Disruption is Nothing New for Packaging Manufacturers

Updated: Sep 10




Ask any manufacturer in the packaging industry to describe that industry and you’ll hear things like, “the only constant is change” and “the packaging world is like running on a treadmill while juggling running chainsaws.” We recently looked at how packaging manufacturers responded during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in our blog, “Packaging Manufacturing Predictions Post-Pandemic”.


While the pandemic may have accentuated some challenges, the industry by and large is based on rapid iteration and response. Even in so-called “normal” times, the industry faces the proliferation of new SKUs, a push for sustainability that challenges supply chain sources and logistics, complexity in storage and transportation, ever-changing customer demands, and the ongoing effort to manage risk and disruptions.


How are progressive manufacturers facing these challenges?


Manufacturers that take steps now to optimize the supply chain and improve collaboration between the planning and operations will find themselves in a much better position to manage the next inevitable disruption.


Optimizing a Responsive and Vital Supply Chain

In our decades of experience, QAD has found that the means for an optimized supply chain include these functions that are streamlined by an adaptive ERP:

  • Anticipate – Increase visibility across the supply chain to ensure accurate decisions

  • Optimize – Quickly create the best, most feasible and cost-effective plan

  • Plan – Synchronize plans and contingencies across the supply chain

  • Respond – Create an ability to respond to change rapidly

  • Simulate – Use real-time synchronization to have plans ready

  • Collaborate – Share real-time intelligence with all partners

A recent customer success story identifies how QAD Adaptive ERP automated reporting and material transactions/backflushing on the shop floor, saved time with data entry and reconciliation, and was especially easy to use. Most importantly the solution provided live progress against production orders for true collaboration between planning and operations.


Achieving Manufacturing Effectiveness Through Collaboration

When there is a gap between planning and operations and a lack of collaboration, businesses sometimes use legacy approaches to fill the gap, including manual workarounds, spreadsheets and other paper-based processes, or fragile and out-of-date interfaces. We’ve found that collaboration between planning and operations teams ranges anywhere from 100% seamless in real time to the passing of paper and wishful thinking. It is sometimes based on intermittent batch loads and reconciliation or is held up by the time it takes to import or export a spreadsheet.

An Adaptive Manufacturing Enterprise in the packaging industry is collaborative, connected, configurable and contextual. QAD’s Adaptive ERP and other various solutions help manufacturers achieve this level of collaboration. The QAD Production Execution solution standardizes collaboration and delivers production insights to meet customer demand. It offers comprehensive operational data capture. More specifically, it delivers:

  • Execution of defined orders and shared awareness of true priorities

  • Materials management of BOM and finished goods

  • Shop floor data collection in support of labor tracking, quality management and product traceability

  • Equipment-centric performance monitoring/maintenance

  • Operational execution of manufacturing processes


QAD’s Automation Solutions deliver shop floor material, production and warehouse transaction capability. Users gain material and production data and can scan and print labels in the appropriate format – for example, by manufacturer, supplier or customer – to automate material transactions.

What’s Next for the Packaging Industry?

Adaptability is critical for responsiveness in the packaging industry supply chain, as it faces challenges of:

  • Sustainability pressures

  • Accelerated product cycles

  • Development requirements at the speed of consumer whims


Forward-looking manufacturers need to consider an investment in manufacturing operational solutions to improve:

  • Collaboration up and down the entire organization

  • Connectivity/information flow with a single version of the truth

  • Better data-based decision making



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