Gregory S. D’Amico, Ph.D. is the Gravure Endowed Professor, at Rochester Institute of Technology, Dept. of Graphic Media Science & Technology, College of Engineering Technology where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Digital Print Processes and Print Production Technologies. His research has concentrated on the successful implementation of management information systems (MIS) in the graphic communications industry and, more recently, on the advantages and challenges associated with inkjet printing on corrugated cardboard. He is the author of three books, Customer-Centered Production, Customer-Centered Marketing, and, Business Growth through Effective MIS. He formerly was the Director of the Center for Graphic Communications at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Dr. D’Amico received his B.A. degree in Economics from SUNY at Stony Brook and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Graphic Communications Management and Technology from New York University.
The Deployment of Tracking Technologies In Digital Inkjet Corrugated Production Using Printed Marks for Brand Supply Chain Management
Gregory S. D’Amico, Ph.D. and Christopher Bondy, M.S., Rochester Institute of Technology
The potential for growth of supply chain tracking technology is particularly strong in the packaging field. Industry experts state that it would be wise for executives involved in operations and marketing, packaged goods, retail and packaging to pay attention. (1)It has been stated that smart packaging is still, however, in its embryonic stage and that no industrial application is anywhere near maturity. (1)
Three general areas sighted having the strongest potential for smart packaging applications include: 1. supply chain transformation–traceability, agility (optimization), and sustainability (reducing the environmental footprint); 2.product integrity–authenticity, security, and quality and safety; and, 3.customer experience–traceability, agility (optimization), and sustainability (reducing the environmental footprint). (2)
The potential benefits of smart packaging for brand managers has been noted. According to Michael Elias, at the AIPIA Summit in Shanghai, China, “Regardless of the media used to attract customers and market sales, maintaining a direct, active and online channel of communication with the consumer must be an effort to be conquered through the packaging itself. You can’t ignore the power of packaging since it’s already in the hands of the consumer.” (3)
One particular print packaging area which is poised for growth is supply chain tracking technology that has evolved for the inkjet corrugated market. The digitally driven inkjet process is particularly well suited for printed mark tracking technology (overt/covert). Together, digital inkjet and printed mark technology have the capability to give each and every printed corrugated box a unique identity.
Fueling this market growth potential are the technological advances in inkjet corrugated, which in recent years have been revolutionary. Both pre-print liner (web) and direct print (post-print) corrugated have experienced tremendous inkjet press developments in terms of output, quality, and customization. The break-even point (run length) in each product application area is expected to continue to move higher as inkjet press speeds continue to increase. And, many advantages with respect to customer flexibility (new market applications), cost of operation efficiencies (shorter runs possible/short-term creative campaigns) and print quality (digitalization, customization, coated board) have been realized.(4)
How can the deployment of printed mark tracking technology in digital inkjet corrugated production benefit the supply chain management of brand owners?
Secondary research will be conducted to provide an overview of existing printed mark technologies(overt/covert) and identify those current applications in digital ink-jet corrugated production.Those printed mark tracking applications already benefiting supply chain brand management,as identified in the literature, will be highlighted.
The researches will develop a semi-structured, open-ended qualitative questionnaire as a test instrument in the study. A panel of experts will be assembled to test for validity and reliability of the instrument. One-on-one in depth interviews will be conducted with“lead-user”consumer product brand managers and marketing directors.
Purposive sampling will be utilized to identify “lead-user”brand managers and marketing directors involved with inkjet corrugated print packaging products.“The purposive sampling technique is a type of non-type probability sampling that is most effective when one needs to study a certain cultural domain with knowledgeable experts within.” (5)
The researchers will utilize the ‘deep insight method’ of qualitative interviewing to provide the participants an opportunity to think and elaborate on how the applications of printed mark tracking technology can be incorporated into digital inkjet corrugated print packaging to their advantage.Deep customer insight methods surpass traditional market research methods to gain true emotional responses that will unearth innovative opportunities that go beyond functional product requirements. (6)
The data will be reviewed and results will be generated using thematic analysis. Thematic analysis is a six phase process which includes: 1. Familiarizing yourself with the data; 2. Connecting initial codes; 3. Searching for themes; 4. Reviewing potential themes; 5. Refining and naming themes; and, 6. Producing a report.(7)Results will be presented at the Annual TAGA Conference 2021(to be held virtually).
1. “Capturing Value from the Smart Packaging Revolution,” White Paper, Deloitte Development LLC, 2018.
2. “Using Smart Sensors to Drive Supply Chain Innovation, Deloitte Insights,” White Paper, Deloitte Development LLC, 2018.
3. “Smart Packaging Plays a Key Role for Brands as a Marketing Tool,” RFID Journal, rfidjournalism.com 2018.
4. D’Amico, G.S., “Advantages and Challenges Associated with Inkjet Printing on Corrugated Cardboard,” GCEA Annual ConferenceProceedings, Clemson, S.C., 2019.
5. Tongo, D. “Purposive Sampling as a Tool for Informant Selection,” Ethnobotony Research Applications, 2007.
6. Straker, K. et.al. “Comparing and Complementing Methods: Traditional Market Research Vs. Deep Customer Insights,” Consilience and Innovation in Design Proceedings and Program, Vol. (1), 2013.
7. Braun, V. and Clarke, V. Thematic Analysis, APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology, 2012.