Innovation and economic constraints: a far from perfect world!
Innovative Packaging has always been important for our Industry, but the economics of the 21st century have applied a huge incremental pressure on brands to be the 1st to Market with their new concepts. So what makes that a difficult achievement is that Innovative Packaging is always long in the making: It takes time to jump from a concept to a validated system that actually works, it means a solid Marketing, scientific and economical product. Overview with Marc-André Houx, President, Shya Hsin Packaging North America.
MakeUp in : Innovation is primarily expressed in constraints?
Marc-André Houx: Yes, thats true! I can see six main economic constraints:
Economics constraint n°1: To succeed in innovations, it requires capital, time and planning on the part of the Leading suppliers and Brands.
Economics constraint n°2: Another large factor of these current times is the ever increasing costs pressures equally strong on all suppliers. The reward for these leading suppliers who manage to answer these pressures and yet balance their budgets of Research & Development versus Resources is that Performance in Innovative Packaging is now coming well ahead as a top Partnership factor for Brands to select their suppliers of the future. Top awards of business are now going to top innovator suppliers first.
Economics constraint 3: Another factor is that the actual leaders of Packaging Innovations on the Suppliers side are now all selling globally: to truly launch an innovation that is to become an economical success story, it now has to work globally. Therefore part of the Market studies and testing on consumer panels is ensuring that a world representation is included in the panel of testers. These market tests are expensive, and are often carried out in actual multiple options of the Innovation that needs to be validated.
Economics constraint 4: increasing quantities of Innovations to develop: Internet communication propagates in a number of days news of an innovative product in all the World Meccas of consumption. So what is innovative today will not be seen as such as long as it would have been a few decades ago. Consequence is that the amount of projects requiring innovative Packaging is constantly increasing to help Brands sustain their level of market shares and aspire to growth. Brands helped by their lead suppliers have to monitor global trends, and anticipate them.
Economics constraint n°5: Cash needs to be generated to ensure the financing of the creative cycle: To be new and unique, Innovative Packaging have to give a Brand a true edge over its competitors, giving them Time and Resources to finance the next ones before competition catches up again That time gap has to be at a minimum of 3 years, which seems to be a typical very minimum cycle for what is needed to put to Market such an Invention, from concept to re purchase. Patents are giving a longer theoretical protection, but Competing Brands are often able to alternatively build a same effect or service to consumer within that shorter time frame without infringing on innovation. New packaging will be slightly different but the end result will be the same.
Economics constraint n°6: The evolving legislation of Formulas around the World that requires constant monitoring and Packaging adaptation from both Brands and Suppliers. The highest leverage for a Brand is to put a new formula to Market formula I would define as the hard core promise and combine it with an adapted, unique packaging or applicator device to optimize its delivery. I define delivery by the mean to an impeccable restitution of the new formula from the 1st application to the last out of each container, in the exact way it was intended to be at labs or consumer panels levels. When it happens, Customers satisfaction excitement is very high and they are likely to re purchase at a premium the product. This product superiority commands a premium providing to brands the additional resources to fund their next 5 year cycle of Innovations: intensive capital in dedicated teams, prototype tools, lab works, market testing, Intellectual property spending and more So Innovative packaging strongly contributes to fuel that virtuous cycle of growth for Brands.
MakeUp in : In conclusion, these 6 above economics constraints have largely increased the cost of innovation for both suppliers and brands but in return also greatly leveraged the benefits of these efforts: Rewards are fast growing market shares for companies able to deliver the Innovative Products in a regular and accelerating virtuous cycle. Some words about Shya Hsin contributions to establishing this perfect world?
Marc-André Houx: Yes and for these winners, success in Innovation makes it a Perfect world! Shya Hsin contributes greatly to relieve the burden of the capital expenditure of Brands into new tools because it is our Culture to develop them in house, they are guaranteed for life, and they are priced extremely competitively. In addition to this, our piece prices are reached through a high level of automation, which gives superior competitiveness, flexibility and a quality insurance advantage.
All above competitive advantages of Shya Hsin are very favourable factors towards the economic constraints # 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. To explain on why it helps on #6, we observe that new formulation requires new materials for compatibility reasons, it means new tools, so being able to develop rapidly and affordably new tools change the perception the Brands have towards the customization of their goals.
Shya Hsin is a unique World class manufacturer that combines in house, a very high expertise level in mould design and applicators concepts. All is done in a very restricted, fast developing, competitive and confidential environment. Recently, Shya Hsin has put to Market unique new lip-gloss, mascara, lipstick, pen applicators at both class mass and select market global brands. Shya Hsin has also has been very early in the game active in developing dual containers packaging, responding to a convenience of use or requirement for mixing formulas for effect on the body.
Shya Hsin has also developed over moulding technique of plastic over metal or other alloys in such an automated , fast , precise and efficient way: it allows brands today to develop packaging that are still considered as very high end packaging at competition (packagers)
One last trend Shya Hsin is working on is the customization of an application technique in order to allow the end consumer to optimize the formulas effects to their choosing or body features configuration. Many Make up innovations are being developed at Shya Hsin under this principle at present time.
And for innovative packaging to successfully hit the Market, Shya Hsin has developed fully automated production processes, yielding 2 key drivers:
– A world class level of Quality control repetitiveness
-A higher competitive level allows new technologies at a now reachable price. For example, new decorative technologies such as the alliance of metalizing and silkscreen techniques allow very innovative Packaging rendering but in house automatic processes allow competitiveness, as opposed to sub-contracting.
MakeUp in : Could you give us some concrete examples of innovative products that you realized?
Marc-André Houx: Some recent key areas last 12 months have been: new eyeliners, magnetic closure lipsticks, automatic pop-up opening for lipsticks, compact lines with superior metalizing and silk screen decoration techniques, full metal mascara for the Japanese market, bi injected crystal clear lipsticks , dual cartridges dispensers in Make-up, flow through sponge applicators, Controllable variable mascara brushes applicators.
Description for each above new eyeliners, magnetic closure lipsticks: cost control and precise automatic alignment of magnets in the container allow complex geometric shapes perfect shut and align caps to bases. Automatic pop-up opening for lipsticks: spring loaded features allowing smooth and qualitative automatic raise of the bullet case. Compact lines with superior metalizing and silk screen decoration techniques: highly metalized lacquering techniques without the finger mark printing and with complex holographic decoration designs. Full metal mascara for the Japanese market: a proprietary bi injected wiper / neck construction allied to a metal container yield sleek designs and higher weigh loss performance and total compatibility with new formulas. Manufacturing process improved to yield such a mascara to be competitive to Market. Bi injected crystal clear lipsticks: superior bi- injection tool technology at high cavitation moulds, for effect and cost controls. Show through shade colours with a luxury appeal. Dual cartridges dispensers in Make-up: in combination with dual applicators, with inter-changeability of the applicators for a large flexibility of combination choices to Brands. Flow through sponge applicators: allows a soft and clean dispensing of make-up formulas foundation with one hand to the face. Shya Hsin developed a proprietary mould process for the applicator. Controllable variable mascara brushes applicators: using an intuitive cap adjustable wheel, consumers will be able to design the brush that works best for their lashes configuration or the time of the day. Manually operated, it gives full control adjustment to users. Challenge was to design an operational robust manufacturing at cost control for the applicator.