10. Innovation and Product Management

The company discloses how innovations in products and services are enhanced through suitable processes which improve sustainability with respect to the company’s utilisation of resources and with regard to users. Likewise, a further statement is made with regard to if and how the current and future impact of the key products and services in the value chain and in the product life cycle are assessed.

Within the global INPACS network, product, process or business model innovations are continuously driven by systematic knowledge transfer coordinated by the central business development team. Regular surveys and analyses enable a group-wide sharing and upscaling of innovative local business practices. 

Furthermore, as key player and multiplier within global supply chains, our greatest levers for sustainable development are the design of our product range and the consulting of our customers along their value chain. Here is also our innovation focus: 

Due to the intense exchange with experts from the waste disposal industry, we have learned to include end-of-life consideration in our decision-making and service portfolio. Therefore, in order to reduce waste at our customers' sites and to promote circular economy, we analyse our product portfolio accordingly and question or test products and materials with regard to their recyclability or biodegradability. On this basis, we replace conventional products with innovative sustainable alternatives where appropriate. Furthermore, we make customers aware of innovative sustainable waste concepts so that they can achieve a higher recycling rate through consistent waste separation and usage of recyclable products.

Another important topic is the increasing number of small and repeat customer orders our members are struggling with, causing a great increase of climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions, which many customers are not even aware of. For this reason, an interdisciplinary team was established, that developed a business intelligence solution within few months enabling us now to digitally provide our customers with their order structure and the associated CO2 emissions. The innovative approach of simulating how bundled orders lead to reduced transport emissions facilitates the cooperative reduction of climate impact on a global scale. 

The development team took this tool as kick-off for developing more innovative instruments that further accelerate sustainable consumption in terms of SDG 12 (cf. criterion 12) through data visualisation such as
  • customers' product consumption/ procurement portfolio on the basis of sustainability attributes,
  • usage of electronic ordering and invoicing in order to avoid office paper usage and
  • amount of waste per waste category and quotation of recycling.
Building on this, we can work with our customers on procurement optimisation in order to achieve a positive environmental effect. 
Furthermore, many of our international customers are currently undergoing a digital transformation process and expect support and impulses from INPACS. For this, INPACS is proactively investing in its business transformation from being a hub of products to also become a hub of data which is of high value for its customers' operations as well as for its suppliers' product development.