Late stage customisation: What is it?

By Khoshal Mann, Packaging Engineer and Structural Design Expert at iDi Pac Ltd

Whether it is a cosmetic, pharmaceutical, agrochemical or Fast Moving Consumer Goods brand, we at iDi Pac are frequently asked by our clients, what is late stage customisation (LSC) and how can I leverage its benefits? This piece will provide you with a glimpse of what LSC is and how it can enhance brand responsiveness in an exciting, evolving market place and importantly connect you with the customer to create greater brand loyalty.

LSC is a customised methodology that allows manufacturers to customise their products and/or packaging efficiently, providing engagement between the brand and the consumer. The aim of LSC is to apply customisation or personalisation at the most appropriate point of the supply chain, ideally at the latest sensible opportunity which eliminates redistribution and repacking, reducing overall costs.
LSC is frequently used to manage the growing trend of smaller batch sizes cost effectively. As an example, a generic plain label can be manufactured as a baseline to use across all your SKUs and then brought to life with customised print for a specific SKU or perhaps a part finished carton with “custom” text, codes and even Braille for Pharma.

The LSC supply chain differs from the conventional in that the product is kept in its most basic form awaiting the “customisation” stage, perhaps closer to the end market. Once an order is received, the product and packaging system can be customised or added in its final form. Notably, this could be as simple as the name of a bottled beverage or in a slightly more complex case a specific shade of makeup might be customised to suit a different skin tone or perhaps even a customised inhaler shaped or printed to reflect a child’s favourite character, the possibilities really are endless!

Not only does LSC improve consumer to brand interaction but it can also reduce working capital and stock levels whilst increasing manufacturing flexibility, sales revenue and access to markets that may hitherto have not been typically economically viable. This increased access and greater degree of customisation drives the brand ahead of the competition to be the preferred choice by the consumer.

Supporting the LSC methodology, as print technologies become ever more flexible (faster and variable) with printing techniques such as direct container printing, the future of LSC can be further enhanced and the process incorporated into today’s current demanding supply chains. Furthermore, the growth of 3D manufacturing technologies, means we may soon have machines that can quickly and efficiently manufacture customised products at the same speed or even faster than conventional processes. Custom pasta has already been done! The future is near!

A plethora of brands have utilised the power of late stage customisation, technologies and processes, now is the time to ensure that you stay ahead of the competition. iDi Pac has the ideas, experience and knowledge to support your brand and integrate late stage customisation into your supply chain. Be sure to contact us to discuss a solution specifically tailored to your brand.

iDi Pac are experts in solving product supply chain challenges through effective design and pragmatically engineered packaging solutions.

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