The Ability to Adapt to a Changing Market

Welcome to the first blog post as part of the new Multi-Pack Solutions™ website. We’ll be posting each week, with the aim of educating – and even entertaining – on a wide variety of subjects related to contract manufacturing and packaging. We’ll share a mix of original content coming directly from topics we live with on a daily basis, as well as interesting articles and content from sources outside Multi-Pack Solutions. Conversations will range from addressing common questions and considerations when launching a product, to innovative trends in the industry, and you’ll see a focus on what we know best: water-soluble pouches, bottles, tubes, sachets, and wet wipes.

This first post explores innovation in contract packaging and, importantly, how brands can benefit. We see that innovation in contract packaging often involves adapting to various and constant changes in the market. These industry changes can stem from several factors including newly enforced FDA / EPA regulations, new package designs, and health / safety / environmental trends. So why should you listen to what we have to say? We have decades of experience in multiple forms of packaging and can help brands benefit by being first movers in new innovative packaging. Today’s post will briefly discuss the history of the industries we serve and how we have stayed innovative, and, most importantly, how we have helped our customers innovate.

A Brief History of Industries served by Multi-Pack Solutions’ contract manufacturing locations.

Water-Soluble Pouches for Laundry & Dish

Our Mount Prospect, Illinois, location, producing water-soluble pouches, has seen the most dramatic change in packaging over the years. Laundry and dish detergents began to take off during the 1950’s. New, innovative detergents performed much better than the traditional soap-based products. As the detergents continued to develop, so did the packaging. Shown below is a quick timeline [from the Cleaning Institute™] of innovations in detergents starting in the 1950s.

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(http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/soaps__detergent_history_3.aspx)

Our Mount Prospect location utilizes 10 productions lines to adapt to the changing laundry and dish markets, as well as the cleaners, oil and gas, and agriculture industries. This includes rotary drum machines, vertical and horizontal FFS machines, blenders, and a multi-chamber machine. This allows us to produce both liquid and powder products. Brands have benefitted from the environmentally-friendly nature of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) packaging, as well as by providing simplified dosing for ease-of-use. Because so many products traditionally packaged in bottled and boxed liquid and powder formats can transition to water-soluble pouches, we continue to see new brands – and product formulations – enter the space.

Wet Wipes

Similar to the launch of detergents, the creation of the wet wipe also became mainstream in the 1950’s. A pre-moistened disposable towel was a fast and convenient method for cleaning. The consumer no longer needed water, soap, or towels and could simply throw the wipe away. This innovative idea helped pave the way for the launch of wipes in niche markets, like baby wipes and industrial hand cleaners in the 1990’s. How many wipes do you see at your local convenience store, auto parts store, or janitorial distributor? Today, there are wet wipes for just about every application, and they come in all sizes, fabric types, and packaging. We have recently added a fully-automated line for wet wipes manufacturing at our Milwaukee facility. This line provides higher efficiencies by reducing waste, set-up time, and human contact with product. This also benefits the customer by increasing the speed and quality of large orders as well as creating capacity on our other lines for start-up companies with smaller MOQs. 

Bottles, Tubes, Sachets

To follow the same theme as our first two locations, the personal care, OTC, and medical device markets have trended towards convenience of products. This includes single-use, disposable products. These products are perfect for consumers ‘on the go’. Innovations in this division depend on new types of packaging and speed of production. We have seen great improvements in equipment in high-speed lines. In addition to the 25 lines at our Greenville, South Carolina, facility, a high-speed bottle-filling line was recently built. The capabilities of these production lines allow us to adapt to new and innovative packaging concepts.

We have seen dramatic changes in packaging over the years, and have responded by transitioning to equipment that can adapt to new package concepts. Brands now have a high-quality product with a faster speed-to-market. As new packaging concepts emerge, Multi-Pack Solutions will be an innovative partner in bringing our customers’ idea to market.

Final Thoughts

This blog will leverage our decades of experience as contract manufacturers and packagers to serve as a trusted resource to our customers and others in the industries we serve. We’ll also offer supplementary posts called “Pack Chat”, which will allow us to geek out and discuss technical topics, like how wet wipe perforations are determined or why certain film structures work or don’t work with particular product formulations.

What topics would you like to read about? What challenges or concepts do you have questions about? Please leave a comment, connect with us on LinkedIn, or contact us – we’d love to hear from you.