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Experts' corner

Innovation at the heart of Smurfit Kappa

  • Arco Berkenbosch
  • Vice President Innovation and Development, Smurfit Kappa

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in London, and I can truly say I’ve never been more excited about the opportunities for our business.

As I listened and chatted with peers in the industry it struck me that innovation isn’t a trend here today and gone tomorrow. Like many companies at the Summit, innovation has been embedded into Smurfit Kappa’s culture and ways of working since the business was founded over 80 years ago.

We have 5 key principles which has seen us become a leader in the packaging industry. From fostering an open culture to not being afraid to experiment or try new things. This is coupled with managing supply chain complexity and having a collective and decentralised attitude to delivering innovation as close to our customers as possible.

It is in fact our customers which are the driving force behind the success of our business and our overall innovation approach. We involve them from the very start to create solutions that will drive real results.

With a deep-seated understanding of our customers’ needs we use customer-led-insights and the latest technologies to create innovative packaging solutions. Our never-tried-before designs are aimed at making consumers lives easier whilst delivering real customer growth.

It is this combination of innovation and customer insight that led us to find that many brands are not making the most of an important piece of the marketing mix. Our data and research reveals that up to 82% of purchasing decisions are made by consumers in store. This is proof of the enormous commercial opportunities at the point of purchase and the need for brands to stand out on the shelf.

Using this finding we developed a unique and game-changing service - ShelfSmart - which has revolutionised the impact of shelf ready packaging as a shopper marketing tool and seen a positive impact on our customers’ sales.

Our most recent customer analysis for Accolade Wines - a leading provider of New World premium, commercial and value wines - showed for example that ShelfSmart led to a 13% increase in sales. This was coupled with a 38% increase in product visibility, 22% increase in recognition and a 10% uplift in likeability.

ShelfSmart is just one example of how we are working in partnership with our customers to create innovative solutions that drive commercial and measurable success. For Smurfit Kappa the customer really is at the heart of everything we do.