What Did You Consume Today?

By Tim

Have you ever stopped to count the number of store-bought packages you open in a day; in a week; or even a full year? Think about everything you consume and the list of products will get pretty long, pretty quick:

  • Drink bottles
  • Food containers
  • Snack bags
  • Boxes of cereal
  • Toys
  • Toothpaste
  • Electronics
  • Candy
  • Medicine
  • . . . and the list goes on and on.

These products and more are part of the multi-trillion dollar Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry which includes food and beverages, tobacco, cleaning products, as well as hygiene and beauty products. The packaging for these product have to be designed strong enough to make it from the factory to your home without being damaged – yet provide a pleasant, convenient experience that makes you rush back to the store and buy more week after week.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how product manufacturing companies came up with the package that you’re ripping into? Too often, opening a package is hard and clumsy, and it makes you go ‘grrrr’. I am sure we can all relate to some of the videos and photos at the “Wrap Rage” gallery at Amazon.com.

In the past few years, many CPG companies have been putting significant effort into developing extremely innovative and easy-to-open packages. Some of the development is being driven by environmental concern, but many advancements are being driven by the need to improve the safety and ease-of-opening for an aging consumer population. The Swedish Rheumatism Association has recently commended Scan AB for several of its different easy-to-open food packs. One of these packs is the Amcor Push Pop, an innovative new packaging design, which Scan has used for their delicatessen meatballs called Delikatesskottbullar.

You’d be amazed at the level of sophisticated research, engineering, design, and manufacturing that goes into the design of product packaging, let alone the actual product inside. Things we take for granted are thoroughly researched. When it comes to product packaging, designers and engineers have to determine if the package can be manufactured. They seek answers to a wide range of questions, like:

  • Can it survive the manufacturing process?
  • Will the container break or leak during transportation?
  • Will it be easy to open yet reseal effectively?

Silgan Containers recently announced that they are using Abaqus FEA software to predict “real-life” performance of its cans with a high degree of accuracy before a single container is manufactured. Alvin Widitora, director of new product development, Silgan Containers explains,

We have validated our modeling and simulation process up to a 97% level of accuracy that the actual container will perform as predicted. That means that we can take a lot of the guesswork out before we get to the tooling stage.

Check out the complete Silgan press release here.

It’s pretty amazing that CPG companies are using the same realistic simulation technology that is used to evaluate the performance of airplanes, cars, nuclear power plants, and medical devices. And their simulations are very sophisticated and include; virtual drop testing, top loading analysis, manufacturing line simulation, squeezing pressure, fluid-structure interaction, as well as adhesive and forming simulations.

It’s not surprising that with so many simulations being performed, that consumer packaged goods companies are looking for ways to capture their valuable simulation processes and data. A couple of weeks ago, SIMULIA announced that Proctor & Gamble had selected their simulation lifecycle management solution. According to Tom Lange, Director, Corporate R&D Modeling and Simulation, Procter & Gamble,

SIMULIA SLM will help our global teams accelerate innovation by providing access to simulation tools, validated processes and corporate knowledge bases throughout the product lifecycle.

You can read the SIMULIA press release on P&G here:

So, when you’re opening your next hundred packages or enjoying some conveniently packed Swedish meatballs, I hope you’ll have a little better appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes to get those convenient products into your hands.

Best,

Tim

PLM as the Enterprise Backbone Part 3: Working Smart with the Supply Chain

By Brian

Hi, last time you heard from me I blogged about the link between Product Portfolio and Program Management and PLM as the enterprise backbone. Today I’d like to focus on another “vertebrae,” issues tied to the supply chain. There are two points I’d like to present:

1. PLM establishes supplier leverage and gives visibility to all part volumes by supplier.

When integrated to the product development system, direct materials sourcing and extended enterprise collaboration enhances a manufacturer’s negotiation leverage for new and existing supplier contracts, and helps resolve supplier and partner performance and design issues. Sourcing, commodity and acquisition integration programs can be globally managed to the latest product attributes and designs. Spend can be more effectively aggregated to the preferred suppliers, optimizing volume pricing, reducing both parts proliferation and material and service costs. By identifying sourced components based on part-reuse and product and manufacturing platform alignment, manufacturers can reduce inventory levels and respond with greater agility to shifts in demand. It streamlines the process of identifying alternate or functionally equivalent parts when standard parts are not available.

