Packaging Innovation Excellence

Unilever Global Packaging

Packaging Innovation Excellence

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Develop a Packaging Excellence Programme to support the challenge to raise the capability for Bigger, Better and Faster Packaging Innovation projects


Henkan have been supporting the improvement of packaging innovation capability through a series of initiatives since 2010, initially supporting the “Great Work” Programme. At this time we supported the development of the overall strategy and facilitation of the agenda through a nominated specialist team. In conjunction with this a series of assessments and “How to….” manuals were created to ensure the transfer of capability to the Packaging teams.

This programme was further influenced through the creation of a case study to show the business case and publicise across the Unilever business gaining further commitment. The culmination of these support activities was that the capabilities across the development centres were growing, and in effect the floor was raised to a standard where the mission was being realised.

The next challenge was to maximise the potential and raise the ceiling of capability, leveraging the know-how and advancements in techniques. Henkan were then commissioned to work with Unilever Global Packaging to develop an elite programme of packaging excellence.


There were two key elements to the programme: firstly to collate, and in some cases develop, a reference of know-how for best practice capability application, ultimately building a series of handbooks that would be sourced as the reference guide for future designed activities. The capability areas were defined in line with the 1 Unilever Packaging Process.

The second element was to design and deliver a practical training programme based on the capability content to be then run globally to support the progression of the Global Packaging Development community. The programme would be designed in conjunction with the Unilever CI Project Manager

  • Reference guides were developed in conjunction with the nominated experts in the techniques in Unilever and produced against the background of best practice project application ensuring the correct balance of theory to underpin the technique and practical reference to assure understanding and relevance of the content. Ultimately the content was collated in a series of handbooks that would be used as individual capability events and also as the basis for the Packaging Excellence course.
  • The Packaging Excellence Course was designed as a one-week event where delegates were taken on the journey of the development process from Brand Design through to Scale-Up and Validation Capability. As an immersion course, the delegates would also develop their Leadership and Teamworking capabilities in order to deliver a credible innovation proven concept at the end of the week.

As a programme the delegates would return to their work and project environment to put into further practice their learning and deeper understanding of the subject matter. One major influence of the course and the overall programme was the understanding of how the way of working on projects had to take a more holistic and inclusive approach.

The first event has been run in conjunction with capital investments in capabilities across the business.


Net promotion: Delegates were enthused by the experience to the point where several were requesting to run the event in their Global centres. Plans for further strategic events are compiled for 2016/7.

In addition, there has been an uplift in the demand for specific modules for which Categories believe value and a gap exists.

Based upon the initial case study and reference for the programme the expectation is to realise:

  • A return on investment (ROI) of up to 3.8:1
  • Lead Time reduction savings of over £1Million (36% reduction in Lead Time)
  • 31% reduction in waste
  • Sustained OEE performance on introduction of the new product

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May 2021