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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Context is King

The smart element of smart packaging should not be limited to some novel connectivity/digital implementation. Rather, smart packaging should refer to the end-user’s perception. To be truly smart, context is king. Without knowledge of how a product is going to be used, it is difficult – if not impossible – to inject ‘smart’ into the experience.

However, to make such interactions smart does not require the embedding of expensive technology within each and every package. What it does require is a clear understanding of all potential users – and the expertise to translate this insight into product and packaging solutions that align completely with users’ needs. A good example of this is the humble ketchup bottle, which has undergone a transformation in recent years. Consumers no longer have to struggle to extract the contents from a rigid glass bottle – the introduction of an ‘upside-down’ squeezable bottle was a smart packaging idea.

As well as being developed in an environment that takes into account all stakeholder needs, for a packaging solution to be truly smart, the approach cannot be ‘blinkered’ and focused on a single role it must perform. This challenge is not unique to pharmaceutical packaging – it is common across all sectors. A wonderful  example of smart packaging is the VanMoof bicycle box. This company had significant shipping damage costs – more than 25% of its mail-order bikes were arriving damaged. It needed an efficient smart packaging solution. The company considered adding complex electronic impact logging equipment to better understand where the shipments were being damaged. However, even these kits require the end-user to upload the data – not an easy ask for its customers.

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Tom Lawrie-Fussey is a digital services specialist at technology and product design firm Cambridge Design Partnership. He is a Chartered Engineer with a master’s degree and has more than 15 years’ product development experience. Tom works across multiple industry sectors, primarily focused on drug delivery, consumer health, and FMCG clients, where he drives various digital initiatives to help guide clients along their own digital roadmap. He specialises in digital implementation, linking device development with communications and data analytics platforms. Tom provides a technology-agnostic, pragmatic approach that is humancentred – unlocking benefits for all stakeholders and, ultimately, generating new revenue streams.
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Tom Lawrie-Fussey
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