Interview with Bernd Philipp Ph.D in Management Sciences – Professor and Researcher at the École Supérieure du Commerce Extérieur (ESCE) in Paris

Practical information: Packaging against waste
Aug 2015
Michel FONTAINE, CNE President, interview
Sep 2015

Interview with Bernd Philipp Ph.D in Management Sciences – Professor and Researcher at the École Supérieure du Commerce Extérieur (ESCE) in Paris

Photo_Bernd_PhilippCould you tell us a bit about your activities and research?

I am a professor and researcher in logistics and supply chain management at ESCE in Paris. As such, I take part in educating our students – future executives – in this field, studying economics through its physical and data flows, “from the supplier’s supplier to the client’s client”. As for my research, my work and papers for Circee (Centre for Information, Research and Consultation on Exceptional Experiences) in Paris and CRET-LOG (Centre for Research on Transport and Logistics) in Aix-en-Provence are centred on sustainable logistics (as in sustainable development), the B2C/marketing logistics interface, and innovation in logistics/supply chain management (SCM).

What are ESCE’s main concerns when it comes to the packaging industry?

Can the CNE legitimately document some of these concerns or organise conferences to introduce packaging to ESCE students?

Packaging plays various roles that directly involve the company and its executives, such as the marketing role (packaging as a “mute salesman”), the logistic role (packaging as protection), and the social/ecological role (packaging and sustainable development). All these roles directly or indirectly involve knowledge, methodology, and tools that our students, as future executives, have to learn. Regardless of the student’s chosen major (international marketing, supply chain management, entrepreneurship, etc.), their company will have to deal with packaging to produce, sell, protect, promote, and track products and even certain services in real time (for example, experience gifts, like “Red Letter Days”). As for me, packaging is at the centre of my field of choice, logistics and supply chain management, as a direct contributing factor to the quality and performance of the logistics service (“the right product at the right place at the right time in the right condition for the right price…”). This applies to any type of packaging: primary packaging for the consumer, secondary packaging for the shopper, and tertiary packaging for the producer and the haulier. ESCE is open to any and all constructive interaction with the main issues of the professional world. Any cooperation with the CNE, be it at a conference or during a seminar or internship, can significantly help our students to plan their careers. This is particularly true for our final year students: not only are they looking for their first jobs, but they are also working on their 9-month research project that is often focused on a packaging issue. One of my students is currently working on “packaging purchasing strategies and related supplier sourcing” for Bic.

As an academic, you are part of the CNE “Packaging and Logistics” working group. Could you tell us more about what pushed you to contribute to the collaborative thinking on this subject?

I had known about the CNE for a while, especially through its publications in a field that, back in 2001, lacked teaching manuals and scientific articles, particularly with regard to management science. At the time, I was just starting to teach a packaging course at the IUT (University Institute of Technology) in Avignon. The CNE is also very active in raising awareness about sustainable development among the general public, much like Eco-Emballages. At the time of the creation of your “Packaging and Logistics” working group, I was researching the quality of logistics from the shopper point of view. The right packaging can contribute to the shopper or consumer’s satisfaction and loyalty in the same way as the product’s core characteristics (design, quality, sturdiness, etc.). At the time, Professor David B. Grant from Hull University and myself were gathering empirical data and consulting with professional experts to compare theory with what was happening on the ground. I was surfing the web when I chanced upon an article announcing the creation of your working group; I was at the right place at the right time.

You are actively contributing to the drafting of the “Packaging and Logistics” document. Can you tell us about how you view working group’s organisation (leadership, network, report, etc.)?

I was entirely satisfied with the organisation, length, and rhythm of the meetings. The group works very efficiently. The contributors’ enthusiasm is fuelled by the increasing and noticeable progress of the final document. The working group is a sort of “expertise pool” in which various types of expertise (regulation, logistics, marketing, manufacturing, recycling, etc.) complement each other perfectly. Despite our differences (between public and private decision-makers, for instance), every contributor is motivated by the same “DNA” and the same energy for the packaging/logistics interface. The atmosphere is very pleasant and relaxed, thanks to the CNE board members, staff, and beautiful Parisian offices. The discussions provided me with good practices, concrete examples, and real-life applications that I was able to incorporate into my lectures, helping me to find the right balance between practice and theory to meet my students’ growing expectations in an ever-changing world.

Taking a step back, what do you take away from the objectives of a not for profit organisation like the CNE, working towards the “best of packaging”?

I view the CNE as a very efficient organisation and communication network, bringing together producers, distributors, citizens, scientists, and organisations to spread knowledge and improve the industry’s competitiveness, keeping in mind the ever-increasing importance of sustainable development.

How could the collaboration and growing relationship between the CNE and ESCE be strengthened on a daily basis?

There are many possibilities: organising joint CNE/ESCE conferences, as mentioned earlier; sending our students to the CNE or one of its members for an internship or a research project; inviting some of your experts to give lectures in ESCE classes; or launching new scientific projects with our researchers in supply chain management and marketing, particularly in collaboration with the CNE.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would just like to thank the CNE for making me part of this fascinating adventure! I look forward to being involved in future mutually beneficial projects.