There are other benefits such as standardization, allowing every participant in the quoting process (the manufacturer, customer, suppliers and partners) to manage the same version of the product definition, including revisions and program changes. PLM also facilitates cost analysis and supplier negotiations.

Negotiations with preferred suppliers go beyond obtaining best prices and favorable terms. When run on a PLM backbone these otherwise standardized processes become avenues for harnessing supplier innovation and design alternatives, allowing manufacturers to address market needs quickly and efficiently. Suppliers become true partners by not just providing components and services, but by also proposing new technologies and solutions to meet market requirements.

2. You can employ PLM to manage a global dispersed set of engineering centers and partners.

Oftentimes corporations not only have globally dispersed engineering, research and development centers, but equally dispersed partners, alliances and supply-chains. Maintaining a single system of record in a PLM architecture provides the means for a company to maintain visibility, flexibility and real-time 24/7 management of its global strategies and business development initiatives.

Supplier Collaboration on a Global Network

Supplier Collaboration on a Global Network

Establishing PLM as a key enterprise backbone sets competitive capabilities for new product programs by assuring the alignment of engineering to established platform and sourcing strategies. The cost and quality advantages of reusing existing and standard parts, coupled with the ability to negotiate new program costs, based on a manufacturer’s total purchasing volume with a supplier, increases the ability to control cost, quality and timing requirements of the new product programs. These sourcing and supplier collaboration competencies are critical for companies to establish and maintain performance improvements capabilities. This helps companies to apply their engineering resources more uniquely on resolving market requirements and revenue opportunities, and less time on resolving design and quality issues with their suppliers.

So leveraged these ways, PLM gives visibility to a company’s total spend exposure by supplier, and identifies the preferred parts by supplier, as well as enhances the ability to collaborate and resolve design issues in key areas of new technologies.

In my next article in this PLM as the Enterprise Backbone series, I will address the ability of PLM to mitigate the risks of regulatory compliance and environmental challenges.

Best,

Brian

Driving for Green: Do You Have Range Anxiety?

By Jonathan

Range anxiety: I love this term! Unfortunately for me I can’t take any credit…so I have to congratulate General Motors for making it up and the Automotive Engineer magazine for a great description…

Range anxiety refers to the sensible reservations on the practicality of battery powered vehicles, i.e. will it get me to where I’m going and will I be able to get home?

And to my second question from the mini poll:

Would you be willing to drive cleaner cars that have a max driving range of 80 km?

A whole 55% of you have range anxiety and would want your eco car to travel more than 80km (OK I’ll stretch to 100km) before filling up or charging up.

Let’s go back to General Motors and have a look at why they believe the Chevrolet Volt has to be able to travel 40 miles (60km) before the range extending gasoline engine fires up to recharge the batteries. Well GM simply took the information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics on “how many miles one-way do you travel from home to work on a typical day?” and multiplied it by 2 to get the round trip back home. Thus finding that 78% of Americans commute 40 miles or less daily – and I’m guessing that the same percentage of Europeans and Asians would commute shorter distances.

Maybe I should have included a comments box with this question. I’m very curious to find out why 112 people out of 203 want their car to be able to drive long distances all the time.

Let me ask another question: If you could easily hire a long range car would you settle for a short range one for all other commutes?

But maybe I’m slipping into the mini poll’s question 3…

Sustainably yours,

Jonathan

P.S.  In case you missed the poll and Q1 analysis, here are the articles: Driving for Green: a mini poll & Driving for Green: Poll answers for Q1



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