Big opportunities for growth through artificial intelligence, B+P research shows

© Unsplash | Joshua Sortino

We conducted research on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence in the packaging industry and its implications” in Q3 2021. Our research shows that, on the one hand, AI technology is seen as a great opportunity to overcome central challenges. Nevertheless, the packaging sector is very hesitant to use AI – and at the same time overestimates its own position and performance. Yet there are great opportunities for growth. We present the key findings of the research, showing concrete example projects that bring great benefits and take a look at the legal framework conditions.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining a foothold in a whole range of sectors and industries. Banks, healthcare and technology in particular are playing in the front row. The packaging sector, on the other hand, is falling far behind. Companies are very hesitant to use AI. Yet the potential for growth through AI is also great in our industry.

In order to provide a sound basis for this topic, we conducted a survey in the third quarter of 2021 to examine the use of AI and the attitude of the industry towards artificial intelligence.


Key findings of the B+P research

  • The key opportunities in the use of AI for the packaging industry lie primarily in accelerated digital innovation and development, which translates into improved efficiency.
  • We have identified the following fields in particular as concrete goals in the use of AI technology in the packaging industry:
    • Improved customer loyalty and customer experience
    • Acquisition of additional customer information
    • Automation of business processes


Concrete goals with major benefits in practice

When investigating concrete application possibilities, we concentrated on example projects that pursue concrete goals with major benefits.

  • Improved customer loyalty, quantitatively and qualitatively: The use of AI-driven service capabilities such as virtual assistants and chatbots enables the company to communicate with a large number of customers in parallel.  At the same time, technology allows companies to produce a more personalised customer experience, reduce costs and generate greater customer satisfaction.
  • Additional customer information: By collecting and analysing large amounts of data, AI can reliably predict customer preferences and make product recommendations.
  • Automate business processes: Automating and optimising routine processes and tasks saves companies time, reduces operating costs, helps prevent errors and thus increases productivity. Automating everyday activities and obligations also allows labour to be used more efficiently. Employees can thus focus their time and energy on higher value tasks.


The situation in the industry

Last year, Global Data already took a look at AI in the packaging industry in its Emerging Technology Trends Survey 2020. In line with our findings, 80 percent of the executives surveyed said that their company is ready for the digital revolution. At the same time, only 58 per cent said their company is already investing in AI technology.


The legal situation

The European Commission presented a legal framework for trustworthy AI on 21 April 2021. Embedded in this is the EU Machinery Regulation, which aims, among other things, to consider artificial intelligence in the context of the risks of new technologies. The regulation also aims to create clarity in definitions and areas of application. It is not yet clear when the proposed legal framework will come into force.


No one has to wait for the future

Companies in the sector overestimate their performance in the field of AI, although they are quite realistic about the opportunities for qualitative and quantitative growth. AI represents a valid promise, especially for overcoming central challenges in the area of customer loyalty, customer preferences and automation or optimisation of business processes. No one has to – or should – wait for the future.

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