Development of product families involves an interplay of common and differentiating features to address market segments. Considerable research has been conducted by the engineering community to support the development of product families from a product characteristic viewpoint. However, differences in consumable products are not often easily identified so they rely more heavily on the packaging to differentiate to market segments. Metrics, indices and representations have been formulated to support considerations of commonality and differentiation of engineered products. This paper describes the potential for similar approaches to benefit the features of packaging, particularly medication packaging. The potential benefit of such approaches reach beyond marketing and sales. There is a considerable opportunity for improving dispensing of medications because packaging confusion has been recognized as a serious problem, where misidentification can be lethal. With tens of thousands of drug varieties and growing, a packaging metric is necessary. This paper presents a proposed metric along with three supporting case studies.

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