Rob Daly, President of Zumbiel Packaging, kicked off the Forum with a discussion of "open innovation," or the utilization of ideas and innovations by other companies or individuals. He noted that collaborating on projects with experts at universities, research labs, and medical centers brings relevance to what your company does and recommended that a company buy or license patents from other firms rather than devote time and resources to costly in-house research and development. Likewise, he recommended that a company license or patent their own proprietary material for others to utilize.
John Rebecchi, Senior Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development at DISC,
Underscored the importance of using technology to facilitate collaboration. For instance, he recommended sending customers a video of how a package should be set up for filling, rather than trying to explain how it should be set up in text, diagrams, or in person.
Mark Barton, General Manager of Manufacturing at Zumbiel Packaging, then highlighted the importance of collaboration between design and production teams, explaining that designers must understand both the breadth of capabilities and the limitations of their company's equipment. "I believe that collaboration not only effects change but also serves to spark creativity and build teams," noted Barton. "When we act alone, we are limited by our own weaknesses."
For companies lacking digital printing capabilities, he advised outsourcing prototypes to local printing shops when under strict deadlines. Additionally, he suggested that design teams take advantage of all available resources, such as using the design codes in PPC's Ideas and Innovation handbook to organize structural design options or using equipment suppliers' manuals for instructions and tips.
"With all the valuable discussions about new ideas and best practices," said Ben Markens, PPC President, "I think attendees will now be collaborating more often with other departments and utilizing outside resources as a way to further innovation and build stronger, more successful design teams."