When one of the world’s largest retailers experienced increased demand for wholesome, inexpensive chicken nuggets, the merchant turned to its vendors in the hopes of finding one that could provide a large volume of product…and fast. The quick turnaround time proved to be too difficult for some manufacturers while the price point was prohibitive to the bottom lines of others. Weaver Chicken, part of Tyson Foods, recognized the opportunity to provide a solution to its international partner that would help the merchant stock its shelves and drive sales.

However, the brand of high quality chicken products faced a key production challenge: producing new, high-quality packaging for 300,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets on an extremely accelerated schedule, without sacrificing brand integrity.  

The Packaging 

The Team determined very quickly that the packaging for this particular product SKU should be diverse from others on the shelf. “We determined a larger sized package printed on white poly rollstock would provide the retailer and consumer with a new sized product offering in this category. We were able to achieve a varied product on the retailer’s shelf while still utilizing our current printing process,” says Josh McCullough, product manager for Weaver.  

Working through the Terra Haute, IN, facility of its printing partner, Bemis Company, Inc., Weaver planned to print the packaging as eight color flexo with extended color gamut. This process could increase the risk of misrepresenting Weaver’s brand standards, especially with the fast-tracked turnaround time, or it could ultimately enhance the overall quality and consistency of the brand. In order to be successful, the proper system and tools needed to be in place.  

The Process  

Recognizing that the packaging production process would be effectively optimized through streamlined project management, Weaver tapped into a trusted marketing partner,Vertis Communications, which implemented its proprietary marketing resource workflow software solution. Through the application of this project management tool, Weaver maintained quick and easy access to the latest versions and correct assets; and gained superior, real-time visibility into project status and timeline management, which led to increased budget control.  

“When we decided to move full steam ahead with this project, we knew the industry’s 75-day average timeframe to get to market needed to be cut in half,” says McCullough. “Simultaneously, it was of utmost importance to us that we did not sacrifice the integrity of the Weaver brand, or lose the trust of both the retailer and our customers.”  

Vertis’ marketing resource management tool delivered the productivity, accuracy and efficiency needed to meet these goals. From the start, it streamlined the integration of information and tasks, for all aspects of the process, into a digital workflow that could be accessed anytime, anywhere through a web browser.  The digital solution enhanced process speed with automatic project routing that eliminated version control issues and the “who, what, when and where” questions pertaining to the project. In addition, the inclusion of tools for collaborative color correct online proofing provided the utmost control over creative, graphics, and brand criteria.  

The Result  

In April 2011, Weaver accepted the challenge to bring 300,000 pounds of chicken nuggets to market quickly. That same month, the manufacturer delivered. In just 21 days, Weaver and its partners developed the concept and began shipping their wholesome chicken nuggets in the newly designed packaging.  

“Working with Vertis and Bemis provided a level of familiarity with not only our brand, but with our processes, needs and people, providing a great advantage to meet our accelerated schedule,” says McCullough. “Beyond that, the task-based project management system automated our workflow, provided real-time scheduling and approvals, and maintained quality color consistency, allowing us to capture pertinent information and assets right when we needed them.”  

In less than one-third the amount of time a project of this magnitude typically takes in the industry, Weaver reduced labor and production costs and produced high quality packaging that maintained the brand quality and consistency associated with the Weaver brand.