Product packaging is made from a choice of material designs depending on the product esthetics and functionality, and according to economic, health and marketing criteria.
For example, our guideline at L’Oréal is to produce ever more beautiful products and to be more responsible with extensive research, technical choices with a use of different materials, depending on new processes and new decoration and finishing techniques. Our expert teams are extremely careful about materials, obviously in compliance with legislation requirements and in order to constantly ensure performance.
What are the profile and the training of packaging experts?
Packaging expertise is a job requiring knowledge and experience that have to be constantly updated. Our teams are made of executives who have extensively a high knowledge of our products, and scientists who are true “experts-investigators”, on the lookout for improvements and innovations.
An expert should also be scientifically rigorous and sensitive to the product. Curiosity and the ability to understand new cultures and new consumption patterns are also required.
How is the unit that you run at L’Oréal working?
L’Oréal Group has always had expertise units. For several years these teams have been consolidated in particular in the fields of materials, makeup, electronics, aerosols and “dispensing” (for which there currently is a huge demand), plastics, finishes, glass, print, design (in packaging but also in POS advertising) and “sustainability”.
Our purpose is to create reference documents for design choices (technical guides, position papers), to develop the skills of the actors of product development worldwide and especially in the remote areas where the needs for learning are huge, and to implement best practices supported by design processes and other sharing tools in order to identify the best industrial solutions for quality improvement and cost reduction.
Experts are working on a daily basis as “supports” for innovation, through their scientific analyses and advices. They work in close collaboration with direct suppliers, but also second and third tier suppliers, and even “supply chain” actors as well as other sectors such as the food industry and industrial goods, in order to implement methods of materials processing or new settings.
We want to design always more performing products as regards the consumers’ safety and eco-design, according to the Sustainable Packaging Report, a fundamental principle which has been enacted by L’Oréal for more than ten years. We constantly have to anticipate, to avoid potential risks, legislation changes and the consumers’ new expectations for example.
In this regard, we have been promoting in-company training. We also work with expert laboratories, universities and technical institutes worldwide. Nevertheless, we are still looking for new experts, motivated by an innovation and recommendation method!
Among the missions assigned to your “experts”, you emphasize – and this is very interesting – the importance of the professional network.
Indeed, I have had the opportunity to observe this fact in the working groups to which I am associated in CNE. Experts and other packaging specialists must be able to communicate, gain knowledge and also defend the profession.
An expert has to answer a permanent challenge: finding solutions to all the problems that we can meet in the product launches. To this end, the expert needs to rely on his expertise but also on his knowledge of the product and on his network!