Open Innovation Partnership Leads to Novel Packaging Solution

Published May-31-16

A packaging company and one of its clients pool their knowledge to develop a new kind of functional packaging for chocolates.

Segers and Balcaen, Belgium

The Story:

Open Innovation Partnership Leads to Novel Packaging Solution Many companies are faced with tough conditions in their markets: a volatile economic climate, the emergence of new players selling cheaper products and services, new regulations and so on. They all conspire to potentially threaten survival. These firms must continue doing what they do well and reinvent new value propositions.

Customers expect new innovations and for existing products to be continually developed and enhanced ("new and improved" and "deluxe" offerings"). However, a major sticking point for some companies is that they lack the resources to adapt and differentiate. Open innovation and collaboration with external partners would appear to be a logical step to stay viable in a fiercely competitive landscape.

Forming Innovation Partnerships

Segers and Balcaen is a Belgian manufacturer of packaging products, founded in the 1950s. Since that time it has grown in size and scale to become one of Europe's leading packaging producers. A key factor that has kept it in business and at the top of its game for so long is that it is continually improving its existing products as well as looking for innovations.

The packaging industry is in a constant state of flux. Periodically, tough new regulations come into force, and there is the ever-present pressure to find planet friendly packaging solutions. One of the ways that Segers and Balcaen looks to enhance its offerings is through open innovation, by co-creating with its suppliers and customers.

One such example is its joint research and development of a packaging product for chocolates with Belcolade, a Belgian chocolate brand that’s part of the Puratos group. The company exports its products worldwide and to do so needs a packaging solution that will give the chocolates a shelf life of at least a year. To facilitate this, the packaging must have a specific oxygen barrier, a specific hydrogen barrier and delamination.

Developing an Innovative Solution

During development, research teams came up against a huge barrier, namely that the high temperatures needed to weld the packaging melted the chocolates. After six months of working on the problem with Puratos, Segers and Balcaen arrived at a solution - a new kind of functional packaging that can be welded at lower temperatures. Problem solved through an open innovation approach.

Win-Win Scenario

This collaboration demonstrated how interacting with partners, suppliers or customers can generate innovative ideas that can lead to better products, and create a win-win scenario for all involved.
In this example, Segers and Balcaen had a new product to market and Belcolade could ship its chocolates all over the world knowing that the packaging allows them to have a long shelf life.

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