The Packaging Management Glossary

Esko wants you to work smarter, not harder, so we compiled a list of key packaging management terms for your reference.

Did we miss something? Email us and we’ll be sure to update the glossary. 

Agile: Agile is a set of management practices used in software development. Based on a set of principles that include “prioritize customer satisfaction,” “welcome change requirements” and “cooperate with developers,” Agile’s goal is to eliminate bottlenecks from a project.

While the terms “scrum” and “agile” are often used interchangeably, there’s actually a distinct difference between the two. Scrum is a framework for delivering software, and Agile refers to the set of practices within the framework. Need an analogy? If you think of Scrum as a diet: you’re a vegetarian… you’re Paleo… you’re gluten-free, then Agile is the set of recipes you use to adhere to your diet.

Audit Trail: An audit trail is a way to make all electronic data traceable across the entire packaging value chain. An audit trail shows a record of who accessed the packaging project, as well as the date and time they accessed it.

Augmented Reality (AR): While virtual reality removes a person from their existing reality, augmented reality complements a person’s existing environment by placing additional digital content or objects into their view.

Brand Management: Best practices for increasing the perceived value of a product or service. Done well, brand management builds customer loyalty (and contributes to the bottom line!) through repeat, positive brand associations and interactions. High-quality, consistent packaging is a component of good brand management.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD): Computer technology that designs a product while documenting the process. CAD design replaces manual drafting and is often used in architecture, packaging and engineering, where it allows the user to play with design ideas, visualize design concepts through 2D drawings or 3D models. In packaging, CAD software provides the user the opportunity to create parametrically accurate designs and enables quick folding of final folded design for even complex designs with curved creases.

Change Management: When an organization undertakes projects, they often involve change – to processes, job roles, organizational structures and technology. Change management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully navigate these changes. Digital transformation of packaging today relies heavily on effective change management and having a partner who specializes in implementing technology solutions.

Computer Vision: Computer science that helps computers “see” and understand the content of digital images such as photographs and videos. Computer vision is often used in packaging technology to check labels and artwork.

Danaher Business System (DBS): Esko is a subsidiary of Danaher, so it is important to understand the system that drives our culture. DBS is rooted in Lean principles and is fueled by Danaher’s core values. The system, driven by customer feedback, continuously strives to improve quality, delivery, and cost. It propels Danaher and all its’ operating companies through a never-ending cycle of change and continuous improvement: exceptional PEOPLE develop outstanding PLANS and execute them using world-class tools to construct sustainable PROCESSES, resulting in superior PERFORMANCE. Superior performance and high expectations attract exceptional people, who continue the cycle.

Digital Transformation: Using technology to create new and/or modify parts of a business, including culture, processes, and the customer experience. Today, companies that want to succeed must understand how to merge technology with strategy, and the IDC forecasts worldwide spending on technologies and services that enable digital transformation will reach $1.97 trillion in 2022.

Digital Asset Management (DAM): Digital asset management is a solution to store brand, packaging, and marketing assets (such as artwork files, glamour shots and marketing materials) in a centralized location. Metadata, tagging, folder structure, taxonomy, asset relationships, and sophisticated search capabilities make it easy to retrieve and share the assets. DAM also prevents duplicate content mistakes and ensures the marketing and sales teams know which files are approved for use.

Ecosystem Diagram: An illustrated map of an organization that defines the material supplies, suppliers, consumers and competitors involved in the delivery of a product.

First Moment of Truth (FMOT): Coined by A.G. Lafley (CEO of P&G), FMOT is a marketing term for the moment when a customer forms an impression of a brand, product or service based on his or her first interaction.

Gantt Chart: A Gantt chart is a visual view of a project’s tasks scheduled over time. A typical tool found in the project manager’s toolbox, a Gantt chart tells a project team what work is to be completed on a specific day and provides everyone with an overview of how tasks group together, overlap and link with each other.

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Compliant: GMP is a system that ensures that products and packaging are consistently produced and controlled according to a certain level of quality. With GMP, there must be written procedures and systems in place for every step of the manufacturing process for each product. GMP compliance helps minimize the risks in Pharma and Life Science product packaging and is widely accepted as the best way to conduct business.

