“The potential of intelligent packaging is extensive,” says Ros. “It touches virtually any business aiming to improve and enhance manufacturing lines, supply chain, sales and customer experience through digitalisation.”
Stora Enso has been developing and marketing intelligent packaging solutions based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), a wireless technology for the transfer of data electronically. Current solutions concentrate on the digital supply chain for shipping and receiving, inventory management and intelligent Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), as well as customer experience through retail and marketing campaign enhancements like intelligent cabinets and shelves at point-of-sale.
In November 2018, the new sustainable ECO™ RFID tag technology by Stora Enso was launched, designed for packaging authentication in supply chain, retail and e-commerce applications. An important aspect here, the ECO technology enables the RFID tags to be produced on a 100% fibre-based paper label, which can be recycled in an environmentally-friendly way together with paper and board materials.
Stora Enso has other new branded intelligent packaging solutions in the works.
“Moving any product requires a package, from manufacturing line all the way to a store or consumer household. Digitalisation helps to make that journey more efficient and profitable. This could be by reducing time and labour, improving business forecasting and inventory accuracy, protecting the product, and enabling greater consumer engagement and loyalty,” Ros continues.
Intelligent packaging is not just for boxes or containers. Major fashion and apparel companies use RFID on labels and airlines on luggage. Intelligent cabinets use RFID. This is an application that is rapidly expanding in hotels, offices and other public places that need cabinets that can store goods
such as meals-to-go and collect payment through electronic means, in lieu of sales staff. Pharmaceutical products, cars and more are equipped with RFID.
There is also great potential for industrial digitalisation utilising RFID among major manufacturers who are looking to infuse traditional practises with smart tools to support employees, optimise operations, refashion products, and connect and customise the consumer experience.
“Overall, speed is essential, and Stora Enso is applying our collective expertise and resources, as well as key partners, to bolster our offering in intelligent packaging,” Ros emphasises. “We also have a significant differentiator: our combination of digital solutions with renewable materials. It’s a winning formula.”
A steering committee for the Intelligent Packaging unit includes CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström and Annica Bresky and Gilles van Nieuwenhuyzen as Heads of Stora Enso’s packaging divisions. Martin Ros, SVP Intelligent Packaging, has held several leadership roles in various Stora Enso business lines and was recently driving the sustainable finance agenda as Group Treasurer.