McKinsey suggests a three-step plan to help packaging companies through the crisis.

Step 1: Navigate the Now

After safety issues have been addressed, review the company’s production footprint and what it will need to ensure that it can keep running. Screen the supply chain to understand the risk of disruptions — such as dependence on a single supplier source for raw materials or on printers that might close — and then take actions to address anticipated disruptions and shortages. Next, examine how consumer sentiment may be evolving and how that could make some shifts necessary in its portfolio of packaging offerings.

Step 2: Plan for the Comeback

Build a recovery strategy that will include a mix of financial resilience, operational plans and strategic customer-focused moves (such as understanding the impact of COVID-19 on particular customers’ packaging-substrate choices). Identify packaging categories that are likely to return to strong levels of demand and consider the supply-chain requirements and production planning. Look for new pockets of growth potential with different packaging end uses and different substrates.

Step 3: Shape the Next Normal

Packaging-company leadership teams should assess which shifts are getting under way in customer and consumer sentiment and which behaviors may stick after the crisis — for example, hygiene requirements, e-commerce, and resurgent concerns about sustainability.

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Kristin Joker
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