Alvin S. Topolski and Douglas Reece
In 1987, the Du Pont Company entered the market for barrier resins, which are used in the fabrication of plastic food containers. The company was experiencing difficulty establishing a position against incumbent competitors. A new and technically superior product was about to be introduced, and a way was needed to induce customers to invest in qualifying the new material. The solution was Packaging Advisor', an expert system for rigid food container design. Deployed in February of 1988, Packaging Advisor automates the design process, providing our customer, the package designer, with information on alternative materials, the quantities of these materials needed to meet performance specifications, and estimates of material costs. Packaging Advisor was used in place of traditional marketing communications techniques to inform our customers and field sales staff about our new and existing products. Customer response, expressed in both words and orders, has been enthusiastic.