Intelligent Packaging: Packaging systems that may improve product safety, extend shelf-life, monitor freshness, and/or give information on the quality of the product. For example, a package that changes color when the product inside is past its expiration date is an intelligent package.

IoT and IIoT: Abbreviations of the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet of Things.

IoT refers to the billions of physical devices worldwide connected to the internet, gathering and exchanging data. IoT increases the digital intelligence of devices that would otherwise be ordinary, enabling them to communicate real-time data without a human being.

IIoT is the industrial and manufacturing version of IoT, connecting smart sensors and computers across the supply chain. Innovative companies are implementing IIoT by leveraging intelligent, connected devices in their factories to improve connectivity, efficiency, scalability, time savings and cost savings.

Kanban: A Japanese term for signal. It is used by the Toyota Production System (and Danaher Business System) as a means of communication the need for products or services. Often times work items are represented visually on a Kanban board with Kanban “cards” to track and manage workflows. As work is completed, team members move the cards to accurately depict its state (i.e., “to do,” “in progress,” “complete”). The board allows team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time and can signal for more work as needed.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): A KPI is a measure of value organizations use to determine whether important business objectives are being met. For example, a CPG brand organization might set a KPI for total time-to-market, which measures the length of time from product ideation to product placement on the store shelf. (Did you know Esko technology can help you improve your KPIs? Ask us how!)

Label and Artwork Management: A unified approach to manage marketing, product, regulatory and regional complexities that impact the labeling and artwork on a product package – from traditional packaging found in the store to online packaging information and assets. Label and artwork management software aids in the creation of packaging design by enabling online label and artwork reviews, streamlining label and artwork file approvals and creating an easy system for file retrieval and sharing.

Lean: Lean is a manufacturing methodology based on maximizing value and minimizing waste in the manufacturing process. It evolves from the Toyota Production System (TPS) in Japan. Lean can be used to continuously improve any process through the elimination of “muda” or waste. Typically, there are eight common wastes found in businesses: Overproduction, waiting or idle time, transportation, over-processing, inventory, motion, quality defects, and unused creativity.

For example, is there unnecessary movement of information between processes? Too many emails? Are people waiting for packaging approvals for days at a time? If yes, you’ve got muda!

Lean methodology identifies and removes these types of waste, ultimately reducing costs and improving KPIs (cue happy shareholders everywhere).

Fun fact: Esko is a Danaher company, rooted in Lean business practices, so we love removing “muda” from both our processes and yours!

Omnichannel Marketing: Providing a seamless marketing experience to the consumer, regardless of channel or device. For example, consumers can engage with a product in a physical store, on an online website or through a catalog. To achieve customer loyalty, brands need to ensure each piece of the consumer’s omnichannel experience is consistent. Considering that product packaging is often the consumer’s FMOT, it is important to keep it consistent across purchasing channels to enhance the consumer experience.

Packaging Content Management: Packaging Content Management is a platform for creating, translating, approving and managing all text/copy assets for your product packaging. This makes it easy to locate your copy, re-use it across projects, and follow a workflow for approvals

Packaging Management: Packaging production has never been more complex. From logos and brand colors to ingredient lists and dosage guidelines, the packaging can be more vital than the product itself. As a result, packaging management is often a key function for organizations across industries.

Packaging management typically involves a team of cross-departmental stakeholders and a suite of hardware and software tools to ensure packaging communicates marketing information, guides the consumer in usage and handling, enables easy product transport and display, and in this day and age – also protects the environment through sustainable materials and business practices.

Packaging Specs: A packaging spec is a set of instructions on how to build a package to protect the product, ensure its transportability and storability, and transmit information. For example, in the food industry, there is a wealth of materials available for packaging. A packaging spec will define which material is to be used for the packaging (i.e., glass, metals, plastic, etc.)

