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How is CPQ Being Used to Transform the Food Packaging Industry?

Plus Pack is a manufacturer of customized food packaging solutions. There are two main facilities located in Denmark and Belgium. Plus Pack sells products to customers and large distributors, these can be branded or customized solutions depending on the buyer’s needs.   

Plus Pack has been amid a transformation they call Circular 2024. To better support a circular economy 2024, to better support a circular economy and keep materials/products in the economic circuit for as long as possible. The circular economy breaks with the idea of a linear economy that starts with the extraction of resources and ends up as waste. That is why Plus Pack focuses on recyclable products that contribute to a circular economy and thereby a more sustainable world. 

With a heavy focus on the circular economy, Plus Pack has spent time and money on new investments to reach their goals. Tacton CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) was one of those critical investments.   

Transforming the single use food packaging industry for a circular economy  

Packaging for food has created a lot of waste, and Plus Pack wanted to become part of the solution to creating a more sustainable business model. Plus Pack supports the UN Sustainability Goals with a strong focus on goal number 12, Responsible Consumption and Production. By addressing four specific global challenges related to the way they design and manufacture their products, Plus Pack continually finds new ways to ‘do more and better with less’ – thus protecting the world’s resources. These four global challenges are described in the following four targets of Sustainable Development Goal no. 12. 

Circular 2024 sets the direction towards more circular sales, improved customer satisfaction and reduced CO2 emissions. Sales are important, but to drive circularity forward around 86% of Plus Packs sales are considered circular, and is projected to be 95% in 2024. Guiding the customers to these sustainable products is an important part of Circular 2024. 

Customer satisfaction is another important measuring stick for Plus Pack. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used to measure this. Plus Pack has seen an incline in their NPS in the past few years by competing on satisfaction. Being able to provide customers with what they expect is key to success for Plus Pack. Success is also is based on competing and providing the right products at the right time at the right price to the customer.  

The third key area is CO2 emissions, they have ambitious goals, quite detailed and report it in the annual report. They measure Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

What are scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions?

  • Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organization (e.g., emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles)
  • Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.
  • Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions.

The ambition is to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2024. Here they have made a choice to reduce as much as possible by putting solar panels up and further investments in CO2 emissions and further investments to reduce CO2 emissions. 

Circular 2024 is directly linked with CPQ  

Plus Pack has three customer segments, general distributors, industrial food fillers and retailers. With opportunities to offer branded products or customized solutions, Plus Pack searched for a way to configure products and help internal teams collaborate better to help their customers better.  

A couple years ago Plus Pack launched their CPQ project, they saw a need to have a more structured way to customize solutions for customers’ requirements. Another goal was finding a tool that made it easier for sales to find solutions and offer application specific solutions. 

An important focus was also on how CPQ could fit within the existing systems Plus Pack was already using. This connection focused on Salesforce CRM and Tacton CPQ. Now with Tacton, 85-95% of all quotes go directly through CPQ. The data can then be transferred to Salesforce to steer the opportunity and pipeline forward.  

How does CPQ help drive circularity? 

When configuring products, the sales team at Plus Pack can now see how every selection impacts the sustainability of the product. If they are configuring trays for example, they can see how aluminum is 100% recyclable while a plastic product isn’t. Single use plastic packaging is today regulated in many EU countries as either forbidden or taxed, so displaying accurate info is critical.

This allows them in real-time to reconfigure products directly to the specification of their customer. CPQ also helps embed new functionalities in the products faster than ever by easily adding new products or removing old ones. CPQ will also tell if the customer’s product is up to the standards and compliances of the country it will be used in, adding another way to improve the quoting process.  

Another example is standardizing technical data sheets. It’s very important for customers to get the tech information about the products. When sales attach these it can either be standard branded or customized. They can contain the amount of possible recyclable products in the final design. Regardless of taking a product off the shelf or a customized solution you get the same experience and same information.  

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, but 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 considers 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. 

Plus Pack has seen a huge movement towards remote and digital sales which play a significant role in all activities across the sales funnel. When they ask their customers how satisfied they are with how they feel about plus pack as a supplier this is a topic that continues to come up. What they see over the years is that support and information is an important part of the buying journey.  This support helps customers better understand how every decision they make changes the outcome of their product.  

What is the next phase? 

In the next phase of their CPQ project, Plus Pack is hoping to continue to learn more about their customer needs. This improves both how Plus Pack can sell the products and customer satisfaction. Plus Pack is also interested in learning which unique drivers are helping customers make their final purchasing decisions. 

Interested in learning more about CPQ and sustainability? 

Chat with one of our trusted configuration experts and learn how CPQ is helping conscious buyers make the right decision based on any criteria they choose.  

Author: Michael Brassea