BtoB

Packtion gaining traction

A niche hub

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Packtion is the type of hub that engineers love, but it might be a difficult sell to a mainstream b-to-b audience. This is precisely why involvement from P&G and DuPont plays such a pivotal role. Their cash—the amounts have not been disclosed—will cool Packtion’s burn rate. Moreover, their collective hundreds of years’ worth of packaging and related intellectual property experience will give the e-marketplace a good deal of credibility.

As part of their commitment, P&G and DuPont will funnel some of their packaging work toward Packtion. This alone could go a long way in helping it attract the mass of clients that it, or any independent hub, needs to be successful. "They’ve entrusted us to develop these properties," said Packtion Executive Chairman Ed Lapekas. "And that gives us a halo effect."

P&G, Cincinnati, will consult Packtion on nitty-gritty matters such as package specification management. It will also contribute cataloging expertise. Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont, meanwhile, will give its experience in building digital matrices that allow for sending and viewing graphics online. DuPont will also do some viral marketing for Packtion, steering some clients toward the hub, said Sandra Van Wormer, e-business director at DuPont’s packaging and industrial polymers unit. "This offers both our customers and DuPont ways to do business better, especially steps in the supply chain," she said.

Julian Chu, director-retail practice at Cambridge, Mass.-based e-consultancy Mainspring Inc., said that consumer packaged goods companies will increasingly migrate to hubs such as Packtion because of cost-cutting pressures. "Consumer packaged goods companies are looking at e-enabling across all aspects of the value chain," Chu said. "And [packaging] is a significant portion of their cost structures."

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