Packaging Value Chain: All of the elements that comprise the total cost of packaging, such as brand owners, printers, converters, equipment suppliers, processors, packagers, retail channels, consumers and even the final disposition of the expended package. In the packaging value chain, both the brand owners and manufacturers want to achieve balance between productivity and innovation, which means improving access to and management of information and cooperation with each player in the chain.

Pre-media: The term that is used in the design, creative and publishing industries for the processes and procedures that occur between the conception of original artwork and the manufacturing of the final product. Pre-media should ideally provide a user with the ability to perform design execution all the way to ready-to-publish files, delivered on his or her platform of choice and ensuring the client’s requirements are met.

Printers and Converters: Printers are companies that print package labels and signage; converters are companies that combine raw materials such as felt, silicone, foam, rubber, metals, and adhesives to create new packaging.

Print Quality Management (PQM): A system that defines, manages and reports on the quality of print on packages to ensure a brand’s printed images are accurate, consistent from one package or package medium to the next, and of superior quality.

Project Management: Given the complexity of projects underway today in any organization – from technical… to personnel… to product… to finance, project management has become a critical function.

Project management is the practice of breaking down a team project into essential activities such as: project justification, project planning and development, team motivation and accountability, and project delivery and evaluation. Project managers typically create Project Management Plans (PMPs) and are the stewards of project schedules and project quality control.

Product Lifecycle Management: Almost every manufactured product has a limited life, and during this life, it will pass through four product lifecycle stages: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline. Product lifecycle management is the application of different strategies to help meet the challenges in these different stages and ensure that no matter a product’s stage of the cycle, both the brand owner and manufacturer can maximize sales and profits.

Project Scope: Project scope is a key part of a project plan. The scope defines and documents a list of specific project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs, and deadlines. This documentation helps the project team remain focused and on task.

Scrum: Software development teams employ the Scrum framework to satisfy customers by continuously delivering valuable software on time. Popular in part due to its team approach to project management, Scrum is based on four pillars: continuous improvement, project scope flexibility, team input, and product quality. Though Scrum can be used for any complex project, it works particularly well for complex product development and production (i.e., software and solutions for packaging management.)

The Digital Maturity Model for Brand Packaging: A roadmap for digital transformation through appropriate packaging processes and technology. Created by Danaher’s Product Identification Platform (and authored by Esko VP of Marketing, Danielle Sauve), the model includes five levels of maturity:

Reactive: Manual, offline tasks and processes are triggered by external pressures.

Organized: Tasks are triggered for established stakeholders by defined processes, timelines and physical quality measures using basic computerized tools.

Digitized: Projects, tasks, and processes are increasingly completed and measured digitally using configured hardware and software.

Connected: Packaging software and hardware is continuously integrated with other business processes and systems of record.

Intelligent: An integrated ecosystem of full product information and imagery automatically improves and synchronizes across internal and external interfaces.

Validation: Validation means to verify the accuracy of something. In packaging, validation is a process. It involves identifying and processing variables that affect the ability of a packaged device to meet its acceptance requirements. If you do not have a validation process in place for your Pharma and Life Science packaging, you probably aren’t compliant with GMP.

Value Stream Mapping: A Lean (and DBS) process, Value Stream Mapping is a tool that helps visualize the steps from product conception to creation to delivery. By mapping out the current state and its process, companies can identify and remove waste, thus improving the efficiency of the value stream.

Virtual Reality (VR): A computer-generated simulation of 3D images and/or environments. People can interact with virtual reality—which often feels close to real life—by using devices such as helmets, gloves, and sensors.

In packaging design, VR allows a user to interact with the package in a simulated environment (i.e., a grocery store) and adjust the design based on the consumer experience. It increases design productivity and eliminates the cost of building a physical prototype.

Workflow Software: A workflow is a series of tasks that need to be carried out in a certain order by different employees in order to complete a business process, and workflow software is a tool that automates a workflow.

A common use of workflow software in packaging management is the routing and tracking of packaging file approvals. The workflow alerts a user of a task that needs to be completed, once the user completes the task, the workflow automatically alerts the next person in the queue that he or she can begin the next task.

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