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Recently, we had the good fortune to connect with our client MWV for a quick telephone chat on the ins and outs of what's going on with the firm. MWV has recently opened a new facility in Germany, released a slew of new products offering top shelf security measures, and in general, has continued to demonstrate why the firm is a market leader in the packaging space. We spoke to Hung Le, Vice President, Global Innovation Engagement and Stacy Buchannan, Strategic Marketing Director and learned quite a bit about MWVs latest goings on.
First and foremost, MWV has created a Manufacturing Center of Excellence, in Hemer, Germany. To build on the company's commitment to developing medication packaging that meets both patient and customer needs, including child-resistant packaging, the centre now serves as the core of the firm's global pharmaceutical dispensing system manufacturing network and will support the launch of a new child-resistant nasal pump. We were curious as to why they would build the centre in Germany, as surely MWV could cut costs if they set up the facilities abroad, perhaps further east. According to Stacy, this was never an issue:
It's not only about cost. We have a long history of excellence with our facility and team in Germany. We have invested in both the team and facility over the years, and this expansion was anticipated because of growing market demand. We wanted to keep our skilled team in place, and best serve people within our organization as well as our customers.
The core value MWV wishes to cultivate at the newly inaugurated Center of Excellence, then, is precisely what its name states - excellence. By updating the facility and investing in existing staff, MWV ensures contemporary continuity and invests in its future.
Apart from the new facility and its people, MWV also seems to be investing in its future using the most powerful tool available to business today - information.
According to Stacy:
We study packaging because it matters to brand owners, retailers and consumers around the world. Packaging impacts shopping behavior, influences product satisfaction and motivates consumers in global markets in different ways. Using this data, brands can better understand consumers’ relationship with packaging, leading to improvements that increase product satisfaction to help drive trial and repeat purchase. We use this research in our Healthcare business, as well as across the company.
Hence, the data collected became a central focal point for the firm and on what products it focuses. Now in its second iteration with a third due out in 2015, Packaging Matters, MWV's consumer research on the role of packaging in product satisfaction, has expanded to 10 global markets, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A. Using freely shared Packaging Matters data, brand owners and retailers can better understand consumer relationships with packaging, leading to improvements that will increase product satisfaction to help drive trial and repeat purchases.
The clear and indicative information provided by the study became a compass for MWV's designers and engineers. During the interview, Hung used a phrase that really struck a chord and set the tone for the rest of the conversation. The simple fact is this:
The last thing customers use prior to actually using the product is our product. MWV differentiates itself by understanding consumer needs and ensuring the packaging meets or surpasses their expectations.
This is the key concept that packaging manufacturers and the companies that exploit their services need to understand. A consumer doesn't take any notice whatsoever of a common product's packaging unless it fails. A positive packaging experience puts the onus on the product to draw a repeat purchase. A negative packaging experience virtually assures a lack of repeat business. It is critical for packaging firms to offer flawless use. Once this has been established, considerations such as the packaging's attractiveness, how appropriate it is to a product, decoration, and other details can be addressed. Functionality rules the roost.
Hung also commented that the development of packaging for pharmaceutical products carries its own challenges, for companies creating the products as well as the packaging suppliers.
Our CR nasal dispenser was born during my stay at the firm prior to taking on my current role. Developments in health-oriented products aren't a short term thing, they take years of development, a minimum of four, but often more. At MWV, we not only keep strict controls over what we do, we offer our know how to customers when it comes to developing the correct product for their needs. We actively keep an eye on regulation changes in the market, which is necessary as there are so many on their way. We cooperate with a vast number of testing facilities and that constant contact ensures we know what's going on in the space. We have the ability to move on that information quickly, we're experts on the space.
So once again, it all comes back to information - being aware of what's going on and having the wherewithal to follow through on it. Hung considers himself fortunate to be able to be there from a product's initial deal and design phase all the way to through its launch, being a part of the process as well as helping the client get what's required.
Consequently, it's clear that the company with the product isn't really the final arbiter of whether its product's packaging is a success or not. That privilege belongs to the consumer using the product at home or the healthcare professional using the product while doing his/her job. Packaging, for MWV, is the beginning of the consumer's experience with the brand. If that relationship is tainted or outright ruined before the consumer even gets to using the actual product, the value of the brand and all the work that went into creating the product mean nothing. As such, MWV's packaging is a product's first and last line of defence.