CPQ and Sustainability a major driver for success at Plus Pack
Plus Pack has been on a century-long transformational journey. Founded in 1914, this Danish pioneer in the food packaging industry has been supplying its customers with innovative and sustainable solutions that help them stand out.
The latest step of their success story – 100 years in the making – has been a digital transformation project with a focus on customer-centric product customization.
“Our first step in our digitalization journey was to replace our legacy ERP system with a new ERP platform. This project ran between 2016-17, which was the foundation for us to build on. Later in 2018, we revisited our digitalization roadmap and looked for ways to increase the revenue and experience for our customers, while improving our operational efficiency.” – Bastian Fietje, Head of Groups Projects at Plus Pack.
What follows is a closer look at how Plus Pack, in a quest to support their customers into the future, lead them to adopt Tacton CPQ as the key component of their digital strategy.
Partnering with Customers to deliver a superior customer experience
Plus Pack’s product line consists of food containers and trays used in the food industry with a focus on convenient meal products, take-away, and ready meals. Its customers are international companies – either food producers, retailers, or distribution companies and each day 4 million meals are served in a packaging solution from Plus Pack. In recent years, consumer behavior and environmental awareness have driven the demand for sustainable packaging solutions in materials that are easy-to-recycle supporting a circular economy.
As a result, Plus Pack not only needed to deliver quality products but also, needed to collaborate closely with suppliers, customers, and stakeholders to develop sustainable food packaging solutions. Plus Pack’s unique positioning, as both designer and manufacturer, means that they have the expertise to lead their customers through this experience-focused approach to packaging development and -innovation.
Partnering with customers to provide customized solutions is nothing new to Plus Pack, “Our most established customers would come to us to revisit the product, and together we would look at what their next move would be, how to lower their costs, improve their sustainability performance and even increase their sales” clarified Bastian. It was vital for Plus Pack that their digital strategy complemented and supported their established customer partnership strategy.
Customization as a Growth Strategy
Plus Pack’s approach to digitalization and product customization was in part, based on pioneering research from the Technical University of Denmark. Lead by Prof. Lars Hvam Ph.D., the research demonstrated how manufacturers that implemented a Product Configuration Software, like Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ). “have achieved numerous benefits such as better decision-making capabilities, more on-time deliveries, improved product quality, less rework and increased customer satisfaction”.
For Plus Pack, CPQ was the tool that would enable them to achieve their vision of becoming “The preferred partner for customized and sustainable packaging solutions”. “For us at Plus Pack, we needed a tool that would not only allow us to implement a partnership strategy with our customers but also that would allow our production to run more efficiently and to ensure that we can deliver exactly what was promised,” stated Bastian.
Thomas Bangsgaard Vestergaard, Sales Configuration Project Manager overseeing the CPQ implementation says, “We have thousands of products and variables to account for that require highly technical calculations. With CPQ our sales teams could interpret the needs of the customer and quickly identify which solutions within our entire product line best met those needs.”
Plus Pack’s plans to grow within an already competitive market are partly based on their ability to deliver a faster, flexible, more accurate, and superior buying experience for their customers. “With CPQ, within a few minutes, we are able to deliver a highly technical quote, with the price and supporting documents for the quote. In the past, this was a process that would take days if not weeks”, says Thomas.
With CPQ and sustainability in mind, Plus Pack’s digital strategy could be achieved. To deliver 100% recyclable products with zero CO2. With CPQ’s needs-based configuration, Plus Pack will find it easier to offer its customers more sustainable packaging solutions supporting a circular economy. Plus Pack’s sales teams will be able to easily compare different packaging options and to recommend customers the most sustainable materials that are fit-for-purpose as well as fit-for-future.
Abandoning Silos and Embracing CPQ and Sustainability
While CPQ is described primarily as a sales tool, it carries many additional benefits, especially for a manufacturer like Plus Pack. When it comes to high-variant sales configuration, CPQ not only positively impacts the buying process, it also harmonizes the way product engineers and project managers collaborate. Manufacturers traditionally had to effectively manage the interest between 3 core areas: Sales, Product, and Factory. These areas tended to work independently, and at times tensions would arise when sales lacked the latest product information, or sold an impossible configuration, or even quoted the wrong price.
With CPQ, these tensions are eliminated because CPQ ensures that each sales configuration takes into account all aspects of manufacturing. CPQ can, therefore, ensure that the quote generated by sales is feasible, error-free, with the correct price, and that the production needs are also accounted for.
“CPQ gives our sales teams access to our entire product line, and they are able to come up with new innovative solutions for our customers, based on reliable product information. Project managers and those overseeing the production trust that they can deliver what was promised to the customer”, concludes Bastian Fietje.
CPQ can also be a source of unique product data with the integrations of the Analytics API. With this new source of data, Plus Pack’s business analysts and project managers can better understand more about each customer order and identify new commercial opportunities, as well as explore product improvements.
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