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Sustainability Watch

January 2011
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ModusLink for Sustainable Packaging Design

MIAMISBURG, Ohio—As the supply chain evolves into a global, dynamic value chain—and sustainability becomes not just a social cause, but also an economic issue—product packaging has developed into a critical component of a sustainably designed value chain. With the help of EskoArtwork products, ModusLink Global Solutions is saving time and maximizing value for its clients through 3D virtual samples.

ModusLink Global Solutions, Inc. is a leader in executing value chain strategies to drive the supply chain, aftermarket, and e-Business processes of some of the world's largest technology and consumer goods companies. Its solutions span the cradle-to-cradle, multi-channel product lifecycle, from supply chain activities such as sourcing, configuration, and fulfillment; to revenue-generating e-commerce, customer service, and brand loyalty solutions.

In early 2009, ModusLink introduced its Sustainable Solutions Suite to help clients reduce the environmental impact of their supply chain processes, including sustainable packaging redesign. Using the Walmart Sustainable Packaging Modeling tool, COMPASS, ArtiosCAD, and other industry tools, ModusLink measures and analyzes the amount of carbon emissions of various packaging types and provides customers with feedback as to whether or not their traditional packaging is eco-friendly.

"We model current packaging along with multiple new variations for the client to consider that compare labor, material pallet density, and carbon emissions," explains Ben Sligar, global packaging engineer for ModusLink. "With the 3D design capabilities, we can email designs for review, and ask for a physical mock-up when we are close to the final design," he says.

"Many times, a customer will tell me that they need something as soon as tomorrow. I can design a package and set up a Webex presentation quickly," says Sligar. "Getting approvals is often 50 percent faster. While it depends how complicated designs are, prototypes are faster to make. Then we can easily go right into production, and speed up the production timetable."

ModusLink uses a number of tools to produce the most efficient packaging and to reduce greenhouse emissions. "We can create different structural styles, look at different boxes, look at the blank sizes, and reduce the amount of materials as we design the package," explains Sligar. "With ArtiosCAD, I can go through a sample library and design with less board, searching for the most efficient use of materials. Of course, when virtual prototypes are made, we save the cost of shipping prototypes and with online presentations, I can reduce travel expenses."





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