to our wheelhouse. Focusing on what we are excellent at is crucial to our, and our clients, future success.
To consider what we as packaging suppliers currently face is, ultimately, to consider the challenges our clients face and ensure we have the correct strategic direction to be exemplary in these areas. Offering the necessary expertise and support that will allow them to navigate areas of potential difficulty or change is vital.
We’ve invested in and grown our Design and Innovations team over the past decade and it’s certainly proven worthwhile. To us, this is particularly important as one of our key goals is to offer viable sustainability routes for all new project developments and to avoid greenwashing at all costs. We need to be able to continually test and investigate new materials/technologies, production processes and activities across the entire value chain in order to share the best, most practical and innovative options with our clients.
As a results-driven business, we are deeply committed to this journey – as well as challenging ourselves to innovate for future solutions and reduce client stressors.
It’s true to say that the global supply chain across all commodities has never been as unstable in the 30 years I’ve been involved in packaging. The events of the last couple of years have exposed significant global logistic network vulnerabilities to political instability, natural disasters, and regulatory changes. This seems even worse for packaging material sourcing outside of rigid boxes, tins and mixed medium boxes.
As ever before (if not more so) quality, service and price are the key drivers for clients when making packaging-related decisions, however, the element of choice now needs to be added into this mix and, as such, we’re committed to constantly growing and developing supply routes from both Europe and Asia.
As a business, we have also learnt that shipping disruptions create an opportunity to improve how you communicate with clients and solve supply chain issues. I believe companies that can innovate in this area and keep their customers in the loop have a big competitive differentiator.
I am truly proud of our achievements and the culture we’ve developed within the IPL team globally. As a team, I believe we are solutions driven, honest and professional – with a growth mindset. What the past few years have taught us, however, is that we can never be complacent and that, essentially, we are only as good as our last order.
I view everything in the future as medium to long-term. The personnel change within our clients has been unprecedented within recent years as people adjust to the ‘permacrisis’. We are both challenged and committed to stay engaged at all levels and continue with the key messaging that we live our life’s by at IPL, placing people (yours and ours) at the centre of all we do.