Assessing Packaging Companies' Digital Maturity
Ensuring their business is on a path toward digital transformation is among packaging industry business executives’ top concerns, says Jan De Roeck, director of marketing, industry relations & strategy, for Esko. However, he says that without an opportunity for these executives to benchmark their digital maturity, it's difficult for them to assess their progress.
This need has led to Esko’s development and launch of its Digital Maturity Model for Packaging Suppliers, along with a self assessment to help printers and converters determine which of the five stages of digital maturity their company is in, and where they can make strategic improvements. As production efficiency and speed to market continue to be pressing issues throughout the packaging industry, implementing a digitized workflow can help keep a plant running smoothly.
“We took the concept of a maturity model and applied it to our knowledge of customer workflows,” De Roeck said. “This gave [printers and converters] a tool to assess where they are. In a conversation, we can determine a snapshot of where they are in each workflow step.”
To help provide this snapshot, De Roeck explains that the self-assessment walks converters through a series of questions that pertain to each stage of digital maturity. This includes hypotheticals about how the company’s leadership tends to react in certain situations, along with questions about the company’s values — ranging from a variety of topics including on-time delivery, environmental issues, and beyond.
At the conclusion of the assessment, the printer is provided with their stage in the digital maturity model. From least digitally mature to most digitally mature, the five stages are Reactive, Organized, Digitized, Connected, and Intelligent.
Along with the result of the assessment, printers and converters receive a white paper that further describes the Digital Maturity Model, and how a company's overall digital maturity is influenced by the level of connectivity they have throughout the various stages of their workflow. The nine workflow steps detailed in the white paper are:
- Customer Communication
- Internal Communication
- Artwork Preparation
- Good for Print Approval
- Sheet Layout
- Postpress Finishing
- Packing and Shipping Logistics
De Roeck explains that having this information will help provide printers and converters with an understanding of next steps they can take in their digital journey.
“Those of our customers that go through the self assessment will be nurtured by the marketing campaign,” De Roeck says. “They can download the white paper, and we have this super graphic as well on what the stages are about and they can see the stages where they can improve.”
While Esko’s announcement of the Digital Maturity Model’s launch states that it will be a key component of the company’s showing at drupa 2020, De Roeck recommends that printers interested in enhancing their digital maturity take the assessment prior to visiting the Esko booth.
“I can imagine that someone walks onto the booth with a statement of, ‘I did your self assessment and I’m in the organized stage. Can you show me how to get to the next stage?’” De Roeck says. “Then we’ll have a route through our booth and we can think about things we can help them with.”
Though the Digital Maturity Model consists of five stages of digitization that printers can be classified in, De Roeck says that he does not expect for anyone taking the assessment to be classified in the “Intelligent” stage, the most advanced as defined in the model. This is largely because Industry 4.0 technology, such as robotics, is still in its emerging stages, and for now, remains as part of a vision for the industry to strive toward.
However, De Roeck says that as this technology begins to come online, he is looking forward to helping customers achieve this level of digitization.
“As we adopt technologies that are part of Industry 4.0, it will have an impact on the packaging industry,” he says. “It’s inspirational, and it’s a journey we want to embark on together.”