ATLANTA — The quickly consolidating packaging industry is becoming more global in an effort to remain competitive and serve its customers better.
However, globalization means different things to different packaging executives.
``Our goal is to supply the exact same products anywhere in the world,'' said T.J. Dunphy, chairman and chief executive at Sealed Air Corp.
Sealed Air recently acquired Cryovac, a $1.8 billion firm about twice its size. To Dunphy, globalization means providing packaging designed to meet the needs of people around the globe. He spoke at the Packaging Strategies conference, held April 20-22 in Atlanta.
Dunphy pointed out that dominant food trends include convenience, safety and hygiene, and case-ready packaging. In industrial packaging, the boom in the software and computer industries has been a global phenomenon. In each case, Sealed Air produces value-added packaging. Using new resins, recycled material and smart packaging are part of Sealed Air's game plan.
``Our infrastructure — which consists of 46 countries with manufacturing facilities, an understanding of the global culture and an information system — will become significant as we do business globally,'' Dunphy said.
Roger Berdoulay, Nestle USA Inc. vice president and chief purchasing officer, has a different perspective of the world. For him, globalization involves strong international brands that provide for market entry and additional growth.
Nestle imports more than 10 percent of its raw materials from around the world. In addition, suppliers are taking a leading role in consolidating and developing joint ventures.
``This is a potential negative in the form of market influence, but a positive through increased economies of scale and research capacity,'' he said. ``These combinations will become particularly important to multinational companies.''
Robert Gluskin, president and chief executive officer for Rexam plc's Healthcare Packaging unit, agreed.
``Going into a new country involves a risk assessment,'' he said. ``Often, companies don't know the industry standards or culture. If we can find a partner who is knowledgeable in emerging markets, we will form a joint venture. This minimizes risk and accelerates growth.''
London-based Rexam is a $3.1 billion company serving the specialty food, industrial, health-care and beauty packaging industries. The firm expects to grow through existing markets, acquisitions, joint ventures in emerging markets, alliances with customers and suppliers, and innovation.