Interview with Norman Häusler, Director Corporate Product Development, ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG
Exclusively for K-MAG
Those who work meticulously to design a product can hardly await the day they can hold the finished item in their hands. Alpla is a company headquartered in Hard, Austria, that speeds up this process. Customers can convert their ideas into reality and ideally leave Alpla's STUDIOa with a prototype in hand. In this K-MAG interview, Norman Häusler describes the technologies that are part of this process and explains the product development process.
Mr. Häusler, what prompted your company to create the STUDIOaproduct development space?
Norman Häusler. Copyright: ALPLA
Norman Häusler: When it comes to product development, we have been at our customers' side for decades from the first design draft and a prototype to the finished product. Aside from our technical know-how, customers can rely on our extensive experience in design. With the STUDIOa we have created an innovative space that focuses on this design aspect and enables us to collaborate with our customers to develop sustainable plastic packaging solutions with a custom design effectively and in a short time.
What are the technologies your customers can utilize for product development at STUDIOa?
Häusler: The objective of a workshop is to give customers a realistic idea of the packaging at the point of sale and ideally send them home with a finished sample. To do this, we implement various methods from our modeling and simulation department, for example, and combine it with computer-assisted media such as virtual and augmented reality. We also feature a powerful 3D printer on location to assist in this endeavor.
How is new product development implemented in the STUDIO?
Häusler: Product development primarily focuses on the close collaboration between cross-functional teams on the customer side and on our side. It's important to bring the experts from a variety of disciplines such as development, production, toolmaking, the filling lines, or marketing together and encourage decision making. This facilitates fast feedback loops to boost the development process. We offer a wide variety of packaging solutions, from the first design draft to the finished product.
Virtual reality allows customers to experience the designed products even more realistically. Copyright: ALPLA
What feedback are you getting from your customers?
Häusler: Our customers have been very supportive of our new concept. We received very positive feedback during the launch and the first workshops we hosted. This is also reflected in increased appointment requests. Or to put it another way: STUDIOa is already very well booked!
How does Alpla plan to drive changes in the plastics industry in the future?
Häusler: Since the founding of our company in 1955, innovation has been part of our corporate DNA. This means understanding the market and its constantly changing requirements. Speed to market has always been and still is a key aspect of what we do. We also emphasize the development of sustainable packaging, which includes material savings, recycling rate increases, or the design of ideal recyclable packaging. It is important to remember that only the perfect combination of aesthetics and functionality makes the difference at the point of sale.