Concept Packaging

Case Studies : Singleton

A case study in exporting design technology and a complete manufacturing process from UK to Asia.

The Singleton brand is instantly recognisable – with its bespoke wide-facing oval bottle for greater shelf stand-out and crafted brand identity (featuring a leaping salmon, a symbol associated with good luck in Asian markets). This has become one of Diageo’s best-selling single malt whiskies and such has been its success it is now sold worldwide, not just in the Far East.

Tasked by International design agency Design Bridge to develop an oval tube Concept Packaging who were pioneers of shaped tubing in the 1970’s, created an eye catching shaped tube. Since the Singleton was primarily targeted for the Far East market Concept were approached by our partner in Hong Kong to plan a route to market which combined our ability to manufacture shaped tubes on automated lines in the UK and then translate that knowledge to an Asian marketplace which had no comprehension of tube manufacture or automation.

Effectively Concept were faced with the unusual challenge of how to export packaging technology and expertise to Asia and we came up with a unique solution.

The Singleton opportunity posed a dilemma as the initial quantities required were not sufficiently high to warrant investment in machinery, yet to achieve budget the tube needed to be bulk manufactured. A classic chicken and egg scenario.

The decision was made to create a process whereby the tubes could be made by hand to precision accuracy with total consistency yet requiring little or no technical skill by an operator.

Standing usual business practice on its head Concept developed and refined prototype tooling in Bradford and exported samples to Asia for customer approval. Every aspect was designed in the UK including the plastic end caps.

Having got client approval for the prototypes bulk tooling for the jigs was produced in China from precision cad drawings drawn by Concept in the UK. The key was to develop an easily repetitive but accurate process to a tight budget so the jigs were designed to be constructed from laser cut wooden parts to ensure accuracy at low cost.
Using years of experience and technical knowledge Concept oversaw and managed the installation of the process at the Hong Kong manufacturing facility to ensure the system was both effective and on time.

Since then the line has expanded to deliver many millions of tubes to the same exacting high standard. The singleton tube has been produced in 3 different sizes and many designs. The tubes are packed in Asia and sold specifically for that market.

All too often we see great UK ideas being copied and manufactured in the Far East to the detriment of businesses over here. This is a great example of a UK company standing this experience on its head and exporting technology and expertise to China and using the strengths of the local market to develop a successful manufacturing line to develop a premium brand locally to the benefit of all parties.

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