Juggling ideas on a tight timeline.
Suntory Group, a Japanese brewing and distilling
company, is a global leader with annual sales
of approximately 2.6 trillion yen. Established in
1899, it is one of the oldest companies in Japan
that distributes alcoholic beverages and soft
drinks as well as health and wellness products.
Suntory MONOZUKURI Expert Ltd. performs
manufacturing functions for various companies
within Suntory Group and is responsible for
quality assurance, development and introduction
of production technologies, and training of
manufacturing personnel across the whole value
chain. It’s also tasked with improving the overall
efficiency of the supply chain, cost control and
Unlike other beverage producers that outsource
concept design works, Suntory has its own
concept design department. When developing a
new plastic bottle, the marketing team first comes
up with a product concept, which designers then
convert into a design sketch. Next, package
engineers and product engineers brainstorm
together to finalize the product concept.
Repeated trial productions and evaluations are
then conducted to perfect the design.
Once a plastic bottle design was finalized, it would
take somewhere between six and nine months
before production could begin. That’s because
Suntory had to purchase aluminum molds from
external manufacturers, which prolonged the lead
time. This hurdle in the process often led the team
to abandon new design ideas because of
Another challenge was realizing quality designs
that were both lightweight and complex.
Balancing these objectives and meeting extremely
high design standards became particularly difficult
over the years.