Sonoco is plunking down $5m to transform one of its facilities into a center dedicated to packaging consultation and creation.
The firm’s Hartsville, South Carolina, manufacturing and headquarters complex will be the site of the Sonoco Innovative Packaging Solutions (IPS) Studio. The facility will give packaging customers the opportunity to meet with consultants, throw out concepts, and test ideas.
Brian Risinger, manager of corporate communications for Sonoco, told FoodProductionDaily the company’s investment in the IPS Studio demonstrates its focus on the creative process.
“As a company, we are really heightening our focus on innovation,” he said. “We see ourselves as a solutions company that offers packaging, rather than as a packaging company that just happens to offer solutions; that is a very different mindset, and we are actively looking for ways to engrain that kind of thinking and behavior into our culture.”
According to Risinger, collaboration between customers and Sonoco personnel can lead to better, more effective packaging.
“We saw the development of IPS Studio as a way to create tangible opportunities to put that thinking and approach into practice on behalf of our customers,” he told FPD. “It is a physical space that will help create a very innovative, collaborative, imaginative environment; it also happens to be designed in such a way that we can conduct consumer insights work in a real-world type environment.”
Risinger said the facility will include 3D printing equipment, packaging pilot plant, onsite testing laboratories, and other features facilitating packaging development and advancement.
“It gives us the ability to quickly develop and test package prototypes, get fast feedback, etc.,” he told FPD. “We are able to integrate one of the broadest packaging and services portfolios in the industry, with deep technical and material science capabilities, combined with our i6 Innovation Process.”
Risinger added the focus created in the collaborative environment fostered by the IPS Studio can benefit food and packaging companies.
“It can really speed up the innovation process, improve the chances of product acceptance, and help speed to market,” he said.