The Less Packaging Company in partnership with Marks & Spencer has developed an innovative online packaging management tool, called Packspec, to help manage the impact of its General Merchandise packaging.
Packspec enables M&S to communicate and control best practice retail and transit packaging across its global supply base – helping to deliver both environmental and business benefits. The new online tool is in keeping with Plan A, M&S’ environmental and ethical programme, where the retailer is committed to reducing its General Merchandise transit packaging by 25% by 2015, as well as continuing to reduce packaging on the products it sells.
As part of the implementation of Packspec, Less Packaging is working closely with M&S’ domestic and international suppliers to develop packaging standards that are suitable for each product type and that can be easily produced in each geographical region. This is complex matrix of variables requires the in-depth knowledge the consultancy can offer from their years of experience in packaging design and manufacturing.
Throughout the last year, Less Packaging has reduced the number of different packaging formats for M&S bras from over 90 to just three formats – saving over 100 tonnes of packaging. This standardisation also provides several business benefits including cost savings achieved through economies of scale and increased levels of compliance throughout the supply chain.
"Packspec is a new innovation to aid both the retailer and supplier," explains Greg Lawson, Managing Partner at Less Packaging. "As packaging specialists, we can help suppliers by providing them with the resources and templates they need to effectively transport their products for M&S."
"Packaging compliance is becoming increasingly important, as retailers continue to focus on automation across their supply chain and ensure they responsibly source raw materials. Being able to communicate and control how product should be packaged remotely is a significant step forward for any retailer or brand owner sourcing product and packaging from overseas."
Kim Phillips, M&S’ Head of GM Packaging, said: "When we launched Plan A in 2007 we set ambitious targets to reduce our packaging by 25% – we’ve achieved this and gone even further with a 46% reduction, but there is still more we can do. That’s why when we extended Plan A in 2010; we set a 25% reduction target for our transit packaging by 2015. Through innovation and using unique tools like Packspec, we’re confident we can achieve this."