Packaging services throughout the storage and distribution phases.

Packaging is a very important element of any business. Actually, Soroka (2012) notes that goods or services are as good as the way they are packaged and presented to the end user. This explains why many businesses often invest in the technology of enclosing and protecting products for distribution, storage, sell and use. Rowntree (2016) defines the term packaging as the coordinate system of preparing goods and services for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale and end use. It is an important business undertaking because it literally assures the safety of the goods and services throughout the storage and distribution phases. In other words, a company that does proper packaging is able to not only contain but also protect and preserve their products. By so doing, marketing and selling them becomes very easy and convenient. Many governments, institutions, industries and businesses from across the world have fully integrated the concept of packaging into their business models. This paper specifically seeks to explore the packaging process at Four Films Printing Group.  Company background Four Films Printing Group is one of the largest print media houses is Kuwait. Established in 1976, the company has propelled itself through a span of three decades to become one of the leading corporations in the country. According to its official website, much of this success has been courtesy of the talented, skilled and well educated team of 300 people who work day and night to not only push but also maintain the high standards (Four Films, 2017). Their much coveted efforts have seen Four Films Printing Group rapidly grow and expand from word processing and metal lead-slug machines to state-of-the-art offset and digital printing services. Today, the company bears a name to reckon with throughout the Middle East.  3 / 8Going by Four Films’ mission and vision statements, the company is destined for greatness. Apparently, all the efforts at the organization are focused on making it the ultimate leader and print media throughout Kuwait and its environs. Ideally, this explains why for over thirty years now the company has invested in product differentiation so as to continuously create value for its esteemed customers. According to the official website for instance, throughout this period Four Films has endeavored to design and deliver products and services that complement its visual culture seamlessly. Its ultimate goal is to identify itself with a wider spectrum of services and skills that render unparalleled solutions to the region (Four Films, 2017). This is enshrined in its vision of combining creative design and fine craftsmanship with unsurpassed service as well as cutting-edge technology to provide clients with highly integrated design and print solutions. The track record actually speaks for itself throughout the thirty plus years that it has been in operation.  The packaging process Packaging is a very crucial element of Four Films’ business model. As highlighted earlier, the company’s main mission is to become the ultimate leader and print media throughout the Middle East. Apparently, there are many other reputable companies offering the same services in this region. According to Rowntree (2016), these companies are pausing as worthy competitors for Four Films meaning that it has to up its game not only in differentiating its products and services, but also in the manner in which it delivers them to its customers. Basically, this is in line with realizing its goal of delivering state-of-the-art print solutions that are tailor made for each problem.   To achieve on the above objective, Four Films has an entire fully staffed department that handles packaging of all its products and services. According to the company’s official website, 4 / 8this department has the sole responsibility of ensuring that the company’s brand is well represented through any form of interaction with customers. In addition, it is tasked with not only attracting, but also maintaining both local and regional clients that might come across its products. It is a critical responsibility considering the fact that there are many other print houses the have invested almost similar efforts and resources to sell their brand and image to the same customers.  Market share analysis of 2016 projects that Four Films enjoys a sizeable portion of the regions market. Yoxall et al. (2016) attribute much of this success to the manner in which the company has been presenting itself in the market. Apparently, it has taken product and service branding as an opportunity to propel both its brand and image in the market. Ideally, the packaging department has been empowered with the resources and latest cutting edge packaging technologies to achieve on its objectives. At a glance, one can easily notice that packaging at the organization is done with a fleet of printing, laser-cutting and stamping equipment. These equipment are operated by skillful staff including 3D packaging designers who give it a finishing touch that is unique to the company.   Four Films’ packaging process is simple and follows five crucial steps. These include consultation, design proofs, calibration, validation testing and finally logistics.  Consultation Basically this is the first step in the packaging process. Any introduction of a new product/service or an improvement of an already existing one often triggers critical thinking that is usually geared towards ensuring that the same product or services enters the market in style. Ideally, a lot of consultations go on at this stage with the objective of harvesting any innovative ideas that are brought on the table. The companies wish is usually to work with a packaging 5 / 8supplier that is willing to address all the branding needs so as to breathe life into its mission and vision. Apparently, Soroka (2012) notes that consultation is the starting point to such quest of successful end result.  Design proofs Design proofs are a very critical step as far as packaging process is concerned. According to Rowntree (2016) this steps comes in handy especially when a manufacturer or service provider is making substantial changes to his packaging. Some of these changes may require a complete overhaul of the packaging. In such a case, Four Films often seek to see the prospects of the change before making a full commitment to the design (Four Films, 2017). This is done through a proofing process which usually tests the design to establish whether it will translate well into an actual piece. This process is critical because it directly influences the decision of whether go on with whatever project or abandon it altogether (Yoxall et al., 2016).  Calibrations Calibration is the third step in the Four Films’ packaging process. This step mainly focuses on ensuring that package designs maintain their desired colors throughout their development processes. Apparently, color quality is a crucial element of any packaging work. As such, since the same attribute is often perceived in a number of different ways, calibrations are made to ensure consistency and integrity. It achieves this so as to ensure that the final print pieces match not only the branding requirements but also the vision of the organization (Four Films, 2017).  Validation testing Despite being seemingly perfect in packaging as well as partnering with other printing experts, Four Films highly regards testing of all its projects. This culture has paid of remarkably 6 / 8especially in the context helping cop with uncertainties that are so synonymous with many projects. Packaging in particular often contains a high number of variables which can only be identified through specific testing. Four Films carries out a number of these tests such as fiber testing, humidity testing, board stiffness, tape testing, drop tests, open force tests and score-bend testing. All these tests have ensured that its product packaging design is viable and provides high quality experience for end users.  Logistics This step specifically seeks to address any sort of questions that might have skipped all the other stages. As highlighted above, many of the previous steps are concerned with the critical details of the packaging. For this step however, a lot of focus is given to the little details such as how the packaged products will be packed into the cartons, how the will be wrapped, mounted or how the film lamination will be done. Four Films uses different innovative packaging suppliers to handle some of these details together with others such as overwrapping, insertion, window patching, kitting and pack out (Four Films, 2017). This step has been critical because it has enabled the company to speed up its supply chain as well as prevent incurring additional manufacturing costs. Conclusion Four Films Printing Group is one of the corporations in the world that have demonstrated the power of packaging. As illustrated earlier, the company has managed to stay ahead of competition throughout the many years it has been in operation largely because of how it has presented its good and services into the market. Ideally, it has taken advantage of the power of image to influence the perceptions of customers regarding its products. This starts with first understanding what customers value and packaging it in a way that captivates and attracts them. 7 / 8In addition, besides perfecting the art of packaging, the company has further supplemented its efforts by working with credible suppliers that have expertise in its industry.