Christophe Guesnet, General Manager of Procurement, L’Oréal

For the second consecutive year, L’Oréal held on 23 and 24 November in one of its sites in St. Ouen, a sort of small-size in-house exhibition on packaging innovations, called "Cherry Pack". A format that matches, according to L’Oréal, an ambition to develop on the long term the group’s relationships with its suppliers.

After a pre-selection stage performed by an internal jury, composed of managers coming from such departments as "Purchasing", "Packaging & Development", "Research" and "Prospective Marketing", seven suppliers of primary (Jackel, Rexam, RPC, Yonwoo) and secondary packaging (RLC), of samples (Bioplan), or of finishing and decoration services (Pochet-Qualipac-Solev Group), had the opportunity to present their innovations to both the General and Marketing managers representing all the brands of the L’Oréal group.

"Innovation is at the heart of L’Oréal’s strategy and the collaborative work undertaken with our packaging suppliers is an illustration of this. During these two days, the selected suppliers, briefed on our main expectations, presented to Marketing and General Management teams of all our brands, their ideas, particularly focusing on the way to deliver in the most performing way our new formulas, to offer new gestures and new aesthetic designs. Exchanges which have developed during these two days were a unique opportunity to share complementary expertises and imagine together tomorrow’s products," explained Christophe Guesnet, General Manager of Procurement for L’Oréal.

Indeed unlike the first edition, where participants were left to present the innovations of their choice, L’Oréal, this time, wanted to share more of its brands strategy by providing a clear brief detailing the different expectations expressed not only by the Group’s Research & Innovation, but also by the Marketing teams of each brand. Participants, however, had free reins to spontaneously propose other types of innovations.

Hence this second edition was a mix of both "ready-to-launch" packaging solutions responding in a very targeted manner to the needs expressed in the specifications of the project and of solutions of a more "prospective" nature.

An innovation incubator

For L’Oréal, Cherry Pack is not only an additional step in building closer partnerships with suppliers, it is also a tool to accelerate the innovation process. A concern shared by world leaders in the field, as was observed with the launch earlier this year by the German firm Beiersdorf, of a web platform designed to offer the group’s external partners a better integration in the innovation process.

Philippe Thuvien, General Manager of Packaging & Development, L’Oréal

"At L’Oréal, innovation is rooted in our DNA. In an increasingly competitive economic environment, we must offer our brands some innovations that meet their needs and the characteristics of their markets in an always more responsive dynamic and the partnerships with our suppliers help speed up packaging innovation," emphasised Philippe Thuvien, General Manager of Packaging & Development for L’Oréal.

The initiative seems in any case to be a fruitful one, since the group has announced the launch, for the first quarter of 2012, of "four major innovations" derived from proposals of suppliers who had participated to the first edition of the Cherry Pack and therefore a direct result of the new co-development approach intended by L’Oréal.