Collaboration drives innovation at Personal Care and Beauty Innovation Campus

New Albany International Business Park’s Personal Care and Beauty Innovation Campus, one of the country’s most dramatic examples of collaboration driving innovation, is revolutionizing the concept of speed to market in consumer product development, design, manufacturing, packaging and logistics.

The campus, created to seamlessly turnkey every facet of the consumer products supply chain, is thought to be the first of its kind in the personal care, health and beauty industry. “The entire concept is very forward thinking,” notes Chris Yankowich, CEO of Jeyes, a scent manufacturer that relocated its operations to New Albany from Mexico. “Creating core competencies in the supply chain improves agility, reduces lead-time and, ultimately, enhances our clients’ competitive advantages.”

Developed for businesses with complementary capabilities, common supply chain contractors and comparable logistics needs, the integrated campus has drawn global industry leaders with its highly accessible location, adapted vehicular circulation patterns and LEED-certified building standards.

In less than three years, 15 companies have built nearly 2.6 million square feet of space at the campus, adding $343 million in capital investment and 2,343 new jobs. Already, several campus companies are adding jobs and production capabilities. And, next year, international retailer, Bath & Body Works® will move its corporate headquarters and distribution facility, along with 600 jobs, to the campus.

Collaboration with other companies up and down stream in the supply chain is elevating the entire customer experience in packaged goods and retailing. “Our clients are very successful because they pay great attention to the customer experience – the feel, the touch, the texture and the scent,” explains Ian Kalinosky, division president of KDC Columbus and Lynchburg, a leading developer and manufacturer of health and beauty products located in the innovation campus. “It’s our job to proactively seek ways to elevate that experience.”

In much the same way that Silicon Valley has accelerated the pace of innovation for technology firms that are clustered there, building relationships with other suppliers at the campus is changing the nature of how organizations solve problems with virtually every aspect of the value chain. “It is really a beaker to box mentality,” he adds. “We are engaging in a more open, productive dialogue that has the potential to yield a solution far beyond what any one of us could do on our own.”

When one of KDC’s clients recently “restaged” a product, making modifications to the bottle, look, formulation, pump and labels, the process involved multiple partners within the business park.

“It’s the first time that the park leveraged multiple partners to launch a major restaging collectively,” says Kalinosky. “It was a very collaborative process that enabled us to anticipate problems together and opened channels to communicate more effectively as we ramped up new processes and line trials.”

The direct access to and attention from nearby customers such as Bath & Body Works provide invaluable insights, says Bill Rusch, co-owner and senior advisor of Anomatic, a company that designs and manufactures custom aluminum anodizing product packaging. “We can tweak the color, texture and pattern until they get what they want,” he adds. “It is significantly more efficient than going back and forth for months with prototypes.”

According to Jeyes’ Yankowich, it’s “a powerful strategic advantage” in the product development and design areas. “Our clients are able to be more intimately involved in developing new scents and that has reduced the time it takes to develop seasonal fragrances.”

Synchronizing all of the components of the process reduces supply chain time for suppliers like Anomatic. “The business model is to rotate and update the look based on the season so there is a constant churn that keeps the look fresh and enhances the customer experience,” notes Rusch. “We can act immediately to replenish our supply to match the demand in the stores.”

In fact, Anomatic is nearly doubling its space, from 70,000 square feet to 145,000 square feet to accommodate the expansion of its product line to include decorate plastic and glass bottles. The expansion, the second one since Anomatic opened its facility, will add 70 additional jobs.

According to KDC’s Kalinosky, the company has collapsed the amount of time it takes to get a product to market by roughly two-thirds, from 30 days to just ten days. “Our ability to speed up the replenishment of products allows our customers to analyze what is selling and place smaller orders that can be shipped in eight to 10 days.” Increasing the speed of replenishment and producing products in smaller runs also significantly reduces the inventory retailers often discount at the end of the season.

And, the benefits of that rapid turn-around time extend to the suppliers as well as their customers, Rusch notes. “We can act immediately to replenish our supply to match the demand in the stores while keeping our inventory lean.”

After years of sending work abroad for cheaper labor, the United States has seen many of those jobs return and the New Albany campus is a prime example of the rationale behind that trend.

The campus’ on-shoring solution maximizes efficiencies and minimizes turn around times. In fact, products at the Personal Care and Beauty Innovation Campus travel 1.9 miles from concept to creation, packaging and distribution.

“Off shoring the supply chain in the 1980s was successful because it took advantage of cheaper pricing,” Anomatic’s Rusch explains. “On shoring through a cluster like ours is equally powerful because you get exactly what you need – competitive prices, good quality and reduced inventory.”

Another bonus for campus companies is its proximity to The Ohio State University and access to knowledge workers with the right skill sets. “I think that the fact that we are in a college area with a strong school like Ohio State has been very advantageous to us,” says Yankowich. “ We have found a great pool of talent here in central Ohio.”