A platform for Packaging Logistics Development: a systems approach

University dissertation from Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University

Abstract: Packaging Logistics is a concept that recognises the need for coordination of the packaging system and its manifold functions throughout a package’s life cycle. Packaging Logistics is an area in need for substantial theoretical building. This dissertation elaborates on its underpinnings and suggests conceptual models that should be useful in better understanding the core of the concept, its underestimated potential and in showing its influence on operational as well as strategic decisions in supply chains. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the influence of Packaging Logistics on the efficiency and effectiveness of the supply chain and to contribute to establishing the needed platform for further Packaging Logistics development. Ultimately, this research aims at providing means of better competitiveness through better awareness of the packaging issues in industry. Based on in-depth data and results from case studies, a literature review and a survey were deployed to further link the data and strengthen the foundations of the theoretical contributions of this research. The theoretical framework of this dissertation is based on systems thinking and the multidisciplinary nature of the technically based area of packaging. The systems approach is used to challenge the functionally limited way of managing the packaging issues and to expand the packaging perspectives from a single firm to a supply chain context. This research shows that Packaging Logistics is involved in most of the critical processes from the producer to the point of sale and represents the single most important interface between the products and the logistics system. Packaging Logistics can thus be used as a vehicle for enhancing operational efficiency as well as strategic effectiveness. It was shown that the Packaging issues are affected by functional considerations that are demonstrated in evident trade-offs between logistics and marketing when packaging is chosen. Applying a systems approach on Packaging Logistics facilitated a better comprehension of the complexity of the system and resulted in a number of conceptual models and matrices that may help in the learning process which is necessary to build Packaging Logistics theories and establish a platform for Packaging Logistics. As a start, this research suggests a number of models and procedures that can make expected benefits happen.

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