Miamisburg, OH (USA), November, 2010 –
As the supply chain evolves into a global, dynamic value chain — and sustainability becomes not just a social cause, but also an economic issue — product packaging has developed into a critical component of a sustainably designed value chain. With the help of EskoArtwork products, ModusLink Global Solutions is saving time and maximizing value for its clients through 3D virtual samples.
ModusLink Global Solutions, Inc. is a leader in executing value chain strategies to drive the supply chain, aftermarket and e-Business processes of the world’s largest technology and consumer goods companies. Its solutions span the cradle-to-cradle, multichannel product lifecycle, from supply chain activities such as sourcing, configuration and fulfillment; to revenue-generating e-commerce, customer service, and brand loyalty solutions; to aftermarket returns, repair and asset recovery.
“ModusLink works with many of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies to help them get their products to market,” explains Ben Sligar, global packaging engineer for ModusLink. “For example, a product is manufactured in Asia and sent to one of ModusLink’s more than 25 facilities worldwide for final configuration, kitting, assembly and packaging. We also fulfill to multiple channels, including distribution centers, retailers and end users. In addition to these physical processes, we work closely with many of our clients to optimize their product network to determine the best time and place in the supply chain to perform these critical functions.”
Designing for the environment
In early 2009, ModusLink introduced its Sustainable Solutions Suite to help clients reduce the environmental impact of their supply chain processes, including sustainable packaging redesign. Using the Walmart Sustainable Packaging Modeling tool, COMPASS, ArtiosCAD and other industry tools, ModusLink measures and analyzes the amount of carbon emissions of various packaging types and provides customers with feedback as to whether or not their traditional packaging is eco-friendly. “At ModusLink, we use a 4D methodology of ergonomics, cost, sustainability and logistics for cost-effective, environmentally sound packaging design. We model current packaging along with multiple new variations for the client to consider that compare labor, material pallet density and carbon emissions. “With the 3D design capabilities, we can email designs for review, and ask for a physical mock-up when we are close to the final design,” Sligar says.
Saving time with virtual samples
The virtual modeling and Webex presentations save travel and time. “One of the key benefits of ArtiosCAD is the large sample library and that it can do virtual prototyping,” comments Sligar. “Instead of making physical models to show our client and changing them for multiple revisions, we can stick to virtual presentations. We can also create designs with graphics, spinning a virtual 3D prototype. With Esko Visualizer, we can show customers what packaging will look like in a store environment. Once a customer picks a virtual design, we’ll make a physical prototype.
“Many times, a customer will tell me that they need something as soon as tomorrow. I can design a package and set up a Webex presentation quickly,” says Sligar. “Getting approvals is often 50% faster. While it depends how complicated designs are, prototypes are faster to make. Then we can easily go right into production, and speed up the production timetable.”
When less is more
ModusLink uses a number of tools to produce the most efficient packaging and to reduce greenhouse emissions. “We can create different structural styles, look at different boxes, look at the blank sizes, and reduce the amount of materials as we design the package. With ArtiosCAD, I can go through a sample library and design with less board, searching for the most efficient use of materials. Of course, when virtual prototypes are made, we save the cost of shipping prototypes and with online presentations, I can reduce travel expenses,” explains Sligar. “Some of our work is done on existing packaging. Often, I visit a store and look at a package that, for example, has too much plastic. There are many cases where I have redesigned packaging with virtual prototypes to calculate the impact on greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll integrate CAPE to see how many more packages we can fit on a pallet, and work with operations to figure labor adjustments.
“I’ve used several of the packaging design software solutions, and ArtiosCAD is one of the best. It’s an industry leader for structural design and virtual prototyping,” concludes Sligar. “The best part about working with EskoArtwork is that they invest in development to make their products even better, with great customer support.”
Both EskoArtwork and ModusLink have a deep commitment to sustainable practices evidenced by their recent formation of the EskoArtwork/Compass Integration Focus Group to outline and define a process for formally integrating the software platforms. ModusLink is also a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Walmart’s Sustainable Value Network, The Greener Package Advisory Board, and is an Advisor in the U.S. Delegation for the development of an ISO standard for packaging and the environment.
For more information about ModusLink, please visit www.moduslink.com.