If you haven’t heard the latest 8th & Walton Conference Call podcast, it contains a rare gem. During my interview with Kerry Bailey, Director of Retail at Menasha Packaging, I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Who knew a conversation about Walmart’s retail-ready packaging initiative would tickle my funny bone?
As we were wrapping up, I asked a fairly standard question. “If there are any suppliers who are just now thinking about retail-ready packaging, what advice would you give?” Kerry looked at me in all seriousness and exclaimed, “Hurry!” He’s absolutely hilarious but absolutely dead-on with this direction. With On Time In Full (OTIF), Back-to-School, and Holiday Season speeding toward us, retail-ready packaging can easily get lost in the shuffle.
What Is Retail-Ready Packaging?
In case you’re not familiar, let’s take a step back. I asked Kerry how this latest initiative at Walmart differs from what we’ve seen before.
“Retail-ready packaging is really the next evolution in the PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick!) format,” he explains. “What we see out of retail-ready packaging (or shelf-ready packaging) is that same type of application. But it makes the old ‘brown box’ case goods application more formidable as it represents the display piece on the shelf.
“So, this retail-ready approach is really going to bring new graphics and new dimension to on-shelf packaging. It allows for all of the labor savings that we’ve seen over the years in PDQ execution to be formulated into the package on the shelf.”
All Roads Lead to Price Leadership
Aside from learning about retail-ready packaging, I was really curious as to why Walmart is making it a focus. Menasha has worked closely with suppliers and Walmart to reach the common goal.
“Obviously the labor savings and capturing time in the operations side of the business is very important,” Bailey says. “It not only reduced costs that drive the EDLC (Every Day Low Cost) platform forward, but it’s also an important part of just maintaining integrity on the shelf.
“When you think about zoning and how operations takes care of the modular, it’s important for them to be able to do that with retail-ready packaging. It’s going to be an important part of the metrics, measurement, and evaluation of that success.”
Give Time to Discover
I began by telling you why Kerry made me laugh with his final answer. After I composed myself, he thoroughly explained why suppliers need to act now to adjust their processes to retail-ready packaging.
“Suppliers learn that the faster you get started, the more opportunity you have to evaluate what that process is going to look like inside their business as they transition. They understand that this process works in phases.
“The phased process allows for those transitions and conversions to occur over time. Those phases take a period of learning, and you want those learnings to occur in a nice, natural format in a good state of time.”
Kerry and the team at Menasha have toolkits and other resources for suppliers to prepare for retail-ready packaging. Find out more by visiting Menasha Packaging.