Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the[PACK]out with the support and sponsorship of Oliver Healthcare Packaging. the[PACK]out is a healthcare packaging conference focused on providing industry professionals the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and learn about three important pillars: design, usability, and sustainability.
Before I dive into my experience at the event, I wanted to share a little bit about me. I’m currently attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and am in my third year as a business administration student with a concentration in Consumer Packaging. As a student, I was initially unsure of where or how I would fit into the packaging industry … that is, until I was introduced to healthcare packaging! After my first Co-Op at Johnson and Johnson Surgical Vision, I fell in love with healthcare packaging’s impact on bettering and saving lives.
I first heard about the[PACK]out event in January, and immediately knew I wanted to attend the conference. It seemed different from other conferences since it was “created by packaging professionals for packaging professionals.” In other words, the same people who planned the event would be both colleagues and competitors collaborating together—and wow, it really was something special!
As a student, I am very new to packaging, let alone healthcare packaging. Attending the[PACK]out quickly immersed me into the industry for three action-packed days. I had the opportunity to interact with every part of the packaging value chain, from resin suppliers to testing labs to medical device manufacturers! Having an opportunity to connect with so many people provided me with such a valuable opportunity. It helped me to better understand the full packaging process. In addition, the conference gave me the unique opportunity to hear from professionals about where they think the industry is headed. Not only did I get to listen to the speakers, but the[PACK]out provided a setting where I could meet and speak with them afterwards, too. As students, we are taught about the many packaging principles, but it was so encouraging to see them play out in conversations throughout the week with hot topics like recycling packaging within clinical settings, the impact of growing regulations on medical packaging, and the influence of packaging usability on patients and nurses.
ve always heard that this industry is welcoming and collaborative. Last week, I experienced that firsthand. I was able to meet many packaging professionals. What I love about this industry is that people are quick to say hello and they truly want to see you get involved. I particularly enjoyed the “Industry Power Hour” where I was encouraged to get involved in organizations like American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), Kilmer Innovations in Packaging (KIPP), or Medical Device Packaging Technical Committee (MDPTC). It was energizing to hear from industry leaders who wanted me to get involved even though I am just starting my career in packaging!
Lastly, at Cal Poly, we are constantly using the phrase "learn by doing". It was exciting to see that this conference embodies that phrase. A great example of this was on Day 3 in a workshop where attendees worked together to create a packaging design to protect a fragile device. This workshop simulated the packaging design process, and the impact different suppliers have on your end product. In my opinion, this conference is not one to miss!
Thank you for sponsoring me, Team Oliver!