Thinking outside the shoebox

14 April 2010
Sarah Campbell blog picEvery now and then an idea or a product comes to market that makes you think: “I wish I’d thought of that.” The bagless vacuum cleaner, the MP3 player, the folding bicycle: strong, simple designs that build on existing concepts and change the way we think about them. Now sportswear manufacturer Puma is having a go, although not with its T-shirts and shoes. As part of its long-term sustainability programme it’s had a crack at redesigning the shoebox. Puma's "Clever Little Bag" The designer Yves Behar spent 21 months coming up with the new packaging, basically a cardboard frame wrapped in a recycled plastic bag with handles. The company has dubbed it the "Clever Little Bag". It uses 65 per cent less cardboard than a conventional shoebox and the company believes that the lighter packaging will help it cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tonnes a year, as well as saving energy and water in the manufacturing process. Eventually, Behar says, the idea will be to do away with the cardboard altogether and use only the bag, but for the time being they are constrained by the supply process (such as storage and transport) and needed something that was as rigid and the same shape as a normal shoebox. So now it’s the turn of supply chain professionals to think as innovatively as the designers. It’s up to them to help this new product to an established market. How would you go about it?
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