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Thinking Loudly: Unlocking Modern Value Ecosystems

With the first 90 days now squarely in the rearview mirror, it is a moment to reflect on the start of my Winpak journey. First off, it is indeed a privilege to be part of an organization and leading teams so dedicated to delivering real, tangible next-level value to our clients. Winpak has an incredible heritage leading the markets we choose to serve with strong foundational technologies and sharp entrepreneurial spirit.  This creates a wonderful formula for stimulating conversations, ideation, and innovation-driven growth. It is also a catalyst for creating value layers and earning our right to share in that value.

The challenge is that the sands are shifting and the race to the next rung of true value is on. Historically, many clients toggle between cost and experience as perceived value points. Some demand the lowest component cost while others understand the quantified value proposition delivered by a strong market leader in terms of services, support, R&D, quality and reliability. Higher tech materials and machines meant pathways to driving per piece costs down within an overall solution. The world has now become much more connected, digitized, and socially oriented. Harnessing this is the new gateway for the modern value ecosystem with sustainability at its heart and technology at its core. This new platform of value opportunity leverages the interconnectedness of Industry 4.0 with the overlay of emerging superintelligence-driven technology plus measurable sustainable business practices across key areas of innovation, automation, digital, and our precious human capital.

Today, sustainability pledges and mission statements are ubiquitous. Every organization seems to have a net-zero pledge or a decarbonization plan, a post-consumer recycled content commitment, or a focus on eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. You get the point. It can be challenging to decipher fact from fiction (or aspiration to put it more mildly). That said, it is pay-to-play and organizations are compelled to be “in”. Public appeal is broad with 70% of consumers believing it’s important for brands to take a public stand on social and political issues. And 66% of consumers who want brands to take a stand on social issues say it’s because they believe brands can create real change [1]. Taking this a step further, customers in 2023 are increasingly looking for businesses that demonstrate social responsibility. A survey by Cone Communications found that 87% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a company that advocates for an issue they care about. Furthermore, 70% of consumers say that they will spend more money with a company that demonstrates social responsibility [2]. In fact, to highlight this sheer scale and blend genres a bit here, Coldplay just published its first sustainability report for its “Music of the Spheres” world tour which has been validated by MIT Professor John E. Fernandez of Environmental Solutions [3]. Their goal was a 50% reduction in direct carbon emissions vs their 2016-17 tour on a show-by-show basis. Consider there is no corporate nor political need for a band to commit to this energy and resource reduction, but the social orientation of its audience (read: consumer) provides a platform to demonstrate forward-thinking leadership in this space. We are talking about a brand after all, and trailblazing brands tend to be rewarded when the compelling examples go viral. Think about it, it’s seldom the price that gets the attention but the experience of brand interaction, the unboxing experience, the “wow factor”, the “did you know?” and “have you ever seen this?” elements and pure joy of discovering something exceptional enough to be shared. Or the disappointment of being let down or misled.

These days, however, the world is measuring.  Headlines are lit up with industry-leading companies overrunning their headlights on their “progress”.  Science Based Targets (SBTi) is the new traffic cop reigning in reality over pure ambition. SBTi demands more stringent accountability of firms which choose to sign up. And, signing up is the first real stake in the ground – a true “put your money where your mouth is” moment. This pledge to oversight means things get very real, very quickly. It requires results-oriented action with no buyout clause. This market separation point presents an opportunity feeding into the modern value ecosystem which by design should help organizations set, commit, track, and deliver against goals. Society wins, companies rewarded, and their partners delivering this new value architecture create unparalleled stickiness within their client bases.

This is the power of the new bundle. Innovation both in solutions and business models.  Intelligent designs thoughtfully engineered creating new value layers working within hyper-efficient systems of manufacturing and delivery with real-time data loops in the circular economy. Automation then augmenting our available workforce freeing up human capital to be reinvested in with new training and skills as our greatest asset and a powerful source of ideation, inspiration, and commitment. All this working in concert to remove waste in all forms from the network protecting both brands and consumers with verifiable product authenticity, security, and chain of custody, eliminating food waste, cracking the reverse logistics issue, simplifying commerce, all while actively defending our longevity on this delicate blue & green orb we call home.

Winpak is at the forefront in this journey. We are exploring innovative technologies such as product digitization (e.g. Digimarc) and barrier spouts. We are commercializing circular economy solutions combined with revolutionary processes like FlexPod™ and SqueezePod™, our line of recycle ready films and pouches, MAPfresh trays and films for case ready proteins, and In-Mold Label containers. These investments uniquely harness the power of the modern value ecosystem. They put our full capabilities on display and enable our clients to achieve their internal and external goals and get there faster, delighting their customers while delivering on their mission statements.

The excitement of designing highly functional materials running through automated networks driven by data within circular, self-contained systems as efficiently as possible is palpable and infectious.  It keeps me energized and keeps me going.  It becomes an obsession – that “what if?” that consumes the subconscious seemingly living rent free in the middle of my brain. Technology and data are advancing at phenomenal rates creating wonderful opportunities within the web of this new value ecosystem. This is the intersection where true solutions are powered by digital and automation and driven by commitments to our planet, society, and future generations.  Package this all together and you can truly unlock the power of the modern value ecosystem.

We are embracing this journey as OneWinpak.  Afterall, It’s Our Nature to Protect.  And, it’s in our DNA to Win.

[1] Forbes, December 2021, How Social Values Drive Consumers to Brands
[2] Customer Thing, April 7, 2023, 2023 Changes in Customer Demand
[3] Hypebeast, June 6, 2023, Coldplay Shares Results of Sustainability Initiatives From “Music Of The Spheres” World Tour
Ryan Roberts
Ryan Roberts
President – Winpak Portion Packaging & Equipment Solutions
Sauk Village, IL United States

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