The shape of retail continues to change with the expansion of online commerce over the Internet. Corrugated packaging has now become something essential to people’s lives. As the leading company in the corrugated packaging industry, Rengo supports customers from packaging to sales promotion. In April 2018, we gathered employees playing key roles in their respective departments to discuss the strengths of Rengo in supporting the online commerce market which continues to grow.
Corrugated Packaging Abundantly Imbued with Invisible Ingenuities
Munemura: I propose the introduction of packaging machinery meeting our customers’ needs. Ever since the labor shortage at online commerce companies and rise in delivery charges have become prominent, there have been increasingly more inquiries about the Gemini Packaging System (hereafter Gemini)—which detects a product’s height and automatically packages it with the optimal size—developed by Rengo.
Fujino: My work is to provide proposals, centered on packaging, to various companies related to online commerce. There is also a cross-departmental team handling e-commerce issues. This team provides support for all matters related to online commerce to companies, from well-known leading online commerce companies to general manufacturers.
Takahira: I am involved in packaging design for corrugated packaging. In the design process, we pay attention to the workflow at retail stores when opening for unpacking. In addition, given the currently growing online commerce, we also look at additional processing to make packaging easy for consumers to open and easy to fold when recycling.
Takimoto: Rengo’s Design and Marketing Center (DMC) is a sales support department creating added value through not just design but also other means such as product design and proposals on revamps. In the past, while there were few customers who were particular about the designs of online commerce boxes, we have continued to propose along the line that online commerce is a form of retail where retailers cannot wait on customers, and the design of boxes becomes the image of the company. Now, it seems that even if we do not make such proposals, our customers are increasingly coming to us saying, “We want this design.”
Koike: I also think online commerce boxes are the companies’ greatest salespeople. You can understand a company’s stance just by the meticulous attention given to design and shape mentioned by Takahira. Furthermore, in online commerce, there are times when the purchaser is different from the receiver or user, such as when purchases are given as presents. It is important to accurately assess our customers’ needs, such as designs which people are happy to receive, and incorporate them.
Taking on the Challenge of Balancing Optimizing Online Commerce Logistics and Reducing Environmental Impact
Takimoto: There are issues that become prominent because the online commerce market is growing, such as the labor shortage in delivery systems mentioned by Munemura. I think we can help in solving this issue through packaging.
Fujino: The Gemini mentioned just now, I-Pack, and e-Cube can reduce unused space within boxes by automatically adjusting corrugated boxes to its optimal height according to its contents. Introducing them can reduce the size of corrugated packaging itself, and as a result lead to reduction in cushioning material and improvement to the efficiency of truck transportation.
Munemura: These series are not just helpful in the environmental aspects, but also in solving the issue of labor shortages. Usually, a significant amount of labor is necessary in packaging for online commerce. By introducing the Gemini, we have heard feedback such as “the Gemini could cover the work of 10 persons” and “it is no longer necessary to worry if we can gather enough people for work.”
Marketing and Business
Development Department IKen Fujino
Takahira: Transportation efficiency was mentioned, and a feature of Gemini is that further efficiency can be achieved by combining with Delta Flute. Delta Flute is an original Rengo standard for 2 mm corrugated board. It can be said to be an environmentally- friendly product, able to reduce the amount of corrugating medium by 8% and more as its thickness is reduced compared to the 3 mm B-flute. When delivering corrugated packaging or when customers ship out products, the synergy between Delta Flute and Gemini allows more corrugated packaging to be loaded each time. This reduces the number of trucks used for transportation, and also leads to logistics efficiency and further reduction in CO2 emissions.
Koike: Related to the environment, we also have initiatives in printing. For example, oil-based inks using organic solvents were the mainstream in the past, but now, water-based inks, which use water and alcohol as their main ingredients, are being used instead. In addition, we also provide environmentally-friendly proposals which reduce the number of times printing machines are operated and the amount of ink used by using designs that fold the printed side of single-side printing to make it appear as if it was printed double-sided.
Supporting Customers with GPI Rengo’s Comprehensive Capabilities
Takimoto: In addition to online commerce, I think corrugated packaging is an infrastructure essential to the lives of people. I take pride that we can clearly differentiate ourselves from other packaging manufacturers by adding design as an added value to corrugated packaging and bringing it to the forefront. In addition, I think Rengo’s strong weapon is our ability to work together with our customers—from the planning stage to marketing and design—to develop new products and manufacture based on an integrated concept.
Munemura: When looking from the perspective of improving work and transportation efficiency, packaging machinery such as Gemini stand out. However, there are times when, after listening properly to the needs of our customers, things can be resolved by other methods without having to implement large-sized machinery. Rengo’s strength is our comprehensive capabilities which allows us to provide at one place solutions most appropriate for the scale and needs of our customers.
Fujino: From designs and adding structural functions for corrugated packaging taking into consideration the people handling them, to designing machinery to carry out packaging and flexible packaging such as films, we hope to consolidate GPI Rengo’s capabilities, and continue to support our customers while listening to their voices.