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INNOVATION THROUGH CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

INNOVATION THROUGH CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
        

AUTHOR: SETH HICKS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WESTPAK

Seth is the Managing Director of Westpak Group Ltd. You'll find regular updates from Seth including his thoughts on the latest industry developments on the Westpak news feed as well as via our monthly email newsletters and social media channels.

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At Westpak, innovation remains one of the core guiding values of the business, influencing all aspects of our operations and product ranges. Large, milestone product innovations are clear to see, but innovation also runs through our wider product range through a process of continuous refinement and enhancement. The stimulus for these improvements can be guided from various sources, from feedback from end-users and consumers, through to market trends and continuous drives for efficiency and cost-savings for our customers. 


 

LISTENING TO CONSUMERS 

It's vital for us to pay very close attention to feedback from end-users and consumers. This may not necessarily be directly related to our specific products but still provide an insight into the perception of conventional product formats across the industry. For example, we were keen to provide a refined solution to the feedback on the industry’s largely standardised design of fruit picking buckets. These items were commonly cited as having sharp, metal handles that were entirely unsuitable for children, as well as offering very limited branding options for fruit farms. Many of the conventional products on the market also often failed to stand up to the weather of the British summer, failed to be produced to adequate food safety standards and regularly failed to be fully recyclable. We were keen to launch a superior alternative and developed our own 'pick-your-own bucket'. Manufactured from Polypropylene (PP), our buckets are child friendly, recyclable and offer a range of branding possibilities for our clients. This level of improvement aims to re-align industry standards with benefits for both clients and consumers alike. 


 

DRIVING EFFICIENCY 

The E-Tape we supply for packaging on farmland offered a great opportunity to present a simple product alteration that would drive efficiency for our clients. By introducing a 24mm wide tape on 150m rolls, we were able to offer a product with 2.27 times more tape than the standard 66m version whilst taking up no more space. For our clients, this small change offered considerable benefits, saving hours of roll change-over time and 7 pallet spaces.  


 

ASSESSING MATERIALS 

 
Dispatch and transit packaging is an essential part of our product range and pallet-wrap is one of the core products in this area. By assessing the materials we were utilising and their unique characterises, we decided to introduce a new pallet wrap that boasted greatly enhanced characteristics. ‘Tenserwrap’ is manufactured from 5 layers of film resulting in a product that performs equally to a film that would typically be 50% thicker, saving both plastic and reducing costs.  
 
As an additional example, we also assessed our range of coffee cups supplied to number of key clients in the food service industry. Industry studies found that the majority of disposable coffee cups are not being processed correctly for recycling at their end-of-life stage. This was often due to the varying materials used and the different recycling characterises attached to each. We decided to enhance our product offering through simplification, providing a 100% recyclable coffee cup that would eradicate the need for complex processing and drive sustainability.  


 

FOCUSSING ON SUSTAINABILITY 

 
By remaining focussed on sustainability, we have also introduce a range of innovative enhancements. For example, we were delighted to successfully bring to market paper sleeves for use on herbs, plants and flowers that replaced conventional plastic-based designs. This was instrumental in helping a number of our clients work more closely aligned to their sustainability goals.   
 
These are just examples of some of small areas of innovation through continuous improvements across our product range. For more information on how our latest packaging innovations can benefit your business contact our team today on 01322 284455 or by emailing info@westpakuk.com.