Over the past several years, innovative technologies have emerged to enhance the processes used by industries across the globe. One of the most important, but least-talked about is the almost trillion-dollar packaging industry.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, bottlenecks in global supply chains caused widespread disruptions to virtually every sector of e-commerce. For many, this period was their first direct experience with the packaging industry — one that Philip Weinman, co-founder of Packform, referred to as, “the industry that technology forgot about.”
Considered one of the most prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs in Australia, Weinman is a serial innovator widely regarded for his repeated ability to identify critical gaps in consumer markets and disrupt their respective industries with revolutionary — and oftentimes, much-needed — changes that improve upon their existing processes.
“Prior to Packform, there wasn’t any digital platform available that helped align the packaging industry’s customers with its brokers, suppliers, or salespeople,” said Weinman. “Our platform’s technology is bringing the packaging industry into the digital era, offering new advantages to all stakeholders in need of custom or stock packaging options.”
Launched just prior to the pandemic’s onset, Packform is an end-to-end technology platform that has transformed the packaging industry by streamlining the process through which its customers, suppliers, and dealers (i.e., independent salespeople) buy and sell their products and services. Packform’s digital marketplace provides each of these stakeholders with efficient and transparent access to one another in an industry that has historically suffered from outdated, fragmented processes and routine delays in its supply chain.
“In the US market there are over 4,000 packaging distributors,” said Jed Wockenfuss, who formerly served as the Senior Vice President of Landsberg Orora prior to recently joining Packform as a partner, “but the top 5 represent less than 10% of the total market and still use the same outdated processes. To make matters worse, traditional packaging companies have sky-high overheads due to large executive salaries, warehouses stocked with inventory, and bad customer debts. To yield just 5% EBITDA, they are forced to increase margins, thereby passing those costs onto the customer.”
Wockenfuss states that, in partnering with Packform, his observation of the packaging industry showed one lacking a focus on both transparency and providing positive experiences for its stakeholders. That same lack in transparency and focus, however, was one he and — as well as Packform’s team of co-founders — knew could easily be remedied with a digital solution; one with the goal to disrupt the entire packaging industry.
“Joining those parties through an easy-to-use platform has cut an enormous amount of friction out of the packaging process. Users of Packform’s platform are no longer spending their days chasing down quotes, dockets, invoices, or suppliers; it’s all there on the platform and accessible from their desktop or mobile device, whenever they need it.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began making international headlines, Packform — like many other businesses — was faced with a new set of challenges impacting worldwide supply chain issues. Yet, unlike many other businesses, the company’s agile team, combined with a lack of warehouses (and the overhead expenses that come with operating them) and a direct delivery model from supplier to customer continued thriving. At the same time, most of their competitors were sunk by the same antiquated processes they had relied on for years.
“When the pandemic became an inevitable reality,” said Packform co-founder Preston Geeting, “our disruptive model quickly allowed us to source and onboard fresh suppliers.” Updating its platform’s digital database virtually overnight, Packform included suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other high-demand items, leading the company to increase its average revenue per order by 17%. “This was a pivot that our more ‘traditional’ competitors, particularly those without integrated tech platforms, simply could not execute,” he added.
“We also committed to ensuring our payables were better than the industry average to increase confidence with our existing supplier base, and to develop a reputation for payment reliability within the industry,” added Geeting. “Furthermore, we donated our technology to a not-for-profit organization in the UK to assist them with sourcing PPE for front-line workers. This resulted in us building a new version of the platform, enabling transacts to be made in GBP, and ultimately helped grow our supply network in Europe.”
Indeed, the disruptions brought to the broader packaging industry by Packform are as extensive as they are necessary. Not only does their platform provide innovative solutions and tools for the industry’s suppliers, dealers, and customers — making the process from generating quotes to providing proof of delivery automated — but also helps eliminate extensive overhead costs the industry has traditionally relied upon to operate by eschewing the need for warehousing immense amounts of inventory.
“This platform is a one-stop-shop for the packaging solutions,” Geeting said. “It’s bringing the packaging industry into the digital age of the 21st-century.”
Original Source: Bringing the Packaging Industry into the Digital Age, Digital Journal, 11 July 2022.